DURHAM, N.H. – Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) celebrated Senior Day by erupting for a career-high 27 points to ignite the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team's 79-74 victory against Maine on Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats wrap up the regular season at 9-19 overall and 5-11 in America East play, while the Black Bears finish at 11-18 on the season and 6-10 in conference action. UNH swept the season series against Maine for the first time since the 1994-95 season.
New Hampshire earns the No. 7 seed at the 2013 America East Men's Basketball Championship and opens play March 9 against second-seeded Vermont in a noon quarterfinal at the University at Albany's SEFCU Arena.
Myrick was named the America East Player of the Game and scored 22 points in the second half. He shot 8-of-17 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line to go along with three boards. Senior Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) notched 13 points to go along with a game-high five assists and six rebounds. Junior Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla.) also posted 13 points to round out the double figure scorers.
Justin Edwards registered a game-high 29 points for Maine, while Alasdair Fraser also reached double digits with 22 points.
New Hampshire shot 50.9 percent (28-55) from the floor, including 57.7 percent (15-26) in the second half, while Maine shot 51.9 percent (28-54) from the field. Maine won the battle for rebounds by a 32-27 margin.
Maine jumped out to a quick 6-0 start before Konan and Myrick drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to even the score. Edwards answered on the other end with a trey, but senior Jeron Trotman (Hunstville, Ala.) and Konan combined for five straight points for the 11-9 lead at 16:04.
The two teams then traded layups and free throws until UNH broke a 17-17 tie with consecutive jumpers by Rhoads and Jordon Bronner (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) for the four-point advantage.
Maine used a 7-5 run to climb back within one, 25-24, but Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md.) knocked down a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to put the Wildcats on top, 31-24, with 2:56 left in the first half. The Black Bears then closed out the half with a 6-2 stretch to trim the deficit to three as UNH held a 33-30 lead at intermission.
The teams traded a pair of baskets to open the second frame before Fraser and Edwards hit two straight layups to move up by two, but Rhoads countered with a shot from beyond the arc to take back the lead, 40-39. The back-and-forth action continued over the next three possessions until the Wildcats used an 11-4 run to move in front, 52-47.
The Wildcats held a six-point lead after the next 2:07 thanks to a three-point play from Chris Matagrano (Sayreville, N.J.) and a trifecta from Myrick, but the Black Bears answered with a 6-2 run the slice the lead to 62-60. Myrick then went 4-of-4 at the line over the next 1:28 to counter a pair of free throws by Edwards, but the visitors refused to go away and used a 10-3 stretch to take the lead at 72-69.
Rhoads answered the call just six seconds later as he knocked down a deep 3-pointer to even the game at 72 points apiece. After Matagrano and Mike Allison swapped baskets, Myrick calmly drained a pair of foul shots to give UNH the 76-74 lead with 32 seconds left in the contest. Maine did not score the rest of the way and the Wildcats added three more free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
The seventh-seeded Wildcats return to action Saturday, March 9 at noon when they take on No. 2 Vermont in the quarterfinal round of the America East Championship tournament at Albany's SEFCU Arena.