Marist (10-16) at Maine (11-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alfond Arena (5,712) -- Orono, Maine. Television: None. Home Record: Marist 8-3, Maine 6-5. Away Record: Marist 1-12, Maine 5-9. Neutral Record: Marist 1-1, Maine 0-0. Conference Record: Marist 5-10, Maine 5-9. Series Record: Marist leads 3-1.
GAMES NOTES: Two squads that haven't squared off in over 20 years will meet up when the Marist Red Foxes of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference travel to Alfond Arena to take on the Maine Black Bears of the America East in BracketBuster action.
Marist took a close 59-57 win in January of 1984 in the last meeting between these clubs. The Red Foxes improved to 3-1 all-time against Maine. This will be the first ever matchup between the squads where Maine will be the home team.
The Red Foxes enter this game riding high after dominating Loyola-Maryland 72-54 in their last matchup to knock the Greyhounds out of first place in the MAAC. The win was the third in four games for Marist, which is picking up steam despite a 5-10 record in conference play to go with a 10-16 mark overall. Marist will close the season with three straight at home beginning against Fairfield on Monday.
Maine will not have momentum entering this game after losing its fourth straight in a 64-50 defeat to Hartford. Maine went 6-5 in non-conference action before getting wins in each of its first two games in the America East schedule. Since then the Black Bears have been derailed and are just 5-9 in conference action and 11-14 overall. Maine will play its final game at home this season when it hosts New Hampshire on Tuesday.
Marist actually trailed at the half against Loyola-Maryland but stormed back from a 29-23 deficit in the second half to capture the win. The Red Foxes shot a hot 60.0 percent from the field in the second half while limiting the Greyhounds to just 38.1 percent shooting in the closing period. Marist also outscored Loyola-Maryland 22-12 from the free throw line in the game.
Even with the win, Marist remains right at the middle of the conference in terms of offensive production at 68.2 points per game. Devin Price (13.6 ppg) and Chavaughn Lewis (13.2 ppg) are the only players averaging in double figures for the Red Foxes this season although Lewis has been the more effective scorer since the turn of the calendar, scoring in double digits in every game in 2012. Price has turned it on recently averaging 18.7 points per game in the team's last three contests. Sophomore forward Adam Kemp (8.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) has played well this season and was particularly impressive against the Greyhounds, finishing with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Xavier Pollard was the only player to score in double figures for Maine with 10 points in the loss to Hartford on Wednesday. The Black Bears were miserable on offense shooting just 37.0 percent from the floor including 5-of-16 from three point range while turning the ball over 17 times in the loss.
The poor offensive showing was a surprise for Maine which is the second highest scoring team in the America East at 70.4 points per game, while shooting a conference best 45.3 points per game. The Black Bears are also the best passing team in the conference handing out 14.6 assists per game while bringing down the second most rebounds (35.2 rpg). The team is led by a trio of players who can score effectively. Gerald McLemore (17.3 ppg) is the leader, ranking third in the conference in scoring. Justin Edwards (14.4 ppg) is the second option on the team and the freshman has also been a solid rebounder from the backcourt, bringing in 6.2 boards per contest. Sophomore forward Alasdair Fraser (13.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the third member of the scoring group. The three however combined for only 18 points in the loss to Hartford.
This game should have a great deal of scoring with both teams not particularly strong on defense. Although Maine has the edge in terms of offensive production, the Black Bears have been doing so against inferior competition. Expect Marist to keep its momentum going with a win here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Marist 77, Maine 70
02/18 10:39:51 ET