Nedeljko Prijovic of the University of Maine blocked a 3-point attempt by Myles Barker with timing running out on Saturday as the Black Bears held on to earn a 66-64 men’s basketball victory over Central Connecticut at New Britain, Connecticut.
Coach Richard Barron’s Black Bears (3-6) halted a three-game losing streak.
UMaine built a 12-point halftime lead but was forced to hold on down the stretch as CCSU (0-9) rallied and nearly erased a nine-point deficit over the final 3 minutes, 18 seconds, with a 10-2 scoring run.
Senior forward Andrew Fleming paced the Black Bears with 18 points, four rebounds and two assists. Mykhailo Yagodin contributed 11 points and four assists and Nedeljko finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for UMaine.
Vilgot Larsson tallied 10 points and five rebounds and Precious Okoh chipped in with eight points as the Black Bears shot 45 percent from the field (24-for-53) and connected for 10 3-pointers. They made only eight of 16 free throws.
UMaine outrebounded CCSU 36-33.
The Blue Devils were spearheaded by Baker, who tossed in a game-high 15 points. Jamir Reed and Jamir Coleman netted 13 points each, Greg Outlaw scored 11 points and Zach Newkirk added eight points.
CCSU went 21-for-57 from the field (37 percent) and hit six 3’s while converting 16 of 26 free throws.
UMaine, which led by as many as 16 points early in the second half, had trouble closing out the contest.
Two Fleming foul shots provided the Black Bears with a 63-52 advantage with 4:45 remaining, but Outlaw made a steal and layup and added the free throw. Baker than sank two foul shots, Newkirk made one and Baker drained a 3-pointer with 1:49 to play that trimmed UMaine’s lead to 63-61.
Two Peter Stumer free throws restored the lead to four, but another 3-pointer by Baker got the hosts within 65-64 with 12 seconds left. Fleming eventually converted one of two free throws at the 10-second mark, which gave the Blue Devils a final opportunity and set up Prijovic’s crucial block.
UMaine returns to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game against Dartmouth.