Posts Tagged ‘maine’

Blakely out does himself once again

February 4, 2010

Just when you thought Marqus Blakely’s highlights couldn’t get much more impressive, he does something like he did Wednesday night in a win crucial win over Maine.

Just ask Maine’s Terrance Mitchell, who was  posterized by the University of Vermont’s high-flier. Blakely soared over Mitchell on a fast break, threw down a massive dunk and drew a foul on the play. It whipped Patrick Gym’s fans into a frenzy during the first half and set the tone for a 64-51 win, which boosted the Catamounts into second place.

Was it among his top-five career dunks, I asked during the press conference?

“I was just talking to (UVM sports information associate) Ben Dickie about that,” Blakely said. “He said it was top-5. I said it  was top three. I mean, we’ll see.”

And there you have it. Perhaps no one will be happier to see Blakely graduate than Maine coach Ted Woodward, who has probably lost count the number of times Blakely has lit  up his squad.

“We knew we just couldn’t allow (Vermont) to get some easy baskets early and I think they just do a wonderful  job of getting easy baskets, whether it’s offensive rebounds or fast breaks or points off  turnovers,” Woodward said. “You look at  the first-half stats and that was the majority of the point that they got. That’s what they feed off of. Obviously Blakely has a lot to do with that. He’s the guy that creates offense off of  his defense and has been doing it in his entire career.

“And obviously that’s a big reason that the crowd gets going,” Woodward. “It’s just how he plays and the energy he brings to the building.”

****

While Blakely was the show stopper, teammate Garvey Young was the unsung hero.

Although the sophomore guard didn’t score a point, his defense was the chief reason Maine’s Gerald McLemore, who was averaging 14.5 ppg coming into the game, was held to five points on 2-for-10 shooting.

“Not too many times you see someone score zero points and have a huge impact on the game,  UVM coach Mike Lonergan said about Young. “I thought his defense was incredible on McLemore, who is one of the best scorers in our league.”

Advertisements

Black Bears’ climb to contention

February 2, 2010

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.