Tanner Leissner amassed 21 points and six rebounds and the University of New Hampshire held the University of Maine to 22 second-half points Thursday evening while rallying for a 71-56 America East men’s basketball victory at Lundholm Gymnasium in Durham, New Hampshire.
The win, which avenged a 69-68 loss to UMaine at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Jan. 24, improves the Wildcats to 10-15 overall, 6-5 in conference play.
UMaine dips to 6-20, 3-8 in America East.
UMaine led 34-24 at intermission but made just seven field goals over the final 20 minutes while committing seven turnovers and being outrebounded 22-10.
Iba Camara had much to do with UNH’s late domination of the glass as he finished the game with 15 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Elijah Jordan added 13 points and Evan Horn scored 10 for the Wildcats.
Aaron Calixte paced UMaine with 16 points, including the 1,000th of his career, but managed only four points in the second half.
Andrew Fleming added 12 points for UMaine while Isaiah White had eight points and five rebounds and Dusan Majstorovic also scored eight points, all in the first half.
UNH scored the game’s first seven points, but UMaine called timeout and immediately countered with six unanswered points, and the Black Bears eventually built a 26-21 advantage on two Calixte free throws with 5:16 left in the opening half.
The first of those two free throws enabled the redshirt junior guard to become the 30th Black Bear overall to reach the 1,000-point career milestone and the first since Gerald McLemore in 2011.
UMaine went on to score the final seven points of the half to take a 34-24 lead into intermission.
UMaine’s defense limited UNH to eight field goals on its 36 first-half possessions as the Wildcats missed their last 10 shots of the period and shot only 22.9 percent from the field (8 of 35) overall while making just one of their 12 3-point tries.
UMaine extended its lead to 37-26 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by White, but UNH soon worked the offensive boards to ignite an 11-0 run good for a 40-39 lead on Horn’s 3-pointer with 12:40 to play.
The teams then swapped the lead several times before UNH took the lead for good at 51-48 on a three-point play by Jordan with 9:39 left in the game.
The Wildcats used a subsequent 8-0 run to stretch its lead to double digits at 62-52 on two free throws by Camara with 3:52 remaining.