ORONO, Maine – Sophomore Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) scored a team-leading eight points and pulled down four rebounds for the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team, but it was not enough in a 64-50 loss at the University of Maine on Tuesday night at Alfond Arena.
UNH slips to 8-12 overall, 2-6 in the league, while Maine improved to 13-7 and, with its sixth straight victory, maintained its America East first-place standing with a league-mark of 7-1.
Matagrano scored his eight points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor. Sophomore Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.), UNH's America East Player of the Game, netted six points, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists, but had his career-best five-game double-digit scoring streak snapped.
Troy Barnies earned America East Player of the Game honors for Maine as he posted 20 points and 14 rebounds to go along with a pair of assists.
The unlikely duo of Matagrano and freshman Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) led UNH's offensive attack in the first half, shooting a combined 7 of 8 from the floor to tally 15 of the Wildcats' 24 points. Matagrano, who scored New Hampshire's first six points of the half, entered the locker room with eight at the intermission, while Bronner contributed seven points, hitting all three of his shots, including a 3-pointer. Bronner finished 3 for 6 for seven points, with two assists and two rebounds.
Barnies nearly posted a double-double in the opening half, as his 10 points and 9 rebounds helped the Black Bears take a 29-24 lead at halftime.
After only attempting four 3-pointers the entire first half, Maine went 3-for-3 to start the second half, with Gerald McLemore, Terrance Mitchell and Andrew Rogers all draining treys to stake the Bears to their first double-digit lead, 38-27, with 15:50 left in the game. Two more treys from Mitchell and McLemore closed what wound up being a 16-7 run to open the second half with Maine holding its largest lead of the game at 46-30 just 5:04 in.
A 3-pointer from freshman Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) and a basket inside from senior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass) kicked off a 6-0 run that sliced the deficit to 10. Another basket from DiLiegro a few minutes later brought the Wildcats to within eight at 48-40 with 10:12 remaining.
Maine counter-punched with an 11-3 run, taking a 59-43 lead with 6:38 to go in the contest. Four straight points from freshman DeAndray Buckley (Romulus, Mich.) cut it to 12, but that was as close as UNH would come as a Barnies three-point play opened the lead back up to 15 in the final minutes.
DiLiegro led the Wildcats with nine rebounds, adding six points on 3-of-4 shooting. Morris chipped in with six points on 2 of 4 shooting from behind the arc. Buckley tallied six points, two boards, two assists, two steals and a block. Junior Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded six points and six rebounds.
Senior Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.), who was in foul trouble much of the night, saw his career-best 13-game double-digit scoring streak come to an end as he scored five points and handed out a pair of helpers. He finished with 1,129 career points and moved past Austin Ganly (1,127) for 16th place on UNH's all-time scoring list.
McLemore finished with 13 points.
Maine outshot UNH, 43 percent (23-54) to 34 percent (18-53), including 44 percent (7-16) to 22 percent (5-23) from long range. The Black Bears also outrebounded the Wildcats, 45-31. UNH only turned the ball over nine times and forced 14 Maine turnovers.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. when they take on Boston University at Lundholm Gymnasium. For tickets, CLICK HERE or call (603) 862-4000, x 5.