DURHAM, N.H. – Justin Edwards scored a game-high 29 points but the University of Maine men’s basketball team fell to New Hampshire 79-74 on Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Black Bears have earned the No. 5 seed for this weekend’s America East Championship at Albany, N.Y. UMaine will face No. 4 tourney host Albany in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. Maine finished with an 11-18 overall record and 6-10 in America East
Maine took a 6-0 lead to start on an Edwards three from the corner and Xavier Pollard layup and foul, but New Hampshire (9-19, 5-11) came back to take an 11-9 lead four minutes into the opening half.
The teams went back and forth and were tied at 22 with 5:35 left, but New Hampshire went on a 9-to-2 run during the next 2:39, taking a 31-24 lead with 2:56 remaining.
However, a pair of Edwards free throws and two layups by Alasdair Fraser around a Wildcat layup cut the lead to 33-30 at intermission.
Edwards led Maine with 10 points in the first half.
New Hampshire expanded its lead to 37-32 to open the second half, but Edwards responded with a thunderous dunk and Fraser added a layup to cut the lead to one. After Maine got a stop an Edwards layup and foul gave Maine a two-point lead.
New Hampshire rallied to take a 52-47 lead with 11:26 left, and still had a six-point lead at 60-54 with nine minutes left.
Maine answered with a 14-6 run courtesy of 10 points from Edwards and took a 68-66 lead with 3:42 left.
The teams went back and forth, but a pair of Wildcats free throws with 32 seconds left gave New Hampshire a 76-74 lead.
Maine missed on its possession and had to foul. New Hampshire made one of two free throws with 12.7 seconds left and the Black Bears had a chance to tie it with a three, but just missed and New Hampshire converted two free throws to seal the game.