Saturday, March 6, 2010

UNH 68, Black Bears 57

A season of great strides for the UMaine basketball program came to a crashing halt Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament.

No. 6-seeded New Hampshire defended better, rebounded better, executed its offense better and pulled away in the second half for the upset of the No. 3 Black Bears.

UNH put the clamps on Gerald McLemore (7 points) throughout the game and UMaine struggled to find a rhythm on offense. At the other end, UNH's Brian Benson had career highs in points (13) and rebounds (9). He hit two 3-pointers in the game, doubling his season total. The Wildcats hit the glass hard, pulling down 14 offensive rebounds, and led by as much as 18 points in the second half.
Those are the kinds of things that win tournament games.

UMaine's tournament losing streak is now six, including five straight one-and-dones. The last UMaine win and semifinal appearance was in 2005 when the Black Bears beat Boston U.

Sean McNally had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Terrance Mitchell added 11 points. Junior Bernal, in his final appearance in a Maine uniform, had six points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The Black Bears who beat UNH by 14 and 19 during the regular season, finish 19-11.


MattT said...

The last few games Maine seemed too reliant on McLemore. The other guys couldn't find their shots within the offense. The defensive intensity was not evident and in turn, not as much transition offense. The loss has to sting as I'm sure the guys wanted another crack at Vermont. Were they looking ahead? Plenty to build on for next year. Big question: Who will replace Junior? 1. The committee of Rogers and Martin (or) 2. An impact junior college player (or) 3. A freshman like a Manigat or Rivers that might be ready from day 1.

JD said...

OR boswell??

who knows if he's back but he's certainly a very talented offensive player, perhaps like an eddie house type backup point guard??

Dan King said...

No, had nothing to do with being too reliant on any one player. Black Bears got many, many, good looks down in the post and came up empty on quite a few of them. It just wasn't as good an offensive performance as they had established they were capable of. Defensively, Bears kept UNH to 41 percent, which isn't bad. But when you're not scoring yourself, it's harder to get your defense set at the other end. Intensity on both sides was evident. UNH played better, period. Also, the injury to Chandler Rhoads moved Alvin Abreu to point guard where he's got the ball in his hands a lot more. Since that happened, UNH had knocked off Stony Brook and then Maine. Don't expect any more, though. Tyrone Conley broke his foot late in the game last night.

Old Town Logger said...

They didn't hit free throws (except for Mitchell) and that doesn't help. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to have someone hound McLemore and make it tough for their offense. To answer Matt, Rogers proved he can handle the ball and pushes the ball up the court. Bernal's not as much of a threat to shoot from the outside and teams all year let him out there. At some point in the season they should have played Rogers and Bernal together in shifts instead of always subbing each other. Bernal is a slasher and would have benefitted from someone else distributing the ball. It was a good season, and although a disappointing finish, it was one game. There's no reason to believe they won't be at least as good next year.

Dan King said...

UNH missed a ton of free throws, too. The missed FTs that hurt UMaine were the five or so (including two front ends) that would have tempered UNH's burst in the first half. Instead of stopping the bleeding, the UMaine scoring drought continued. Overall, though, both teams were not good from the foul line. The only thing UNH did a little differently than the last game on G-Mac was they had a second guy hedge a little bit more, helping the primary defender who was on him. Black Bears did run their offense decently at times, but when you get the ball in deep and come away empty repeatedly, it magnifies everything else.