Hartford men shut down UMaine late in second half to earn America East win

Posted Jan. 09, 2014, at 10:43 p.m.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — The Hartford Hawks outscored the Maine Black Bears 25-10 in the game’s final minutes to earn an 80-65 men’s basketball victory in America East action Thursday night.

Maine’s Shaun Lawton hit two free throws to tie the game at 55-55 at the nine-minute mark, but the Bears were held scoreless over the next three minutes as the Hawks ran off nine unanswered points.

Maine could get no closer than six for the rest of the way and slipped to 3-11 overall and 1-1 in America East while Hartford improved to 7-10 and 1-1, respectively.

Mark Nwakamma scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lead the Hawks while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Oren Faulk chipped in with 14 points, Yolonzo Moore added 11 and Nate Sikma put in 10.

Xavier Pollard sparked Maine with a career-high 26 points, including an 11-of-18 effort from the field. Zarko Valjarevic chipped in with 11 points while Christian Ejiga contributed with 10 rebounds and six points.

The Hawks capitalized on 16 Maine turnovers, scoring 24 points off the miscues. The Hawks also outrebounded the Bears 39-34 and controlled the inside game, outscoring Maine in the paint 42-22.

Ejiga ended Hartford’s 9-0 scoring run with six minutes remaining in the game when he made a layup, but the Hawks responded with another scoring surge, this time a 10-4 effort over the next four minutes to take a 74-61 advantage with 2:15 left to put the Bears away. Nwakamma scored five of the 10 points.

Kilian Cato gave Maine its first lead of the game, nailing his first 3-pointer of the game to make it 8-7, with 15:11 left in the contest.

With the score 14-12 at the 12-minute mark, Pollard recorded a critical steal and dished the ball to a streaking Lawton, who slammed down a dunk to make it 14-14.

Moments later, Valjarevic gave Maine its second lead of the half, hitting a 3-pointer with a 11:10 left.

Following a Hartford run, which included three-straight jumpers, Maine’s Garet Beal entered the game and hit a 3-pointer as Ejiga batted a rebound to Till Gloger, who fed Beal for the basket, to make it 20-20.

With 5:54 remaining in the half, Pollard pushed the slim Maine lead to three with a layup, as he recorded his third field goal of the game.

The Black Bear defense didn’t allow a Hartford basket for four minutes before Faulk laid in a bucket at the 4:16 mark and Moore followed that up with a bucket to retake the lead, 24-23 with 3:31 remaining.

Maine closed out the half on a slim 8-6 run to go into halftime up 31-30.

Maine next heads to Baltimore for a 3:30 p.m. Saturday game against UMBC.

Memphis 73, Louisville 67

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 24th ranked Memphis Tigers outscored Louisville 18-6 over the final six minutes and knocked off the No. 12 Cardinals 73-67 on Thursday night at the KFC Yum! Center.

Louisville led 61-56 when the Tigers started their run. They took a 66-65 lead with 2:26 to go, then, after a Louisville basket, scored the game’s final seven points.

Forward Shaq Goodwin and guard Joe Jackson led Memphis with 15 points apiece while guard Geron Johnson added 13.

Forward Luke Hancock paced Louisville with 20 points. Guard Russ Smith had 19.

In the final minutes, Louisville made a turnover, was called for goaltending and missed two free throws.

Memphis jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never trailed en route to a 36-33 halftime lead.

The Tigers, who hit 15 of 32 first-half shots (47 percent) to Louisville’s 13 of 36 (36 percent), were led by Goodwin with nine points and guard Chris Crawford with eight in the first half.

Hancock had 14 first-half point for Louisville, scoring 12 of the Cardinals’ 15 points at one stage.

It was a back-and-forth game after the opening minutes. Louisville pulled within 34-33 on a 3-pointer by guard Terry Rozier with 2:14 left in the half. Tigers guard Michael Dixon Jr. hit a jumper 22 seconds later for the final points before the break.

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