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Black Bear Men’s Basketball secure overtime win

On Saturday, March 2, the Maine Black Bears Men’s Basketball Team played an away game against the University of Albany Great Danes. After withstanding an Albany comeback and staying composed in overtime, the Black Bears won the game with the score 74-71. They moved to 2-0 against Albany this year and 6-9 in America East play.

Maine’s leading scorer for the season and in the game, fourth-year forward Peter Filipovity, scored the game’s first basket with a nice pump fake layup. The start of the first half was back-and-forth basket trading, with the score being tied up at 11-11 and 15-15.

An eventual 10-2 run for the Black Bears gave them a 25-17 lead. Third-year guard Quion Burns scored eight of Maine’s 10 points during the run and added a block. Burns would finish the game with 11 points on 4-6 shooting.

Maine third-year guard Kellen Tynes forced a steal on the defensive end and then assisted second-year guard Jaden Clayton’s transition layup to give Maine a 10-point lead. The Black Bears entered halftime leading with a score of 34-26. They shot an efficient 50%, while Albany struggled at 29.6%

After holding the Great Danes to 26 points in the first 20 minutes, Maine Head Coach Chris Markwood was satisfied with the defensive start. He stated in a halftime interview that he wanted his team to continue to “lean on our defense” and that the defense is the “team’s identity.”

The Black Bears began the second half with a strong defense led by a block from graduate student Adam Cisse. Cisse would finish the game with a versatile stat line of seven points, five rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal.

Maine third-year forward AJ Lopez scored a quick five points to start the half, and the lead would eventually grow to 11. Shortly after, Albany would go on a 6-0 run that cut the lead down to 40-36. Yet all game long, Maine had been able to answer each time Albany cut back into the lead.

Balanced offensive attacks by both teams kept the scoring going, but Kellen Tynes made a layup, which put the Black Bears back on top by 10, scoring 62-52 with about four minutes to play.

Just as things seemed over for the Great Danes, their comeback began. Third-year guard Sebastian Thomas finished off a layup after a steal to cut the score to 64-59 with three minutes to go. Thomas led all scorers with 21 points. With a minute left and a chance to tie the game, Thomas tried a stepback 3, but it was blocked by Tynes. Tynes finished the game with three blocks. 

After failing to score on the other end, Maine had to come up with one last stop to win in regulation. But while Thomas attempted a three-point shot, he was fouled. He hit all three clutch free throws for the Great Danes and tied the game at 64 to cap off a 12-2 run with 19 seconds remaining.

Maine dribbled the clock down to the final seconds for the last shot, but Clayton couldn’t convert the contested layup. The ball rolled out of bounds with nine-tenths of a second left on the clock, but Tynes couldn’t hit a difficult alley-oop tip-in at the buzzer. With the score still tied at 64, the Black Bears headed to overtime for their second game in a row.

During overtime, Filipovity scored two layups by driving to the basket with great footwork and spin moves. However, Albany would go ahead 71-70 with about one minute remaining, earning their first lead since the score was 15-13 in the first half. 

Clayton then knocked down two free throws to give Maine a 72-71 lead with 40 seconds left. Albany then missed a three-point attempt after Maine played good team defense. The Black Bears got the ball back and were intentionally fouled with 18 seconds left

With a chance to ice the game, Clayton missed both free throws, but teammate Burns came up huge as he snagged the offensive rebound and was fouled. Burns hit both free throws with 12 seconds left to increase the lead to 74-71.

Albany still had one final shot to tie the game, but Thomas missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, and their comeback fell short as Maine would hang on to win 74-71.

Three-point shots were not falling for either team, as they finished for a combined 7-34. This proved that points in the paint were critical, where Maine edged out Albany 46-40. Maine wraps up their regular season with one final home game against UMass Lowell on Tuesday, March 5, before playing in the America East Playoffs.

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