Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ouch, that hurts

Sunday's loss at home to eighth-place UMBC hurts. Real bad.

Only a week ago, the Black Bears were riding high, a game up on Vermont, in first place with a win over the Catamounts in hand.

After Sunday's meltdown in which UMaine gave up a 17-point lead and surrendered 51 points in the second half, the Black Bears are a game behind Vermont in the loss column. Quite simply, UMaine cannot afford a stumble prior to the Feb. 16 home date with Vermont.

If the Black Bears don't take care of business against Hartford and Stony Brook on the road this week, the Vermont game becames irrelevant. Wow, how fast the outlook can change.

More worrisome than the standings, however, is UMaine's once stout defense. In three straight games, the Black Bears have given up 74, 88 and 84 points. And two of those games were agaist the eighth- and ninth-place teams in America East.

Maine needs to rediscover its defensive mindset. Preferably Thursday at Hartford.

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