Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Game 6

Black Bears (2-3) at Colgate (0-6)
Thursday, Dec. 3, 7 p.m.
Cotterell Court, Hamilton, N.Y.

Forget the upcoming three money games against Syracuse, UConn and BC (and the obligatory wipeout of non-D1 UM-Presque Isle), the success of the Black Bears' non-conference schedule will come down to the four games against Colgate, Kennesaw State, Princeton and Columbia.

UMaine is coming off a nine-day layoff following an ugly home-opening loss to Quinnipiac, an effort that some members of the Black Bears called "tired."

The Black Bears would be wise to ignore Colgate's slow start. Picked to finish in the middle of the Patriot League, the Raiders are winless. But Colgate has four players on its roster who have averaged double figures in points and have experienced some team success in recent years.

Yaw Gyawu, a 6-5 sophomore forward, made the all-rookie team in the Patriot League last year. He is scoring 14.5 points a game and teams with sixth-year senior Kyle Roemer, a 6-3 guard who leads the team at 16.7 ppg. Roemer averaged 16.2 points a game two years ago. He was sidelined by an injury last season and received a medical redshirt year.

The Raiders also have games against America East's Stony Brook and New Hampshire this month. Colgate was 10-20 a year ago.

A win Thursday for the Black Bears will blunt the inevitable at the Carrier Dome Saturday and give some reason for optimism that could carry over to the Kennesaw, Princeton and Columbia games. Win all four games against its "like" competition and the Black Bears would be looking at a good 6-6 non-league record. Winning three of the four games is probably more reasonable and would leave a respectable 5-7 mark. Anything less would have to be termed a disappointment.

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