Tuesday, January 27, 2009

UMaine (8-12, 3-4) at Vermont (14-6, 5-2)

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Vermont has won five straight and is led by America East's reigning player of the year, forward Marqus Blakely (15.2 points, 8.5 rebounds ), guard Mike Trimboli (15.8 points, 4.7 assists) and forward Colin McIntosh (13.2 points, 5.5 rebounds). All three are in the top eight in America East field goal percentage.

As a team, Vermont leads the league in shooting at 48 percent. The Black Bears are seventh at 41 percent.

Black Bears lead the all-time series, 68-48, but have dropped four of the past five to the Catamounts. The game is scheduled to be televised on NESN.

Probable starters:

G - Mike Trimboli, 6-1, Sr. ... needs 2 assists to break school career record
G - Nick Vier, 6-1, Jr.
G - Maurice Joseph, 6-4, Jr. ... transfer from Michigan State
F- Marqus Blakely, 6-5, Jr. ... very good around the hoop
F - Colin McIntosh, 6-8, Sr. ... has become consistent scorer, rebounder

Black Bears
G- Mark Socoby, 6-6, Jr. ... closing in on 1,000 career points
G - Junior Bernal, 6-5, Jr. ... key to game is getting to the rim
G- Gerald McLemore, 6-3, Fr. ... opponents play for outside shot
F - Sean McNally, 6-7, Soph. ... need his offense down low
F - Malachi Peay, 6-6, Soph. ... stay out of foul trouble

Can the Black Bears pick off one of these tough roadies (Vermont, Binghamton) this week. Trips to Burlington and Vestal, N.Y., have been painful in recent years. ... When UMaine tips off with the Catamounts Wednesday, it'll be the third time in four games the Bears have taken on a first-place team. It could go to four out of five against Binghamton, which is currently tied with Vermont and Boston U. at the top of the AE heap. Binghamton plays at UMBC Wednesday.

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