Basketball Scouting Report: Maine

The Army men's basketball team is playing its only game in a 14-day stretch on Friday evening in Orono, Maine. When a team deals with an extended layoff, how will it be able to maintain focus? The Black Knights must be able to establish an early rhythm and enable rested legs to overcome rusted instincts.


MAINE AT-A-GLANCE

The Black Bears haven't started very strong with a 1-7 record to date. Given their preseason expectations, it shouldn't get much better for them. Maine was picked eighth out of nine teams in the preseason America East Conference poll.

Maine is a very young team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores. It may be a year or two away from being competitive at the Division I level.

Starting Lineup

Guard – DimitryAkanda-Coronel –
Sophomore, 6-4, 190; 2013-14: 15.2 points per game, 3 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game

Despite being the team's second leading scorer, Akanda-Coronel has struggled with efficiency. He is almost entirely a scorer. Given his low field goal percentage and three-point shooting rate, he's a guy who is willing to play into the hands of a defense, taking shots that aren't always the best ones in a given situation.

Forward – ZarkoValjarevic – Junior, 6-4, 210; 2013-14: 13.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.4 apg

The lone forward on the team, Valjarevic spends a ton of time on the perimeter. Two out of every three shots for him come from three-point range, a major reason for his low rebound totals. Army needs to make him beat the Black Knights off the dribble.

Guard – Shaun Lawton – Sophomore, 6-5, 190; 2013-14:11.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5 apg

At five assists per game with an assist-turnover ratio that's nearly two-to-one, Lawton tries to get the other Black Bears involved and is pesky on the defensive end as well.

Guard – Xavier Pollard – Junior, 6-3, 190; 2013-14: 16.6 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.4 apg

Pollard leads Maine in points, rebounds and steals, showing the versatility he brings to the lineup. He's one of the key guys to watch out for on Maine's roster.

Guard – Garet Beal – Freshman, 6-6, 215; 2013-14: 7.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg

Beal is the lone freshman starter on the team, and he has struggled in the first month of the season, something you'd be expect at times from a first-year player. His shooting hasn't been sharp, and he doesn't really make up for it in other areas of competition – not yet, at least.

Keys to the Game

1) Don't be afraid to be aggressive.
Maine is not strong as a team from the foul line, shooting 58 percent. Army can afford to be over-aggressive on defense knowing Maine struggles to hit freebies.

2) Patience on offense. Army is much more efficient as an offense than Maine. If Army isn't sloppy and avoids giving Maine easy baskets, that should go a long way towards locking up a win on Friday.

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