Coming off Sunday’s 84-79 home loss to UMBC, the UMaine men’s basketball team realizes it must get back to the task of getting better.
Coach Ted Woodward’s Bears have lost two straight and have settled into second place in the America East standings.
“It’s the second half of conference play, so everyone’s stepping their game up, everyone’s intensity is sky-high right now,” said UMaine junior guard Gerald McLemore. “We’ve just got to match our opponents’ intensity, (players No.) 1 through 13, not just a couple guys here and there, which we’re capable of doing — which we will do.”
UMaine (14-9 overall, 8-3 AE) hasn’t had any significant problems at the offensive end. However, the team’s defensive efforts have been inconsistent and not as effective of late.
Success on that end encompasses not only intensity, but the ability of everyone on the floor to play together.
“Obviously, we have to get back to really locking down on the defensive end,” Woodward said. “That’s something that we’ve worked on.
“We need to get back to our defensive urgency, no question,” he added.
In spite of the losing streak, Woodward and the Bears remain confident about their ability to put it all together down the stretch heading into next month’s America East tournament at West Hartford, Conn.
That quest begins Thursday against the Hawks at the tourney site.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” Woodward said. “We recognize that we’ve got to certainly play better as we get to this part of February and, at the same time, we also recognize that a lot of our season is still in our hands and we’ve got to come back and fight through it and try to fix some of the problems we’ve got and see if we can go forward into Thursday and play better basketball.”
Baseball team picked second
The Maine baseball team was selected second in the 2011 America East preseason coaches poll released Monday. Maine received one first-place vote and 20 points overall.
Defending league champ Stony Brook finished first in the poll with five first-place votes and 25 points. Binghamton (18 points) was third, followed by Albany (13), Hartford (8) and UMBC (6).
Maine finished 34-22 last season and 17-7 in the league. The Bears return 14 letterwinners this season, including six starters in the field and four starting pitchers.
The Bears open the season with a four-game series at UNLV on Feb. 18 at 10 p.m. and play their home opener on April 1 against Bryant.