Men's Basketball Heads to UMass Lowell For Final Road Contest Of The Regular Season

 

Men's Basketball Heads to UMass Lowell For Final Road Contest Of The Regular Season

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OPENING TIP
The Maine Black Bears take to the road for the final time this regular season for a mid-week showdown with UMass Lowell as they play the Riverhawks on Thursday, Jan. 23 at the Costello Athletic Center. The Black Bears look to hand the Riverhawks a loss after falling to the America East newcomer earlier in the year. The contest is slated for 7 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT
Till Gloger scored a career-high 21 points while Xavier Pollard tallied a double-double but it wasn't enough as the Stony Brook Seawolves took the game, 83-79 at the Cross Insurance Center. With the loss the Black Bear fall to 5-21, 3-11 in America East play, while Stony Brook improved to 20-8 and 12-2 in conference.

Gloger tied Pollard for lead in points with 21, hitting 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-7 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile Pollard tied a career-high in rebounds with 11 paired with 21 points to help Maine's offense, which shot 52 percent as a team.

Stony Brook was led by Carson Puriefoy who scored 24 points, while Jameel Warney and Anthony Jackson scored 15 and 14, respectively. The Seawolves shot 45 percent form the field and outrebounded the Black Bears 37-30.

SCOUTING UMASS LOWELL
The Riverhawks have been much more of a threat than many teams thought as the squad entered their first year in division I athletics and its first in the America East as the squad currently sits in the middle of the standings and just two games out of third place. With one game remaining on the schedule for UMass Lowell it looks like fifth place might be all but a certainty.

The Riverhawks opened America East play with a  3-0 record and have gone 5-7 the rest of the way as they enter the contest having won two of the last five contests.

Akeem Williams currently leads the league in scoring, averaging 15.9 points per contest. The Riverhawks have two more players average double-digit point totals as Antonio Bivens who posted a 25 point game against the Black Bears last time these two teams met, currently averages 12.9 points while Chad Holley averages 10.3 points per game.

Williams leads the team in just about every other category as well leading in rebounds, assists and steals. Williams currently averages four rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per contest. Parris Massey holds the lead in blocks per game with one.

Like the Black Bears, UMass Lowell suffers from a negative scoring margin at -8.6, scoring 60.5 points per game while allowing 69.1. Rebounding has also been an issue with a -5.2 rebounding margin (31.4-36.6).

SERIES HISTORY
The Black Bears and River Hawks have a short history to look back on as the two teams have only played three times dating back to the mid-1980's. The first meeting came in the 1984-85 year when the Black Bears defeated UMass Lowell, 86-63. The River Hawks extracted revenge in the 1987-88 season when UMass Lowell defeated Maine in overtime, 75-73.

In its lastest contest, and first with both teams being division I institutions, the Riverhawks upset the Black Bears at home in the Cross Insurance Center, 74-62. Bivens led the squad with 25 points both Akeem Williams and Chad Holley chipped in 11 and 12, respectively. For Maine it was Xavier Pollard who paced the offense with 15 points while Kilian Cato had 14.

The Riverhawks got the best of the Black Bears on the glass coming down with 39 boards to Maine's 27.

RANKING THE BLACK BEARS (As of Feb. 9)
NCAA Rankings
Zarko Valjarevic is the highest-ranking Black Bear in any category coming 13th in the country in three-point field goal percentage (43.9).
Shaun Lawton is now ranked 49th in the nation in steals per game with a 1.92 mark.
• Lawton is ranked 72th in the country in total steals with 48.
• Lawton is also ranked 107th in assists per game averaging 4.4.
 • Zarko Valjarevic is nationally ranked in most 3-point categories:
• 3-pointer FG Percentage – 13th (43.9)
• 3-pointers per game – 72nd (2.50)
• Total 3-pointers made – 86th (86)
• Maine is now 59th in the country in steals per game with 7.3 per contest.
• Maine is 62nd in the country in the assists per game category with 14.4.
• Black Bears are 89th in Division I basketball in total steals with 190.

America East Rankings
• Maine is the No. 1 in scoring offense in the conference with 72.8 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 second in shooting percentage with a 43.9 mark and second in 3-pointers per game (2.5), and 3-pointers made (110).

Team Quick Hit Rankings (America East):
• 1st in assists per game (14.4)
• 1st in scoring Offense (72.8)
• 1st in total assists (358)
• 2nd in steals per game (7.3)
• 3rd in total steals (190)
• 3rd 3-point field goals per game (6.6)
• 3rd in assist turnover ratio (0.97)

ACADEMIC ALL-STARS
Three members of the Black Bears men's basketball team was represented at the annual academic award ceremony on Feb. 26 held at the Wells center. Till Gloger, Stefan Micovic and Luke Hettermann were all recognized for their academic achievements. Gloger and Micovic were named bronze medal scholar athletes while Hettermann earend his silver medal scholar athlete award. The bronze medal signifies the first time a student athlete was named a scholar-athlete while silver is the second time and gold represents the third time.

BACK-TO-BACK DOUBLE-DOUBLES
The Black Bears, which entered the year with only one player having recorded a career double-double, have had a recent double-double streak. It started with Ethan Mackey, who played in front of his hometown fans against Albany on Feb. 15 where here scored 12 points and 12 rebounds to secure his first double-double. Meanwhile Xavier Pollard tallied his third career double-double, scoring 21 points and 11 rebounds against Stony Brook on Feb. 23. That makes back-to-back games where Maine has tallied a double-double and four times this season. Pollard leads the team with three having recorded two in 2013-14, with the other coming against NJIT in New Jersey on Dec. 4. Dimitry Akanda-Coronel also accomplished the feat this year scoring 14 pionts and 10 reounbs against Binghamton in the conference opener.

GLOGER GEARING UP
Sophomore forward Till Gloger has be gun to assert himself as a strong prescence in the paint for the Black Bears. In the first 14 games of the season the Bochum, Germany native, only registered double-figure points once, and five-or-more rebounds three times. In his last 12 games however its been a much different story. Gloger has averaged 10 points and 3.9 rebounds in his last 12 contests   after averaging just 4.2 points per game and three rebounds per game in the first fourteen contests.

NATIONALLY RANKED SNIPER
Zarko Valjarevic entered the nation's elite this week as he is currently ranked 13th overall in division I basketball in 3-pointer percentage with a mark of 43.9. Valjarevic also ranks 86th in the country in total made treys and 72nd in 3-pointers per game. He is also five 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 five away from 500 career points with two games remaining. Valjarevic currently averages 11.4 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 297 points, after registering 185 his sophomore season and 13 in his freshman campaign.

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 against Albany on Feb. 15 in his hometown. 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.

ALUMNI ACCOLADES
Former Black Bear and 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.

SHOOTING BAROMETER
While the standard NCAA basketball game takes at least 40 minutes to play, Maine men's basketball fans can play the role of fortuneteller by looking at the field goal percentage numbers at any point during the contest to see how it will play out. The Black Bears have only lost two games this year when it's had a higher field goal percentage than its opponent. Maine is 3-2 in conference when outgunning their America East foe and are 5-2 overall in that same circumstance.



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