Black Bears’ climb to contention


Last season, the University of Maine men’s basketball team had a 9-21 overall record and lost in the America East tournament’s play-in game.

Then leading scorer Mark Socoby transferred.

This season, Maine is 14-7 and sits in second place in the league standings heading into Wednesday’s showdown against UVM  at Patrick Gym.

So, how did the Black Bears go from cellar-dweller to contender?

“Probably experience and team chemistry,” UVM coach Mike Lonergan said. “I always thought they had talent. I thought maybe they underachieved a little for whatever reason. But I think those guys like each other and are used to playing  with each other now. And I think (Sean) McNally and (Gerald) McLemore are two of the better players in the league. (Junior) Bernall has some weaknesses but is a pretty good point guard; he’s got good size. They are playing with confidence.”

McLemore, a sophomore guard, is averaging 14.5 ppg while McNally, a junior forward, is a double-double threat for a Maine team that opened eyes around the league by winning at Boston College on Jan. 2.

UVM grabbed a 64-56 win at Orono during the Black Bears’ league opener on Jan. 7. Marqus Blakely recorded 11 points and 13 rebounds and Maurice Joseph racked up 20 points in that game, which came in a stretch that saw the Catamounts win seven straight and 12 out of 13.

“We were playing really well then and we were on a good role,” Lonergan said. “I think the start of the second half, Marqus just went crazy; he was stealing the ball, leading our break, and he got some assists to Evan (Fjeld). Kind of like Saturday (against Albany) in the second half; we really got our fast break going.”

The third-place Catamounts (6-3 AE), who regained a little of their swagger Saturday, can take over second place with a win over the Black Bears (6-2), who slipped on Saturday with a loss to last-place UMBC.


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One Response to “Black Bears’ climb to contention”

  1. Polar bears and dogs playing | Golden Retriever Dogs Says:

    […] Black Bears' climb to contention « ON CAMPUS […]

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