BANGOR, Maine — Junior guard Wes Myers scored a game-high 31 points, including a game-winning conventional three-point play with 4.5 seconds left as the University of Maine overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to beat UMass Lowell 73-71 on Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center.
Myers had 22 points in the second half to rally the injury-depleted Black Bears.
UMaine snapped a seven-game losing streak and is 5-13 overall, 1-2 in America East. UMass Lowell had its three-game winning streak ended and fell to 7-10, 2-1.
“The difference tonight was we had Wes Myers and they didn’t,” said UMaine coach Bob Walsh.
With UMaine trailing 71-70, the ball was handed off to Myers who drove a crowded lane and banked in a short jumper while being fouled. He added the free throw.
“I was able to go downhill,” said Myers, who added that he was going to dish the ball off if one of his teammates was available.
“But then I saw a little lane open,” said Myers.
Logan Primerano’s runner at the buzzer glanced off the rim.
Myers scored six straight points after UMass Lowell had built a 64-54 lead with 5:49 remaining.
Jahad Thomas sank a free throw to make it 65-60, but Myers fed Austin Howard for a three-pointer from the corner to bring the Black Bears within two.
Myers answered a Matt Harris layup with a three-pointer to make it 67-66, and his pullup jumper gave UMaine a 68-67 lead with 1:51 remaining.
Thomas and UMaine’s Ryan Bernstein swapped baskets before Primerano’s 9-foot jumper gave UMass Lowell its final lead with 13 seconds left.
“My teammates set me up for some good shots. I was confident, and I was aggressive,” said Myers.
“Our kids showed incredible heart,” said Walsh, whose Black Bears are without five injured players.
UMass Lowell coach Pat Duquette didn’t attend the post-game press conference.
The dynamic Myers had seven rebounds, three assists and four steals to go with his 31 points. Howard had 18 points, and tireless Ryan Bernstein had 15 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Vincent Eze had nine rebounds.
Tyler Livingston had 24 points and 10 rebounds for UMass Lowell, and Thomas had 17 points and 11 rebounds along with five assists.
Livingston scored 19 points in the first half and helped rally the River Hawks from a 21-13 deficit into a 34-32 lead at the intermission.
UMass Lowell expanded the lead to 42-35 early in the second half as freshman guard Rinardo Perry, who had just one point in the first half, transformed a dunk into a conventional three-point play and nailed a 3-point shot from the right wing off a Thomas pass.
The River Hawks eventually built the lead to 55-44 with 9:41 remaining.
Livingston, who entered the game averaging 13.3 points per game after averaging just 7.4 a year ago, went 7-for-8 from the floor in the first half, including 4-for-5 behind the 3-point arc.
Howard had 11 first-half points to lead the Black Bears. Myers added nine, and Bernstein had eight.
Howard had nine of his 11 points to help UMaine build its 21-13 lead, but the Black Bears missed their next six shots, and the River Hawks went on an 8-0 run to tie it as two-time America East Player of the Week Thomas converted a Livingston pass with a short baseline jumper and then fed Livingston for a top-of-the-key 3-pointer before a Ryan Jones three-pointer tied it.
UMass Lowell closed out the half with a 9-4 spurt capped by Primerano’s 3-pointer from the right side with four seconds left.