BALTIMORE, MD - The University of Maine men's basketball team fell in a heartbreaker to UMBC by the score of 68-67 on Saturday evening in Baltimore, Md. Maine falls to 8-14 overall and 3-6 in America East play while UMBC improves to 6-16 and 4-5 in league play. Maine was led by its America East Player of the Game Zarko Valjarevic (Belgrade, Serbia) who had 20 points.
The Retrievers took a quick 5-0 lead, but a Jon Mesghna (Frankfurt, Germany) three-pointer from the top of the arc from Xavier Pollard (Bronx, N.Y.) halted the beginning run by the Retrievers.
Pollard then drove the lane and had a nice dish to Fraser who converted the layup to tie the game. Maine continued the run when Mike Allison (Lynden, Ontario) slammed home a one-handed dunk from Alasdair Fraser (Falkirk, Scotland) and converted the free throw after getting fouled to give Maine an 8-5 lead.
A Fraser turnaround hook made it 15-7 with just under 12 minutes to play.
The Black Bears continued to stretch the lead, and with Maine up 27-17, Pollard found Mesghna for a three-pointer and got fouled. He sank the free throw for the four-point play.
Maine stretched the lead to 14 points twice before taking a 39-26 lead at halftime.
Mesghna had 11 points and three rebounds to lead Maine at the half. Fraser added nine points and six rebounds.
UMBC cut the lead 39-31 in the first two minutes, but Pollard answered for Maine when he got in the post and made a nifty spin move around his defender and laid it in.
The Retrievers caught fire, and cut the lead to 45-42 with just under 14 minutes left.
Fraser responded with a jumper from the elbow, Allison made a layup while getting fouled and Shaun Lawton (Harlem, N.Y.) made fast break layup to push the lead to 51-42.
Following a UMBC bucket, Zarko Valjarevic (Belgrade Serbia) made a three-pointer from the corner to make it 54-44.
UMBC scored the next 17 points, taking a 61-54 lead with five minutes left.
Fraser stopped the run with a layup and Valjarevic swished a three to make it a two-point game with 3:45 left.
The Retrievers answered with a bucket but Valjarevic swished another three to make it 63-62 with just over two minutes left.
The Black Bears could not convert and UMBC made a jumper to take a three-point lead.
Pollard drove the lane and got fouled before calmly sinking both free throws. UMBC called timeout and on the ensuing possession, Lawton stole the ball and Maine called a timeout.
Valjarevic sank a three with under seven seconds left, but UMBC converted from three-point range with under one second left to win the game.