University of Maine men's basketball junior guard Maks Klanjscek dribbles the ball down the court during a Nov. 2021 game against Central Connecticut State University. Credit: Barry Gutradt / UMaine Athletics

The University of Hartford men’s basketball team used hot shooting from all areas of the court to outscore the University of Maine 78-66 in America East conference play on Monday evening at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

The Hawks shot 60.5 percent (26 of 43) from the field overall, 47.1 percent (8 of 17) from beyond the 3-point arc and 78.3 percent (18 of 23) from the free-throw line to improve its record to 5-12 overall, 3-2 in America East play.

Senior guard Austin Williams led the veteran Hartford squad with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field and a 4-of-5 effort from the free-throw line along with nine rebounds. Graduate forward Hunter Marks added 16 points and five boards, while junior guard Moses Flowers and senior swingman David Shriver scored 14 points each, with Shriver coming off the Hawks’ bench to make 4 of 8 3-point tries.

UMaine, led offensively by guards Maks Klanjscek and Vukasin Masic, absorbed its third straight loss and fell to 4-16 overall, 1-8 in the conference heading into Wednesday’s 7 p.m. home game against UMass Lowell.

Klanjscek, a junior from Slovenia by way of Salt Lake Community College, led all scorers with a game-high 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting from the field along with four rebounds and three assists. Masic, a sophomore from Serbia who transferred to UMaine from Hofstra, added 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and a 4-of-7 effort from 3-point distance.

Redshirt junior forward Stephane Ingo contributed 11 points and four rebounds for the Black Bears.

UMaine, which led by as many as 11 points during the first half, trailed 37-36 at intermission but was outscored 41-30 in the second half.

In a contest that featured nine lead changes and three ties, Hartford pulled away in the second half by shooting 70 percent from the field (14 for 20) during the game’s final 20 minutes.

UMaine raced out to a 13-2 lead in the opening minutes with back-to-back 3-pointers  from Masic sparking the early surge.

After Hartford cut the lead to five, Klanjscek stopped the Hawks’ run with a triple to restore the Black Bears to an eight-point advantage at 16-8.

Hartford mounted an 8-0 run to tie the game before taking its first lead on a Shriver 3-pointer with 10:13 left in the half.

The teams traded the lead six more times in the first half, with UMaine’s lead growing back to six points at 34-28 with 3:09 left on baskets by freshman guard Byron Ireland and junior guard Ja’Shonte Wright-Mcleish before Hartford closed out the period with a 9-2 run to take a one-point lead.

Ingo scored the first basket of the second half to give UMaine a 38-37 advantage, but that was the Black Bears’ last lead of the game.

Hartford scored seven straight points on a 3-pointer by Moses Flowers, a second-chance basket by Austin Williams and another inside basket by Flowers to take a 44-38 lead with 17:21 remaining.

UMaine soon cut its deficit back to a single point at 47-46 on a Klanjscek jumper with 13:26 to play, but a 17-7 Hartford run put the game away.

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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...