ORONO, MAINE – Senior guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) posted 15 points, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team fell to the University of Maine, 71-58, on Wednesday night at Alfond Arena.
The Black Bears improve to 12-15 overall and 6-9 in America East play while the Wildcats snap a four game winning streak and drop to 12-15 and 6-9 in league action.
Abreu collected America East Player of the Game honors for UNH, finishing with four boards, three assists and two steals.
Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y.) added 14 points and seven rebounds. Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) and Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) rounded out UNH's double-digit scorers with 13 points apiece. Rhoads chipped with seven boards and five helpers.
Maine's Gerald McLemore led all scorers with 16 points while also adding three steals and two rebounds to his line.
After trading baskets early, Maine created some separation when Alasdair Fraser canned a jumper and Andrew Rogers sank baskets on consecutive possessions to push the lead to six, 15-9, with 13:50 remaining in the first half.
The 'Cats struck back to cut the deficit to one, 19-18, after Rhoads hit a jumper in the paint and Benson drained a three from the top of the key with 6:16 left in the first frame.
Mike Allison would sink a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession, but Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) drained a trey to even the score at 23-23. Fraser broke the deadlocked tie with a jumper to take back the advantage, but it was quickly lost when Rhoads sank a 3-pointer from the left wing to give UNH its first lead of the contest, 24-23, at 3:43.
The Black Bears reclaimed the lead with a 6-0 scoring spurt to close out the half, as Justin Edwards buried 4 of 4 shots from the free throw line and Raheem Singleton sank a floater in the lane to give Maine the 29-25 edge heading into the locker room. Rhoads led the Wildcats with nine points at the break while Fraser led the Black Bears with eight.
Maine opened the second half just as strong, posting a 7-3 run, with Gerald McLemore kicking off the stretch by sinking a layup and a 3-pointer from the baseline to put the Black Bears on top, 36-28, with 15:59 left in regulation.
New Hampshire came back to trim the lead down to two, 40-38, putting together a 10-4 scoring run that was capped off with an Abreu fastbreak layup at 13:00. Myrick helped fuel the run, notching four points during the 2:36 stretch.
Edwards helped keep UNH at bay going 3 of 4 from the line on back-to-back possessions; setting up a 12-4 run that gave the Black Bears their largest lead of game, 52-42. Maine led the rest of the way, polishing off the stretch with five unanswered, as Fraser buried a layup and Singleton canned a layup from the left side for two and the hard at 7:18.
The Wildcats return to action when they round out the regular season against Binghamton on Sunday, Feb. 26 (1 p.m.) at Lundholm Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast live on WBIN-TV.