MAINE vs. HARTFORD
Time, site: Thursday, 7 p.m., Chase Family Arena, West Hartford, Conn.
Records: Maine 14-9 (8-3 America East), Hartford 7-16 (4-6)
Series, last meeting: Hartford leads 29-27, Hartford 61-59 on 1/5/11
Key players: Maine — 6-7 F Troy Barnies (14.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, .529 FG pct.), 6-3 G Gerald McLemore (13.4 ppg, .386 3-pt. FG pct., .837 FT pct.), 6-3 G Terrance Mitchell (9.7 ppg, .404 3-pt. FG pct.), 6-1 G Raheem Singleton (9.2 ppg, 4.0 apg), 6-7 F Murphy Burnatowski (7.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg), 6-7 F Alasdair Fraser (5.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, .531 FG pct.); Hartford — 6-0 G Joe Zeglinski (13.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 apg), 6-5 G/F Milton Burton (12.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.4 spg), 6-9 F/C Genesis Maciel (6.4 ppg), 6-6 F Anthony Minor (6.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg), 6-1 G Clayton Brothers (3.5 ppg)
Outlook: The Black Bears need to stop their losing streak at two if they hope to remain within striking distance of Vermont for the top spot in the league standings. UMaine is coming off Sunday’s 84-79 loss to UMBC, the second consecutive game in which it has allowed more than 80 points. The Bears know tightening up their defense is paramount if they wish to avenge the earlier home loss to the Hawks. Hartford has dropped four in a row, including Saturday’s 62-59 setback at Albany. The Hawks, who rank last in AE scoring at 57 ppg, have been without leading scorer and rebounder Morgan Sabia the last two games because of a knee injury. Maine is the top scoring (71.7 ppg) and shooting (.466 FG pct.) team in the league and should have a decided rebounding advantage.