WEST HARTFORD, CT (Jan. 23) - The University of Hartford men's basketball team squandered a 13-point second-half lead but had enough down the stretch to defeat the University of New Hampshire, 64-62, Sunday at the Chase Family Arena.
New Hampshire took its first lead of the game with 1:51 to play on a layup by Ben Sturgill, giving the Wildcats a 61-59 advantage. Junior Charles Ford tied the game with a pair of free throws before Sturgill put UNH back up 62-61 with a free throw and 1:18 left on the clock.
The Hawks grabbed the lead with a minute to play on a baseline jumper by junior David Ruffin. Trailing 63-62, New Hampshire's Chris Vetrano missed a go-ahead three-pointer that was rebounded by teammate Ioannis Karalis. The Wildcats didn't get a second shot, though, as junior Aaron Cook made a steal with 14.8 seconds to play and was fouled. He hit one of two from the charity stripe to put the Hawks up 64-62, and Vetrano missed a three-pointer in the closing seconds as the Hawks picked up the win.
Hartford improved to 7-10 overall and 3-5 in the America East. New Hampshire dropped to 6-11 overall and 2-6 in the conference.
Hartford got out to a fast start, scoring 20 points in the first five and a half minutes of the game for a 20-5 lead. The Hawks scored only 19 points for the rest of the half but took a 39-31 edge into the locker room at halftime. Cook, Ford and Ruffin combined for 34 of Hartford's 39 points in the stanza. UNH stayed in the game at the free throw line, where the Wildcats went 13-of-19 (68 percent).
Cook led all scorers with 25 points, tying a season high. Ruffin scored 18 points and had seven rebounds and four steals while Ford scored 13 points in 19 minutes. Sturgill led New Hampshire with 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, the only player in double figures for the Wildcats.
Hartford shot 40 percent for the game to UNH's 41 percent but won the rebounding battle by a 39-34 margin. Senior Sean Regan and sophomore Bo Taylor each finished with eight rebounds to lead the Hawks.