On Tuesday night the University of Maine men’s basketball team conducted their senior night before their game against the Bryant Bulldogs. The Black Bears pulled it out in dramatic buzzer-beating fashion off a Kristians Feierbergs putback layup as time expired in a 66-64 victory at The Pit in Orono.
The graduating players are guards Gedi Juozapaitis and Adefolarin “Fofo” Adetogun as well as forward Ata Turgut, all of which had a big role in the win, the season and the future of the program. Juozapaitis is a grad student transfer from Georgia Southern and originally came from London, England. He is Maine’s leading scorer on the season at 15.3 points a game, which is good for third in the America East. This was good enough to grab a third-team all-conference selection.
Adetogun delivers a lot of immeasurable qualities such as his defense and leadership. He is typically responsible for at least a few big-momentum swing plays every game with his high-motor and intense style of play.
“[Adetogun’s] infectious personality combined with a great work ethic and team-first attitude make him a great leader in our locker room,” head coach Chris Markwood said.
The final graduate is forward Turgut. The Turkish big man is having a career-best season in every single statistic. He started the season as a depth reserve big man, but due to injuries and solid play, he played more and more as the season went on and went to start a lot of games and became a big offensive contributor, having his season high of 14 points come against Vermont on Feb. 8.
The Black Bears led the entire first half against Bryant. The largest lead they got to ammas was nine, with just over six minutes to go when it was 25-16. The Bulldogs clawed back to cut the deficit to just one at halftime by going on a 15-7 run to close the first 20 minutes. Juozapaitis and junior forward Kristians Feierbergs were tied for the team lead in the opening frame with six points apiece. Maine’s defense was able to force six Bryant Bulldog turnovers in the first seven minutes, but ended up committing eight in a five-minute span themselves.
The second saw a lot of the same as Maine never trailed in the half but never led by more than six. Both teams were matching blow for blow as the game was tied at 64 with 10 seconds. Maine had the ball and fourth-year guard Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish attempted and missed a corner three, then the second-year forward caught the rebound and immediately went up with the putback tip-in layup as time expired. The Maine bench mobbed him and erupted with joy. This clinched the best total regular–season and conference record since 2009 for UMaine (13-16 and 7-9). Juozapaitis was the Black Bears’ highest scorer with 19, and Feierbergs got up 11 with his game-winner.