BANGOR, MAINE- The Husson University men's basketball team came up short in a heartbreaking battle on Senior Day. After holding a steady lead for the majority of the night, the University of Maine-Farmington made a huge comeback taking the match into overtime. Despite a 3-pointer on the final buzzer by Raheem Anderson, the Eagles (18-6, 14-3 NAC) fell short, dropping the conference match, 93-88, to the Beavers (12-12, 10-7 NAC) on Wednesday evening at the Newman Gymnasium.
Despite falling behind early to UMaine-Farmington, 7-0, led by baskets from Milani Hicks and Bill Ruby, the Eagles bounced back fast, catching up with the Beavers by the fifth minute of the game, 9-9, due to impressive shooting from behind the 3-point line by Worcester (6 points) and Cole Thomas. Husson continued their deep shooting streak as Justin Martin added on a pair of threes for the Eagles fifth-straight 3-pointer of the game, scoring their only points in the opening eight minutes of the match from behind the arc.
With 7:57 remaining in the first half, the Eagles extended their lead to 12 points (27-15) thanks to complete composure from the charity stripe by DJ Bussey draining three baskets followed by a pair from Anderson 20 seconds later.
Closing out the final minutes of the first half, Husson broke out on an 11-3 run to go into halftime with a 40-25 advantage. The Eagles shot 100% (5-5) from the free throw line to the Beavers' 55.6% (5-9). Leading all scorers, Martin netted three of the Eagles nine 3-pointers for nine points while Bussey and UMaine-Farmington's Milani each contributed eight points.
The Beavers once again controlled the first few minutes of the half rolling in on an 8-3 run until Martin and Anderson messed up their groove draining back-to-back threes to retaliate with a 16-3 run for the Eagles. With 16:54 left to play, Husson came back to a 21-point lead (58-37).
By the time 10:00 minutes flashed across the game clock, UMaine-Farmington had cut their point deficit by more than half to 60-52 thanks to seven consecutive points scored by Ruby. 70 seconds later, Ruby added on a pair of threes to bring the Beavers within five points of the Eagles (63-58), for a remarkable 13 consecutive points.
Proving to be a match decided from behind the 3-point line, Hicks and Ruby caught up with the Eagles after draining two more 3-pointers followed by a dunk from Hicks to even up the score 70-70 with 4:08 remaining in regulation.
Leaving the fans on the edge of their seats, UMaine-Farmington brought the game within one point on a jump shot by Hicks in the final 44 seconds, 75-74. The Eagles had possession passing the ball in to Anderson who immediately went up for the three, falling just short as it bounced off the rim. Worcester swooped in for the rebound, getting fouled as he tried to escape three Beavers. Stepping up to the charity stripe, Worcester gave Husson a little more comfort sinking both foul shots to bring the score to 77-74 with 12.2 seconds on the clock. The Beavers got the ball back and worked it around the arc to Ruby who pulled out his sixth 3-pointer of the night to tie up the score, 77-77, taking the match into overtime.
UMaine-Farmington stepped onto the court with pure determination scoring seven unanswered points establishing an 84-77 lead in two minutes. Martin brought the Eagles back in competition sinking two shots from the charity stripe following up with a huge block on defense to stop Ruby's streak. Worcester came in clutch with a 3-pointer to leave Husson two baskets behind (86-82) with 49 seconds remaining. Feeling the pressure, the Eagles hit some unfortunate foul trouble as they fell behind, 88-93, dropping the match in overtime to the Beavers.
- Tallying his sixth double-double of the season, junior forward Martin had a combined 13 boards and 22 points including six 3-pointers.
- Senior guard Anderson shot 100% (5-5) from the free throw line to add on to his 21 points, draining his fourth 3-point shot as the final buzzer went off.
- Freshman guard Thomas dropped dropped nine points, eight boards, and five assists.
- Senior guard Worcester contributed 16 points including three deep shots from behind the arc and three boards.
- Leading all-scorers sophomore forward Ruby tallied a total of 38 points, shooting 12-16 from the field, 6-7 from 3-point range, and 8-10 from the charity stripe while also grabbing 13 rebounds to record a double-double.
- Junior forward Hicks also registered a double-double between his 19 points and 11 boards.
- Sophomore forward Riley Robinson displayed complete precision from the free throw line sinking 8-8 for half of his 16 points while coming up just two boards shy of a double-double.
Husson edged UMaine-Farmington in free throw percentage 88.2% (15-17) to 75% (24-32) and successful 3-pointera, 17 to 11. UMaine-Farmington held the advantage in the field shooting 46.8% (29-62) to 35.9% (28-78). Both teams came up strong under the hoop grabbing 43 total rebounds apiece while the Eagles saw 20 points scored from off the bench to the Beavers' three points.
The Eagles will close out the regular season on the road with a conference matchup slated for 3 p.m. at Thomas College on Saturday, February 17th.