The University of Maine men’s basketball team has continued to be on the losing side of the scoreboard. Over the five week winter break, the team went 1-7. This wasn’t without many close scores like their double overtime loss against Central Connecticut State University, or three of the last four contests that were decided by less than a five point differential. Despite being close in these games, Maine has a record of 1-5 against teams in the America East Conference.
In these conference games Maine has done a great job at outscoring their opponents in the first half. The only two teams that were able to outscore Maine in the first were the University of Vermont and Binghamton University, with every other opponent being down by a deficit of at least nine points at halftime. The offense stayed consistent through both halves in these games, however Maine’s defense has worn down in every loss. In Saturday’s loss against Binghamton, Maine’s defensive efforts during the first half kept them in the contest, but a strong offensive push by Binghamton in the second half overwhelmed Maine’s defense, as they fell by a final score of 78-66.
In Maine’s double overtime game against Central Connecticut State University both teams were evenly matched. With both teams scoring 32 in the first half, 41 in the second half, and 11 in the first overtime, it looked like the game would go on forever. As neither side was able to increase the deficit beyond single digits, the crowd was on the edge of their seats. This excitement only increased with third-year guard Sergio El Darwich’s buzzer beating three-point shots in the second half and first overtime. Despite this effort, Maine missed their attempt for a third buzzer beater in the second overtime, sending the Black Bears home with a 93-90 loss.
In an exciting game against the University at Albany Great Danes, the Black Bears jumped out to an early lead and were able to lockdown their back court in the second half. Four Black Bears led the charge, with El Darwich leading Maine with 26 points. The other players to score in double digits were third-year guard Isaiah White who scored 13, third-year forward Andrew Fleming with 12 and second-year forward Vilgot Larsson with 11. With under five minutes to play and the Black Bears holding a 16 point advantage, the Great Danes went on a run. Their push was too little too late however, since the Great Danes couldn’t beat the clock, and Maine came away with the win and a final score of 66-62.
Maine’s next game will be played Wednesday, Jan. 30 in Lowell, Massachusetts. They will face off against the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who are 12-9, with a record of 4-2 against teams in the America East Conference. Their next contest after that will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3 at the Cross Insurance Arena. This game will be played against school rival the University of New Hampshire who have a record of 3-16. Both teams are quite evenly matched and should result in quite an exciting contest.