Poor shooting helped spell disaster for the University of Maine men’s basketball team on Monday afternoon.
The cold-shooting Black Bears shot only 32 percent from the floor and scored just 15 points in the second half as the Hawks pulled away for a 54-44 America East victory at Chase Family Arena in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The Hawks picked up their first America East victory of the season while improving to 6-13 overall and 1-3 in conference play, while coach Bob Walsh’s UMaine club stumbles to 5-15 and 1-4, respectively.
Hartford, which never trailed in the contest, led just 33-29 at halftime but steadily built its lead thanks to a stingy defensive effort and paltry shooting by the Black Bears.
Jason Dunne’s perimeter shot gave the Hawks their largest lead at 49-38 with 4:17 remaining, capping an 11-2 run which put the game away.
The Hawks’ 3-2 zone also limited UMaine’s Wes Myers to 12 points on 4-for-17 shooting, including 2-for-6 from the 3-point arc.
“There were guys on the perimeter all in his way,” Walsh told Learfield broadcaster Ron Lisnet. “We weren’t able to get him loose.”
The problem was that the Black Bears couldn’t find any other player to step up. The only other man in double figures was redshirt freshman Vincent Eze, who finished with 13 points.
“We’ve got to find more weapons,” Walsh said. “I’ve got to find better ways to get other guys opportunities.”
Jalen Ross scored a game-high 19 points for Hartford while Dunne added 10 points.
UMaine did hold Ross, a dangerous outside shooter, without a 3-point field goal.
“We did a good job of getting him off the 3-point line,” said Walsh, who was happy with his club’s defensive efforts.
Hartford only shot 5-for-16 (31.3 percent) from behind the arc, but UMaine could not establish any offensive consistency.
“We just don’t have a lot of answers right now because we have a small margin for error,” Walsh said.
UMaine returns to action on Thursday night at 7 against the University of New Hampshire at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.