Thursday, January 27, 2011

Halfway to a title

The halfway pole of the America East season has arrived with the Black Bears in front by one game. There's quite a bit of ground to cover on the regular season track, but UMaine has worked its way to the pole position.

The Black Bears have done it with sterling (and stirring) play from forward Troy Barnies and contributions all up and down the roster. The defense displayed last season has once again come to the forefront and has become the program's calling card.

During a pre-game interview Tuesday, New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion said if the Player of the Year vote were held right now, Barnies would have his vote. It would take a bit of research, but it seems like a safe bet it's been a while since a senior who hadn't been selected to any post-season honors previously, went on to win Player of the Year in his final go-round.

If you are wondering, only two Maine players have ever won the league's top individual honor and you have to go back to the first and fourth years of the conference's 31-year existence to find them:

Rufus Harris in 1980 (he shared the award with Holy Cross' Ron Perry); and Jeff Cross in 1983.

The second half of the America East race begins with a pair of treacherous roadies (Binghamton and BU). The Black Bears can solidify their grip on the top spot with a couple wins.

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