The Maine Black Bears wrap up the 2013-14 regular season on Sunday afternoon when the team takes on rival, New Hampshire, at the Cross Insurance center. The Black Bears can close the season on a high note as the team has an opportunity for its first season sweep, going for the second win against the Wildcats, beginning at 2 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
Till Gloger recorded his second-consecutive 20-point game but it wasn't enough as the UMass Lowell Riverhawks swept the season series, defeating Maine, 84-72 at the Costello Athletic Center on Thursday night. With the loss the Black Bears drop to 5-22 and 3-12 in conference, while the upstart Riverhawks improve to 10-18 and 8-8 in America East play.
Maine, which finished the first half with a 38-35 lead, was outscored 49-34 in the second frame on the way to the loss.
The Black Bears shot a scorching 57 percent in the first frame but that dropped drastically in the second half hitting only 15-of-38 for 39 percent from the field.
Antonio Bivins once again paced the UMass Lowell attack scoring 24 points and recording 12 rebounds for the double-double. DJ Mlachnik scored 19 and Akeem Williams chipped in 11.
On the Maine side it was Gloger who scored 20 to lead the way while Xavier Pollard's 15 and Shaun Lawton's 11 aided the Black Bear offense. Zarko Valjarevic finished the game with seven points and hit a career-milestone surpassing the 500-point plateau and now sits with 502.
Maine finished the game with equal rebounds to UMass Lowell as both finished the game with 33 apiece, while the Riverhawks edged Maine in the turnover department only recording 14 turnovers to Maine's 16.
The Wildcats enter the final game of the season on a five game losing skid, which started with its loss to Binghamton on Feb. 12. The squad looked like it might be beginning to turn the season around after having won three of the last five games prior to their current slump. New Hampshire enters the final game at 6-22 overall and 4-11 in conference.
The Wildcats have three players that average double-figure point totals for the squad as Chris Pelcher leads the way. Pelcher averages 11 points per game while Patrick Konan and Jordan Bronner both average 10 points with a 10.6 mark and a 10.0 mark, respectively. Pelcher also takes down the most rebounds per game for UNH, as he averages 8.9 boards per contest while also leading in blocks per game with a 2.4 mark. Bronner leads the team in assists per game with a 1.7 mark
As a team the Wildcats are scoring under 60 points per game with a 57.4 points per game average while allowing opponents 64.1.
SERIES HISTORY AGAINST UNH
UNH and Maine meet for the 185th time in the history of the two rivals with the Black Bears holding a 117-67 series lead. The Black Bears have also held the edge in the last 10 meetings as the team has gone 7-3.
The Black Bears defeated the Wildcats on their home court in their last meeting as Maine prevailed 68-60, in Durham, N.H. Xavier Pollard led the way for the Black Bears recording 20 points while Ethan Mackey was five rebounds away from a double-double, scoring 12 points and coming down with five boards. Maine also did a nice job on Chris Pelcher holding him to just 13 points.
RANKING THE BLACK BEARS (As of Feb. 23)
• 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)
MAINE PLAYOFF SCENARIOS
The Black Bears head into the final game of the season locked in either seventh or eighth seed of the America East tournament. Below are the scenarios the Black Bears face heading into the final game of the season.
• Maine will be seeded either 7th or 8th
• Maine wins head-to-head tiebreaker over UNH (Securing a 7th place finish)
o The only way UNH and Maine tie at the end of the regular season is if Maine beats UNH on Sunday. If that's the case Maine officially swept UNH and takes the tiebreaker by sweeping season series.
• Binghamton wins three way tiebreaker involving Maine and UNH (Reason Maine Can't Get to 6th)
o Maine and Binghamton are 3-1 vs. games involving the three teams, while UNH is 1-3. Binghamton then breaks tie with Maine because of head-to-head record while Maine wins head-to-head time over UNH (assuming win over UNH).
500 POINT CLUB
This season the Black Bears have added two more members to the 500 point club as juniors Xavier Pollard and Zarko Valjarevic surpassed the total. Pollard reached the plateau first coming to the season with 380 points, as the Bronx, N.Y. native secured his place in history scoring 8 points against Binghamton on Jan. 5 to put him over the mark. Likewise Valjarevic recently hit the mark scoring seven points against his most recent opponent, UMass Lowell, as he now sits with 502.
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 earned 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.