WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Nedeljko Prijovic had 22 points as eighth-place University of Maine defeated third-place Hartford 71-65 on Tuesday night in an America East Conference men’s basketball regular-season finale.
Sergio El Darwich added 20 points for the Black Bears (9-21, 5-11), who advance to play No. 1 seed Vermont in the conference tournament on Saturday.
Prijovic hit 8 of 10 shots, including 6 of 8 from deep. He added five assists.
Stephane Ingo had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Maine and Andrew Fleming added 10 points.
Malik Ellison had 22 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks (16-15, 9-7), who can finish no worse than the No. 3 seed. Moses Flowers added 15 points and six rebounds. Traci Carter had 2 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and seven steals.
The Black Bears leveled the season series against the Hawks with the win. Hartford defeated Maine 55-49 on Feb. 1.
This one featured 10 different lead changes, but all in the first half. A Prijovic three-ball sent Maine into the break with a 35-30 advantage that they never gave up, cruising through the second half to seal up their first win over Hartford since 2017.
El Darwich dropped in 18 of his 20 points in the second half, shooting 6-for-8 from the field in the final half, alongside a perfect 6-6 mark at the free throw line down the stretch.
Andrew Fleming and Stephane Ingo each dropped in 10 points to round out the scoring. Maine shot over 50% from the field for the sixth time this season, going 28-for-54 (51.9%).
UMaine wraps up its second regular-season under coach Richard Barron with the program’s most overall wins (9) and America East wins (5) since the 2012-2013 season.