Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Black Bears 68, Hartford 63

Down 56-50 with 5:25 left in the game, the Black Bears turned up the defensive intensity a notch and went on a 12-2 run that ended a five-game losing streak.

By the time Hartford's Michael Turner (game-high 26 points) made a jumper with 26 ticks left, the Black Bears had gone up by four. After Turner's hoop, the Hawks started sending UMaine to the foul line. Gerald McLemore (photo) went 4 for 4 from the line and as a team, UMaine was 8 for 8 from the line in the final 1:30 to seal the win.

Hartford, with its ninth straight loss, fell to 6-20, 2-10 America East. The Black Bears (9-16, 4-8) move to within a half game of sixth-place New Hampshire, UMaine's next opponent.

The Black Bears travel to Durham Feb. 19 to start a three-game road trip. New Hampshire plays at Albany Sunday. The game between the Black Bears and UNH will likely be a key for determining Hartford's opponent in the conference tourney play-in game.

Against Hartford, Mark Socoby broke out of a three-point shooting slump by going 4 for 8 from distance and led the way with 15 points. Sean McNally had 14 points and eight rebounds. Malachi Peay (12 points, four rebounds) and McLemore (10 points) were also in double figures.

Andrew Rogers chipped in with seven points that included a clutch jumper during the deciding run and a couple free throws down the stretch. Junior Bernal had six assists and Troy Barnies kicked in eight points and two rebounds.

Hartford, which had gone 12 for 28 from deep in the teams' first meeting, made just 6 of 26 (23 percent) this time. Amazingly, the Hawks lost a game in which they shot 19 for 26 on two-point field goals.

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