DURHAM, N.H. — Xavier Pollard converted a conventional three-point play with 4:48 left in the game to give Maine a nine-point lead and the Black Bears held off the New Hampshire Wildcats to snap a six-game losing streak with a 68-60 men’s basketball victory in America East action Wednesday night.
Pollard finished with a game-high 20 points to help the Bears win their first conference game since they opened against Binghamton on Jan. 4.
Ethan Mackey chipped in with 12 points and Till Gloger added 10 as Maine improved to 4-16 overall and 2-6 in the conference while UNH slipped to 5-16 and 3-5.
Zarko Valjarevic and Marko Pirovic each grabbed six rebounds for the Bears while Mackey and Gloger each had five to give the Bears a slight 39-38 edge over the Wildcats.
Chris Pelcher paced UNH with 13 points and nine rebounds. Frank Okeke chipped in with 11 points and Daniel Dion added 10.
Both teams had mediocre shooting efforts from the floor as Maine finished at 41 percent (25 of 61) and UNH 40 percent (25 of 62), but the Black Bears were solid from the free-throw line with a 71 percent clip (15 of 21), compared to UNH’s 57 percent (4 of 7).
The teams traded leads throughout much of the second half until Maine began to pull away, going on a 9-5 run, forcing a New Hampshire timeout at the 8:19 mark and building a 56-50 lead.
Pollard helped build the Black Bear lead as he rushed into the paint, laid in a bucket, was fouled and completed the three-point play from the stripe as Maine took a 63-54 advantage with 4:48 left in the game.
The Black Bears were able to run time off the clock in the final minute, up 64-56 as they got the clock down to 48 seconds before Pollard was fouled and connected on the ensuing free throws to make it 66-56.
Maine returns home for a 2 p.m. Saturday league game against UMBC at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.