The Maine Black Bears gear up for their second-last home game of the season when the squad hosts Stony Brook for a late season showdown on Sunday, Feb. 23. Maine hopes to settle the score after falling to the Seawolves earlier in the season when it takes on its America East foe at 2 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Center.
LAST TIME OUT
Redshirt sophomore Ethan Mackey enjoyed playing in front of his hometown crowd (Voorheesville, N.Y.) as he recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds but Maine Men's Basketball was defeated by Albany, 74-63 at the SEFCU Arena on Saturday. With the loss the Black Bears are no 5-20 and 3-10 in conference while Albany improves to 13-13 and 7-6 in America East play.
Mackey played against Albany earlier this year and recorded a new career-high in points, tallying 24 in the win but had a chance to show what he can do in front of a myriad of his friends and family, recording a new career-high in boards.
The Black Bears played one of its best halves in recent memory, whittling a 20 point lead down to one, going on a 29-10 run to open the frame and challenged the rest of the way.
While the story of the game for Maine was the play of Mackey, it was Zarko Valjarevic, who paced the offense with 15 points, as the Black Bears finished the game shooting 39 percent from the field.
Peter Hooley sparked the Great Danes scoring 21 points for the game while DJ Evans was next on the scoring list, recording 16 and assisting Albany's shooting percentage of 45 percent from the field.
The Great Danes edged the Black Bears in the rebounding department, 36-34 while Maine turned it over 17 times to Albany's 15.
SCOUTING STONY BROOK
The Seawolves come down the homestretch trying to overtake Vermont for the top spot in the America East standings. Stony Brook is currently 19-8 overall and 11-2 in conference games while Vermont sits in first with a 12-1 mark.
The Seawolves have four players that average double-figure point totals as Jameel Warney leads the pack, averaging 15.2 points per contest. Next on the list is Anthony Jackson with a 13.4 point per game mark, Carson Puriefoy with a 12.3 mark and Dave Coley with a 11.2 points-per-contest average.
Warney also patrols the glass for Stony Brook taking down 8.3 rebounds per game while both Ahmad Walker and Coley are second and third, respectively with marks of 5.4 and 5.0.
While Warney leads in both rebound and points average, it's Puriefoy that dishes out the passes for Stony Brook with 73 total assists and a 3.0 assist average.
The Black Bears lead the series history against the Stony Brook, holding a slim 16-14 edge against the Seawolves as the teams ready for their 21st meeting, all-time.
In its last contest the Black Bears fought hard in a closely contested first half holding Stony Brook to just 27 points, the lowest amount Maine has allowed their opponents to score in the opening frame. Likewise the Maine was only was able to put back 20 points, its lowest first half output all season.
When looking at the first half box however one would see how effective Maine had been against Jameel Warney, holding him scoreless through the first half. Warney only scored six points through the game but Maine allowed both Ahmad Walker and Dave Coley to score 22 and 17 points, respectively as the squad was outscored, 52-41 in the final half to lose 79-61.
Recent history hasn't been kind to the Black Bears however as Maine is currently mired in a six game losing streak, dating back to the 2011 season when Maine defeated Stony Brook on Jan. 22 in Orono, Maine, 70-59.
RANKING THE BLACK BEARS (As of Feb. 9)
• Shaun Lawton is now ranked 58th in the nation in steals per game with a 1.92 mark.
• Lawton is ranked 66th in the country in total steals with 46.
• Lawton is also ranked 104th in assists per game averaging 4.4.
• Zarko Valjarevic is nationally ranked in most 3-point categories:
• 3-pointer FG Percentage – 10th (45.4)
• 3-pointers per game – 66th (2.56)
• Total 3-pointers made – 66th (64)
• Maine is now 52nd in the country in steals per game with 7.4 per contest.
• Maine is 67th in the country in the assists per game category with 14.3.
• Black Bears are 71st in Division I basketball in total steals with 186.
America East Rankings
• Maine is the No. 1 in scoring offense in the conference with 72.5 points per game.
• Lawton is both 2nd in the AE in assists per game (4.4) and first in steals per contest (1.9).
• Valjarevic is the conference's deadliest 3-point shooter ranking first in shooting percentage with a 45.4 mark and second in 3-pointers per game, and 3-pointers made.
Team Quick Hit Rankings:
• 1st in assists per game (14.3)
• 1st in total assists (358)
• 2nd in steals per game (7.4)
• 3rd in total steals (186)
• 3rd 3-point field goals per game (6.6)
• 3rd in assist turnover ratio (0.96)
MACKEY IS MONEY
Redshirt sophomore Ethan Mackey has had a career-season in 2013-14 as he as seen a tremendous amount of playing time and it culminated in a performance to remember last weekend in his hometown, Albany, N.Y. Mackey has enjoyed playing the Great Danes so far this season as he posted a new career-high in points when Albany visited Orono, Maine earlier in the year and he just recently posted his first career double-double against the squad. Last Saturday, Mackey added a career-high 12 rebounds to his12 points as the forward recorded the first double-double of his career in front of a myriad of friends and family.
Zarko Valjarevic entered the nation's elite this week as he is currently ranked 10th overall in division I basketball in 3-pointer percentage with a mark of 45.4. Valjarevic also ranks 66th in the country in both total made treys and 3-pointers per game. He is also 10 points away from 500 for his career.
CLOSING IN 500
While junior Xavier Pollard reached the 500 point plateau earlier this year, Zarko Valjarevic, Maine's deadliest 3-point shooter, is just 10 away from 500 career points with three games remaining. Valjarevic currently averages 11.2 points per game so if he stays healthy he has a shot to hit that mark this year. So far he has scored a career-high 292 points, after registering 185 his sophomore season and 13 in his freshman campaign.
BK Jekabpils forward Troy Barnies was named the Most Valuable Player of the month in the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) after putting up stellar performances throughout January. The 24-year-old Maine alum, has been enjoying a great season, while Jekabpils is in good position to make the BBL Playoffs, as they currently sit in fourth position in Group A, with three crucial games remaining. During the three games in January, Barnies averaged 19.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals, while shooting a solid 52percent from the field. His best performance came in a huge 89-47 victory against Tyco Rapla on Jan. 3, when the player recorded an impressive double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes of action.