This past Saturday night, the University of Maine men’s basketball team encountered their conference rivals, the University of New Hampshire, in a closely contested matchup, ultimately falling to a final 60-57 score.
Third-year forward Trey Woodard opened up the scoring for the Wildcats with a layup offensive rebound. Fourth-year forward Peter Filipovity quickly answered with a layup of his own, placing the Black Bears on the scoreboard. Filipovity started the game hot, scoring eight of Maine’s initial 11 points.
Despite Filipovity’s strong early performance, the Black Bears found themselves trailing 27-19 with just under seven minutes remaining in the half, the largest deficit thus far. A jumper by third-year guard Kellen Tynes ignited a 17-6 run heading into halftime.
The Black Bear offense clicked in the first half, shooting 56% from the field despite poor shooting from behind the three-point line. The defense forced turnovers and capitalized on them in transition, scoring nine points off turnovers and four fast-break points. UNH dominated the offensive and defensive glass, out-rebounding Maine 17-10 and securing six offensive rebounds to Maine’s zero. Nevertheless, the Black Bears led 36-33 in the second half.
Both offenses struggled after the break, with the first points being scored over two minutes into the half. After trading back-and-forth baskets, fourth-year forward Jaxson Baker knocked down consecutive three-pointers for UNH to tie the game at 40. Maine second-year guard Jaden Clayton responded by going on a 5-0 run to take back the lead.
Trailing by four points with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, Woodard scored eight consecutive points to give UNH their first lead of the half. The Black Bears faced challenges in getting their offense going, and UNH capitalized, scoring in fast-break opportunities.
In the closing moments, fourth-year forward Adam Cisse got a steal with 32 seconds left in the game, setting up for a jumper by third-year forward AJ Lopez to bring Maine within one point. Third-year guard Ahmad Robinson was sent to the line with a chance to put the Wildcats up by three, sinking both free throws. Despite the odds, the Black Bears had an opportunity to send the game to overtime but could not convert.
Holding UNH to 60 points, a team that averaged 76.9 points per game entering the matchup, is an incredible defensive feat. The issue for Maine was their second-half offense, shooting a 24% conversion from the field and were 0-6 from the three-point line (1-13 for the entire game).
Filipovity delivered another standout performance, with a game-high 20 points. Clayton and Tynes reached double figures for the Black Bears with 12 and 10 points, respectively. For UNH, fourth-year forward Jaxson Baker scored a team-high 18 points with 10 rebounds. Woodard and fourth-year forward Clarence Daniels both scored 13 points.
Maine aims to return to the winners’ column when they face Bryant this Thursday.