Maine Black Bears' Gedi Juozapaitis (22) during an NCAA basketball game between Maine Black Bears and Marist Red Foxes at the O2 Arena, in London, Sunday, Dec.4, 2022. Credit: Ian Walton / AP

Gedi Juozapaitis hit a 3-pointer to send UMaine into overtime against Harvard, but the Crimson were able to hang onto the victory late against the Black Bears, 74-73. 

Juozapaitis missed a 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer and Harvard grabbed the rebound. Idan Tretout was fouled with 19.2 seconds left and hit both free throws to increase the Crimson’s lead to 67-64. 

On the ensuing UMaine possession, the Black Bears lost possession on a pass and had to foul Chris Ledlum with 10.6 seconds to play. Ledlum, who finished the game with a game-high 27 points, missed the front end of the one-and-one and Kristians Feierbergs grabbed the rebound. UMaine then called a timeout with 6.4 seconds left in the game. 

Out of the timeout, Clayton inbounded the ball to a curling Juozapaitis off a series of screens, who caught and shot a 3-pointer that tied the game at 67-67 with four seconds left, sending the game to overtime. 

“We drew up a play and I practice those shots and coach needs me to make those shots, so I knocked it down,” Juozapaitis said. 

In overtime, Evan Nelson started the scoring on a layup from a cut down the lane that put Harvard ahead 69-67. Ledlum then hit two free throws that put Harvard ahead 71-67 with 3:54 left.

UMaine answered with a layup from Juozapaitis and a free throw from Tynes to pull within 71-70, but a 3-pointer from Sam Silverstein with 1:16 left improved the Crimson’s lead to 74-70. 

With 4.9 seconds left, UMaine came out of the timeout and found Juozapaitis who drilled a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left. 

“He’s one of the best shooters in the league and that’s a set we worked on,” UMaine coach Chris Markwood said of Juozapitis’ game-tying shot in regulation. “The guys executed it and he banged it home.”

Still down 74-73, UMaine fouled Tretout with 0.7 seconds left, sending him to the line. Tretout missed both, but a full-court heave from Peter Filipovity was no good and Harvard survived.

“It wasn’t perfect, we had mistakes we wish we had back, but anytime you give yourself a chance to win at the end then you’re doing some good things,” Markwood said. “I told the guys I thought the fight was there and we have to understand that.”

The contest at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor was tight from the start. UMaine (6-7), which enters America East conference play on Jan. 5 against UMass Lowell, has played many close games that have been decided by a couple of possessions and Wednesday’s game was no exception.

At the 10:19 mark in the first half, Harvard’s Idan Tretout hit two free throws to tie the game at 13-13, the game’s first tie since the score was 4-4. 

Harvard’s Ledlum scored a tough layup at the hoop to later give Harvard its first lead, 17-15, since the first basket of the game. He was a problem for the UMaine defense in the first half, scoring 13 points and grabbing five rebounds. 

Kellen Tynes hit a 3-pointer with 7:56 to go to take back the lead for the Black Bears, but Harvard’s Evan Nelson answered with a three of his own to gain a 20-18 lead back and the Crimson never relinquished that lead for the rest of the first half. 

Harvard stretched its lead to six with four minutes left in the half, but Tynes hit two layups and then a triple from the right corner with 30 seconds left to tie the game at 33 a piece at the half. 

Tynes was perfect from deep in the first half and helped UMaine finish the first half 4-10 from three after the Black Bears began the game 1-6.

Tynes led UMaine with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, with Filpovity chipping in seven points off the bench. Juozapaitis, usually a scorer, had two smooth assists late in the half to help the Black Bears back into the game.

The two teams battled through the second half, with Harvard gaining a 51-46 lead after Ledlum hit two free throws with 12:16 left in the contest. 

Filipovity scored a layup and grabbed some big rebounds to help UMaine back to a 57-53 deficit with 8:55 to play. Two minutes later, Feierbergs hit a triple from the top of the arch to pull the Black Bears within 57-56 with 6:55 left. Then, with 5:42 to play, Juozapaitis hit his first 3-pointer after an 0-4 start as the shot clock expired to tie the game at 59-59. 

Ledlum carried Harvard offensively for the next couple of minutes, scoring off an offensive rebound with three minutes left, then after a Clayton pull-up jumper that tied things at 61-61, hit a smooth layup off a cut down the middle that gave the Crimson a 63-61 advantage with 1:39 left in the contest. 

On UMaine’s next possession, the ball moved through the offense and found Feierbergs who drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing that gave the Black Bears a 64-63 lead. 

Tretout answered with a tough layup from the right side with one minute left to gain back a 65-64 lead. 

Juozapaitis finished with 19 points. Five Black Bears finished in double figures on Wednesday night.

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Adam Robinson

Adam Robinson is a native of Auburn, Maine, and graduate of Husson University and Edward Little High School. He enjoys sports, going on runs and video games.