The University of Maine (5-17) men’s basketball team lost a home game on Thursday night against their rival University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (13-7) by the score of 74-63. New Hampshire’s third-year forward Iba Camara led the way as he scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds en route to the Wildcats double-digit victory.
UNH jumped out to an early 9-2 lead and never looked back. They were leading the entire game and only allowed Maine within one point twice early on in the first half. The Black Bears kept it close and were chipping away at the lead the entire half as they headed into the halftime break down 33-27.
Unfortunately, Maine wasn’t able to ever get any closer than six points thanks to UNH’s dominance inside the paint. UNH was bigger and stronger down low; they outscored Maine 30-18 inside the paint in the second half that propelled them to an 11-point victory.
“We looked much bigger and stronger in the second half and that really helped us come out on top tonight,” UNH Head Coach Bill Herrion said.
Maine’s third-year guard Wes Myers was the Black Bears bright spot on the court Thursday night as he went for 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. He also was 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. His three converted 3-pointers were Maine’s only three-pointers for the entire game. Myers saw some help from first-year center Vincent Eze, who netted 13 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
Maine’s Head Coach Bob Walsh was not pleased with his team’s performance and believes they were forced to play UNH at their own game.
“I’d like to see our competitive spirit stand up. Offensively we settled for three-pointers, not very good looks. That is a credit to New Hampshire, they clog the middle and force you to play from the perimeter and we settled for that. They made us play the game they wanted to play and that’s why they were successful tonight, they have an identity,” Walsh said.
Following the loss, the Black Bears record drops 1-5 in America East play. The Wildcats improve to 3-2 in the conference.
Struggling Black Bears fall by 19 to Great Danes
The Black Bears rolled into Albany to face the University of Albany Great Danes (12-9) in their first of two meetings this season, Sunday afternoon. This game saw a lot of different changes in momentum and runs with Albany getting the last laugh, sending Maine home with an 81-63 loss.
Myers led the scoring for Maine again in this game as he went for 18 points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist. This was Myers eighth consecutive game scoring in double digits. Eze had a nice game again as well; finishing with eight points, four rebounds and a steal. Fourth-year forward Marko Pirovic netted seven points and hauled in four rebounds.
For the second game in a row the Black Bears came out flat footed and got behind too early again. Albany started off the game by outscoring Maine 13-5, and then later in the half went on an 11-0 run that put them up 31-13 with just five minutes remaining in the first half. At this point, the game already felt all but over and Albany had already won. Despite the brutal score, Maine did not quit and went on a tear to close the first half with an 11-0 run of their own. Maine cut the lead down to 33-22 respectively heading into the intermission.
Maine took their heroics with them into the second half as they opened the second on a 13-4 run and cutting the lead down to just two. Albany then put their foot back on the pedal and took off with a 13-0 run that put them back ahead by 16 with just 10 minutes left if the game. From here on out Albany was able to coast to the finish line where they would be 81-63 victors over the visiting Black Bears.
Following the loss, Maine’s falls to 1-6 in America East play. Albany moves to 3-3 in American East action.
The Black Bears have a full week to recover, as they will return to action next Sunday, Jan. 29 at home against Binghamton in a must-win situation for Alumni Day. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. Albany will stay at home for a game against the University of Vermont on Wednesday, Jan. 25 with a tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.