Maine Black Bears (1-0, 0-0 American East)
Maryland Terrapins (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
Sun, Nov. 14
2 p.m. Comcast Center, College Park, Maryland
Black Bears: Gerald McLemore (11 ppg), Troy Barnies (16 ppg), Raheem Singleton (15 ppg)
The Black Bears return four starters from their 2009-2010 team that many experts predict should finish first in the American East Conference, which would translate into their first NCAA Tournament bid in school history.
The returnees are led by their 6-3 junior guard Gerald McLemore who averaged over 14 points last season en route to earning All-American East First Team honors. McLemores 102 three-pointers made were the second most in the nation.
Maines supporting cast includes senior forward-center Sean McNally, who averaged 10 points and seven rebounds a game as their primary force on the interior. Sophomore forward Murphy Burnatowski enters his second season after being named to the All-America East Rookie Team, and senior forward Troy Barnies is coming off a game against Utah Valley state where he led the team with 16 points.
The Black Bears sported the 19th-best defense in 2009, allowing opponents to shoot 39.5 percent from the field.
Their starters average 6-5 in height, compared to Terrapins who average 6-6. Aside from Jordan Williams, Maine can match up with the guards and forwards in terms of size.
After one game, the Black Bears rank 38th in the nation in field goal percentage. They shot .520 against Utah Valley State in a 71-66 OT win Friday night.
In their overtime victory, Maine had just eight assists; in contrast, the team turned the ball over 12 times, including five from their starting guards. They shot a mere 14.3 percent from long-range and were outrebounded.
The toughest test of 2009 for Maine was a contest against Big East power Syracuse, in which they fell to Orange in convincing fashion.
The Black Bears averaged 64 points per game, shot .407 from the field and made about a third of their three-pointers. They averaged 36 boards per game, less than one more than their opponents. They were also shaky in terms of ball control; they owned .9 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Matching up with the Terps
Jordan Williams will be the tallest player on the court Sunday, so establishing the offense through him once again with favor the Terrapins. Williams is coming off a career-best 26 points against the College of Charleston, and is averaging the third-most points per game in the conference early on.
Marylands 10 steals per game should favor the team too, as the Black Bears are turnover-prone. Conversely, the Terps have turned the ball more often than any other team in the ACC in their first two games, which favors Ted Woodwards defensive team.
Keys to the Game
Improve free throw percentage – Maryland has collectively shot .644 from the free-throw stripe, compared to 2009 when the team shot 72 percent.
The Terps shot 29 percent from distance against the Cougars, and allowed Andrew Goudelock to nail down five threes. Shooting from and defending the perimeter needs to improve.
Sean Mosley and Dino Gregory are coming off out-of-character games. Mosley had one bucket versus the Cougars, while Gregory was held scoreless due to foul trouble.
PeShon Howards heroics with 4.6 seconds remaining is encouraging, but the Terps will cannot rely on the freshman to do it all at point guard. Look for more of Adrian Bowie (nine points, three assists) and Terrell Stoglin (two points, two assists) to see action to allow Howard to become a scoring threat (14 points, four assists).
Television and Radio
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: WJZ-FM (105.7), WJZ-AM (1300), ESPN980