Black Bears On Prowl

One game to go before the semester exam break. Providence is 6-2 and needs to take care of business against the 4-4 Maine Black Bears, before turning attention to academics and a week of practice.

Key Returnees:
Kevin Reed, SR, 6'2, G
Rashard Turner, SR, 5'11, G
Olli Ahvenniemi, SR, 6'10, C
Philippe Bofia, SO, 6'6, F
Chris Bruff, SR, 6'4, G
Christian Cavanaugh, SO, 6'10, F
Jon Sheets, SR, 6'0, G

Key Newcomers:
Junior Bernal, FR, 6'4, G
Mark Socoby, FR, 6'5, G
Jordan Cook, FR, 6'10, F
Sean Costigan, FR, 6'6, F

Last season:
12-16 (7-9 6th)

Hopes:
The big news for coach Ted Woodward is the return of Reed, a senior who sat out all of last season as a medical redshirt. Reed is already Maine's all-time leader in three pointers, can really shoot it, and rebounds well for his size. He's a preseason possibility for America East Player of the Year honors. In fact, the Black Bears have a lot of experience returning. If Bofia and Ahvenniemi can step up and provide production in the frontcourt, along with some of the younger players, Maine could surprise a few people… because the backcourt, with Reed, Turner and Sheets, should be among the best in the league.

Reality:
Maine enters the game with Providence with a 4-4 record. The Bears opened the season with three losses – to Harvard, Detroit and Idaho State – before beating St. Francis of NY and St. Joseph's of Vermont. They dropped a 55-43 decision to Robert Morris, and bounced back with a 68-65 win against Mount St. Mary's and a 68-58 win over N.J.I.T. Certainly, they've played no one of the caliber of the Friars. Freshman Bernal leads the scoring at 11.9 ppg, followed by Sheets at 11.8 ppg, Reed at 10.9, and Bofia at 10.1. Reed is the leading rebounder, at 6.6 rpg, followed by Bruff at 5.5 and Bofia at 5.3. As a team, Maine shoots 42%, 66% from the line and 33% from the arc, while averaging 66.6 ppg. Sheets has hit 22 three pointers, with Reed connecting on 18-58. The reality of the situation finds Reed struggling in his return so far, and as a result, Maine has struggled. The upside is that youngsters like Bernal and Socoby have played well.

Notes:
This will be PC's final game before the semester exam break… PC will next play on December 19 against Holy Cross… The Friars enter the game at 6-2, having dropped a tough game to #7 Florida… PC and Maine have met 8 times, with the Friars holding a 7-1 advantage… The one Maine win still rankles though, as the Bears shocked Providence 80-71 on November 21, 2000… In the last meeting, PC rolled 104-74 on December 21, 2004.

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