The University of Maine men's basketball team plays against the University of Maine Farmington in November 2021. Credit: Courtesy of Berry Gutradt

The University of Vermont men’s basketball team overcame some hot three-point shooting by the University of Maine to outscore the Black Bears 81-68 in an America East contest on

Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 2,452 at Patrick Gymnasium in Burlington, Vermont.

The win was the ninth straight overall for the league-leading Catamounts, now 15-4 overall and 7-0 in conference play. Vermont has scored at least 80 points in each of its last seven victories, a school record.

UMaine fell to 4-15 overall and 1-7 in America East heading into Monday’s 7 p.m. home game against Hartford, which has an overall record of 4-12, and 2-2 in America East.

UMaine made 14 three-pointers for the second time in its last three games, making 14 of 26 tries (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc compared with just three of 12 (25 percent) for Vermont.

Both teams shot well from the field overall, with Vermont at 58.8 percent (30 of 51) and UMaine at 48.1 percent (26 of 54).

Vermont gained its biggest shooting advantage at the free-throw line, making 18 of 22 tries compared with two of four for UMaine. The game marked the Catamounts’ 23rd consecutive victory over the Black Bears.

Ryan Davis paced the Catamounts with 21 points while Ben Shungu scored 19 points, including an 11-for-12 effort from the free-throw line,

“It was a good win today against a Maine team that shot the lights out,” Vermont coach John Becker said. “They prevented us from taking threes so we did a great job at scoring inside the three-point line.”

Sophomore Vukasin Masic led UMaine with 17 points while junior Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish matched his career high with 15. Each of the guards made five, three-pointers, with Masic shooting five of 11 from beyond the arc and McLeish making all five of his long-range attempts.

Junior guard Maks Klanjscek added 11 points and a game-high five assists for the Black Bears while freshman forward Kristians Feierbergs scored 10 points.

Wright-McLeish’s hot shooting from three-point range came in the first half, including three, three-pointers during the first six minutes as UMaine built a lead as large as 19-12.

Vermont soon erased that deficit and took a 40-31 lead late in the half thanks to a 9-0 run that included a basket by sophomore forward Nick Fiorillo of Scarborough, who finished the day with eight points and two steals in 15 minutes of play.

The Catamounts led 42-37 at intermission, then opened the second half with nine unanswered points to ignite a 17-4 run, with Davis scoring nine points to help Vermont build a 59-41 lead with 13:47 remaining.

UMaine trailed by as much as 66-47 with 11:12 to play before Masic made two, three-pointers as the Black Bears outscored the Catamounts 15-5 to draw within 71-62 with 5:25 left.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...