The UMaine men’s basketball team solved two of their major problems of the season tonite against UNH by reducing the use of the 3 as they only took 33.3% of their FGA’s as 3’s compared to their season average of 43.4% going into the game as they were averaging 25.6 3 point attempts per game so they reduced their 3 attempts for the game by 6.6 3s or 25%.
They also solved playing time problem by reducing the number of players receiving double figure playing minutes from 12 to just 6 which allowed the better players to stay on the floor which is a 50% addition which increase the minutes for the better players. This allowed the best players to stay on the floor and not take themselves to the game but allowed them to let the game come to them, thus they played more from the shoulders up than from the shoulders down in their previous 19 D-1 games as they made better basketball decisions, had better shot selection, below game average turnovers with 13 after averaging 15.3 coming in, only had 15 fouls compared to averaging 19.4 per game and played much better man-to-man defense especially in the second half after giving up 40 in the first half and held UNH to just 28 in the second half.
Double figure minutes played: Calixe 39, White 37, Araujo 34, Ilija S.28, Fleming 26, and Lowndes 34.
Maine played very well in a nip and tuck game. Maine had an excellent first half as they led UNH 42-40 having the best first half of the season against D-1 opponents and especially against a conference opponent.
Trailing by two 68-66 with 23 seconds to go Araon Calixe who was big all night for Maine hit a clutch three pointer to give Maine the lead with 23 seconds to go and they stopped UNH from scoring on the final offensive possession of the game as they won their 2nd conference game of the season 69-68 over 3rd place UNH who now goes to 4-3 and 8-13as Maine moves to 2-5 in conference play and 3-17 against D-1 teams
Calixe finished with a career high 24 points and 3 assists, Lowndes and Fleming each had 15 points. Lowndes was 3 for 3 for 3’s, Araujo had 5 assists and White had 13 rebounds to help the Bears to a well deserved win.
Ogwuche paced UNH with 19, Leissner had 18 and Hopkins aded 10 points.
Maine shot 25 for 57 from the floor for 43% while UNH went 28-58 for 45.1%.
Maine improved it’s 3 point shooting percentage going into the game at 29.1 by shooting 7 for 19 for 36.8% to UNH’s 9 for 28 for 32.7%
Maine also improved their percentage of the number of 3’s taken by reducing them from 46.6% to just 33.3% in tonight’s win as they only took 19 3 attempts out of 57 FGA.s while UNH took 28 3’s of 58 FGA’s for 48.3% of their FGA’s as 3’s.
Maine out rebounded UNH 36-33.
Assists Maine had 9 and UNH had 11.
Turnovers Maine 13 UNH 11.
Maine out scored UNH in the paint 30-18.
Maine’s bench had 15 points UNH 16 points.
If Maine can continue to do what they did tonight by reducing the number 3 attempts so that they shoot a higher 3 point percentage and by just playing 6 players double figure minutes until 6’6″ senor forward Ilker Er gets back (then play 7) who was out with an injury tonight and did not play then Maine could finish as high as 4th to get that all important home quarter-final tournament date.
It was very good to see the coaching staff make these two needed changes and they played tonight the way that their talent should be able to play.
As well as the players played tonight I give this win to the coaching staff for the two needed adjustments they had their team do tonight.