April 24, 2018
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Wildcats upset Black Bears

By Pete Warner

  WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The University of Maine had failed to get past its America East men’s basketball tournament first-round games each of the last two seasons.
  Saturday night, amidst its best season in recent memory, the Black Bears again failed to mount a run in the postseason.
  The University of New Hampshire rattled off a 12-0 run early in the second half, then held the Black Bears at bay while earning a 68-57 quarterfinal victory in the America East Men’s Basketball Championship.
  The sixth-seeded Wildcats (13-16) avenged a pair of regular-season losses to No. 3 UMaine while earning a berth in today’s 8 p.m. semifinal against No. 2 Vermont at the University of Hartford’s Chase Family Arena. UNH is making its third trip to the semifinals in five seasons.
  Coach Ted Woodward’s ballclub closed out the season at 19-11, failing to win a postseason game for the third consecutive season.
  The Wildcats demonstrated excellent offensive balance, led by 13 points and nine rebounds from Brian Benson and 13 points from Alvin Abreu. UNH shot 41 percent from the floor, with Dane DiLiegro posting nine points and 11 rebounds, Tyrone Conley nine points and Colbey Santos eight points.
  UNH grabbed a 42-37 rebounding advantage, scoring 17 second-chance points off their 15 offensive rebounds.
  UMaine was not able to score consistently with its inside-oriented attack. Junior Sean McNally of Gardiner spearheaded the charge with a game-high 16 points and 12 rebounds, along with three assists.
  Terrance Mitchell netted 11 points, while Troy Barnies of Auburn added seven points and senior Junior Bernal chipped in with six points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in his last game as a Black Bear.
  UMaine struggled at the foul line, going 21-for-34, including 8-for-14 in the first half as the Wildcats grabbed a 26-24 halftime lead.
  UNH also did a solid job of containing Bears 3-point standout Gerald McLemore, who scored only seven points on 2-for-9 shooting.
  With the game tied 29-29, the Wildcats mounted the game-changing surge. Santos scored on an offensive rebound and Benson drained a 3-pointer before DiLiegro dunked off a baseline cut and scored off an offensive rebound. Santos’ 3-pointer at the 13:51 mark gave UNH a 41-29 advantage.
  The Bears struggled through some long offensive droughts, going without a field goal for 15-plus minutes to end the first half and then encountering some turnover problems amidst the Wildcats’ key run.
  UNH eventually stretched its lead to 18 points and UMaine could not get closer than eight down the stretch.

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