June 19, 2018
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UMaine’s Fraser, Edwards, Allison claim America East basketball honors

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. — Three University of Maine players were recognized for their accomplishments Friday during the America East Conference men’s basketball awards reception.

Black Bears junior Alasdair Fraser and sophomore Justin Edwards were chosen for the all-league second team, while senior Mike Allison earned a spot on the all-defensive team.

Stony Brook swept the major individual honors as Tommy Brenton was named the player of the year and also earned defensive player of the year for the second year in a row. Freshman Jameel Warney was chosen rookie of the year and Seawolves coach Steve Pikiell is the coach of the year.

The All-America East First Team consists of seniors Mike Black of Albany and SBU’s Brenton, junior Brian Voelkel of Vermont and D.J. Irving of Boston University, and Hartford sophomore Mark Nwakamma.

Edwards, a 6-foot-3 guard from Whitby, Ontario, accomplished a rare feat this season for a UMaine men’s basketball player.

The versatile guard led America East in scoring with 16.7 points per game, tying Binghamton’s Jordan Reed for the honor. In doing so, he becomes the first Black Bear since Dean Smith of Dover-Foxcroft to lead the league in scoring.

Smith averaged 19.1 ppg during the 1989-90 season.

Edwards’ average also is the lowest for a scoring champion in conference history. The previous low was 18.8 ppg (twice), the last time by Albany’s Jamar Wilson during the 2006-07 campaign.

Edwards, who excels with his open-court play, also contributed 5.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and a league-best 1.9 steals per game while playing an average of 32.7 minutes.

Fraser, a 6-8 forward from Falkirk, Scotland, was again among America East’s most dependable big men. He ranked seventh in scoring (13.7 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (8.2 rpg).

He also was third in blocked shots (1.5 bpg), fifth in field-goal percentage (.491) and sixth in minutes played (33.4 mpg).

Allison, a 6-9 senior from Lynden, Ontario, was an all-defensive choice for the second year in a row. He led the conference in blocked shots (46) for the second straight season, averaging 1.6 per contest.

He also averaged 6.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Bears mired in tourney drought

It is no secret UMaine finds itself mired in an extended period of postseason futility under coach Ted Woodward.

The Bears have not won a league tournament game since a quarterfinal victory over Boston University in 2006.

This season, UMaine faces tourney host Albany, a team it has not previously met during the postseason. Though it would seem the Great Danes have a big advantage playing at home, America East history doesn’t bear that out.

Since 2000, none of the men’s teams that have hosted the first two or three rounds of the championship has gone on to win the league title. In fact, only seven times in 13 years has the host even made it to the semifinals.

The odds improve for the team that eventually hosts the championship game a week later, but those programs have claimed only seven titles in the last 13 seasons.

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