No. 7 Seeded Maine Men's Basketball Plays No. 2 Seeded Stony Brook on Saturday
The 2013-14 regular season has come to an end as the Black Bears finished the year as the seventh seed in the tournament. Maine finished the season with a 4-12 conference record and will play the No. 2 seeded Stony Brook on March 8 beginning at 6 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
The Maine men's basketball team ended the campaign on high note on Sunday, completing the season sweep of rival New Hampshire in the final game of the regular season, 73-69, at the Cross Insurance Center. This is the second time in three seasons the Black Bears have completed the sweep and helps them improve to 6-22 overall and 4-12 in the conference, while UNH drops to 6-23 and 4-12 in America East play.
Sophomore Till Gloger was once again Maine's most noticeable presence in the game as he registered 15 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory. His effort on Sunday marked the sixth-straight game in which the forward recorded double-figure points.
Troy Reid-Knight nearly made it two Black Bears who recorded double-doubles, as he was one assist short of the feat. Reid-Knight scored 15 points and nine assists tying his career-best in points and topping his career-best in assists which was formerly six.
Two other Black Bears reached double-figure points as Shaun Lawton scored 12 points and recorded a season-high six steals in the victory, while Xavier Pollard made it 12-straight games where he reached the double-figure plateau.
For UNH it was America East Fans Choice nominee Jordon Bronner who paced the Wildcats offense, scoring 24 points in the loss. Chris Pelcher and Jaleen Smith both chipped in 12 while Tommy McDonnell led the squad in rebounds with 12.
Maine outrebounded UNH 73-69 while also tallied fewer turnovers, only giving it away 12 times to the Wildcats' 18.
The Stony Brook Seawovles finished the season with the No. 2 overall seed and was contending for the No. 1 spot as recently as Feb. 27 heading to Burlington, Vt., for a conference-best showdown. The squad finished the season with a 21-9 mark and a 13-3 conference record.
The team has four players average double-digit points as Jameel Warney leads the pack, averaging 14.7 while Anthony Jackson (12.9) and Carson Puriefoy (12.7) are next on the list, while Dave Coley is fourth averaging 10.8.
Warney leads the team in many categories, leading in points (14.7) boards per game (7.9) and total blocks (31). Ahmad Walker is the main source for assist for the Seawolves registering 65 helpers in 30 games (2.1 apg).
Stony Brook maintains a positive scoring margin outscoring opponents 72.1 points per game while allowing 66.7 points from their opponents. Stony Brook was the second-ranked offense in the America East, right behind the Black Bears who also average just above 72 points.
Rebounding hasn't been an issue for the Seawolves as Stony Brook holds a +5.7 margin in boards coming down with 36.7 while allowing opponents 31.0.
STONY BROOK OVERALL AND TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Black Bears lead the series history against Stony Brook, holding a slim 16-15 edge against the Seawolves as the teams ready for their 32nd meeting, all-time.
Maine kept close to the Seawolves last game losing by just four points but ultimately fell victim to the season sweep, 83-79 at the Cross Insurance Center. Xavier Pollard and till Gloger paced the offense as with 21 points apiece while Pollard recorded his third career double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Puriefoy led the winning effort with 24 points while Jameel Warney took down nine rebounds.
Recent history hasn't been kind to the Black Bears however as Maine is currently mired in a seven-game losing streak, dating back to the 2011 season when Maine defeated Stony Brook on Jan. 22 in Orono, Maine, 70-59.
Maine vs. SBU Tournament History
The Black Bears and Stony Brook have only met twice in the America East tournament with both teams laying claim to a win. Stony Brook had the most recent win, taking down the Black Bears in the play-in game, 73-65 in Vestal, N.Y., on March 7, 2008. The Black Bears got their only win over the Seawolves on March 7, 2004, defeating Stony Brook, 78-54 in Boston, Mass. In the win Maine was the four seed while SBU was the eighth seed.
RANKING THE BLACK BEARS (As of March 2)
• Shaun Lawton is now ranked 36th in the nation in steals per game with a 2.04 mark.
• Lawton is ranked 50th in the country in total steals with 55.
• Lawton is also ranked 112th in assists per game averaging 4.3.
• Zarko Valjarevic is nationally ranked in most 3-point categories:
• 3-pointers per game – 78th (2.48)
• Total 3-pointers made – 104 (67)
• Maine is now 41st in the country in steals per game with 7.5 per contest.
• Maine is 55th in the country in the assists per game category with 14.6.
• Black Bears are 72nd in Division I basketball in total steals with 210.
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 (4.3) and first in steals per contest (2.0).
• Valjarevic is the conference's deadliest 3-point shooter ranking second in 3-pointers per game (2.4), and 3-pointers made (116).
Team Quick Hit Rankings (America East):
• 1st in assists per game (14.6)
• 1st in scoring Offense (72.8)
• 1st in total assists (410)
• 2nd in steals per game (7.5)
• 3rd in total steals (210)
• 3rd 3-point field goals per game (6.4)
• 3rd in assist turnover ratio (0.99)
BLACK BEAR TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Maine enters conference the tournament with a 15-31 overall record in America East postseason. Below are some quick hit facts about the Black Bears and the history of its quest for conference supremacy:
• The Black Bears hold their best winning percentage by round in the quarterfinals with an 11-16 mark.
• Maine is still searching for its first victory as a No. 7 seed in the tournament.
• The only winning percentage over .500 when looking at record by seed is when Maine has entered as a No. 2 seed, holding a 4-3 record.
• Maine is 0-7 when it has played the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
America East Related History
• The overall history record of No. 7 seven seed vs. No. 2 seed is 1-27.
• The last time a No. 7 seed defeated a No. 2 seed was in 2009 when Albany defeated Vermont 56-52 in the quarterfinals.
Junior Xavier Pollard was officially honored by the conference at end of the year awards banquet on Friday as he was named to the America East third team for his efforts this season. Pollard led the team in points per game coming into the conference tournament, averaging 14.9 points per game as he is also tied with Rodney Elliott for fourth in the conference in scoring. He is also second on the team in rebounds per game with a 4.4 mark while second on the team and the conference in steals per game, averaging just over one steal per game. Pollard was named America East player of the week once this year after he averaged 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals in two Maine wins in early Feb. Maine defeated New Hampshire on Jan. 29 and UMBC on Feb. 1.
Troy Reid-Knight earned his first player of the week award in his final week of the regular season after helping Maine to a 1-1 record against UMass Lowell and New Hampshire. He averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 6.5 assists through the two games against UMass Lowell and New Hampshire. Reid-Knight's best game came on Sunday in the season finale, as he was one assist shy of a double-double, scoring a team-leading 15 points and nine assists. Both his points and assists numbers against the Wildcats match or set a new career-high for the first year player, with the 15 points matching a career-best and nine assists breaking his previous top-mark of six, which he tallied against UMBC on Feb. 1.
GLOGER NOTCHES FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Till Gloger who has been playing at a scorching pace since entering conference season tallied a first of his career in the season finale on Sunday, recording his first double-double of his career. Gloger scored 15 points and grabbed 14 boards (a new career-high) in the victory over the Wildcats, while he also dished out a pair of assists. Gloger is currently second in the conference in field goal percentage in conference games this season hitting 60 percent of his shots.
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, UMass Lowell, as he now sits with 502.