The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Tuesday, Sept. 29, 1:12 p.m.

Freshmen, Valjarevic propel men’s basketball to exhibition win

With a revamped roster that features six freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors and zero seniors, it remains unclear what fans can expect from the University of Maine men’s basketball team in 2013.

After Saturday’s season-opening 83-57 exhibition victory over the McGill University Redmen, it appears the future looks bright.

Freshman guard/forward Garet Beal added 13 points on 5-11 shooting to lead the Black Bear rookies and junior forward Zarko Valjarevic poured in 18 points on 6-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds to drive the UMaine offense on Saturday.

UMaine’s first-year players — Beal, guard Troy Reid-Knight, forward Christian Ejiga, forward Marko Pirovic, forward Erik Nissen and guard Mitchell Worcester — combined to score 33 of the Black Bears’ 83 points. Reid-Knight lined the stat sheet with seven points, six assists, three steals and three rebounds.

Junior guard Xavier Pollard chipped in 6 points, five assists and one steal in the win.UMaine shot 47.6 percent from the floor compared to McGill’s 36.4 percent showing. The Black Bears shot 45 percent from the 3-point line, led by Valjarevic’s 4-7 showing from beyond the arc.

The Black Bears were dominant inside as well, earning 20 second-chance points on the heels of a 45-34 rebounding advantage. UMaine outscored McGill 42-18 on points in the paint on Saturday.

McGill’s 18 turnovers translated to 21 UMaine points, while the Black Bears’ mistakes turned into 12 points the other way.

The Redmen, who were led by freshman guard Dele Ogundokun’s 14 points on 6-10 shooting, held a 12-9 lead in the first half after UMaine shot a frigid 4-16 from the field to start the ball game. The ensuing 15-3 run by the Black Bears put UMaine up for good.

Junior shooting guard Vincent Dufort finished with 5 points in the contest and led McGill on the glass with 10 rebounds.

Both teams’ next contest comes against Laval University. UMaine’s final exhibition of the year tips off at 7 p.m. next Friday in the Memorial Gym, while the Redmen travel to Quebec City for an 8 p.m. tipoff Nov. 8.