University of Maine junior Andrew Fleming will be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a horrific spill while attempting a breakaway dunk during Saturday night’s America East men’s basketball game at Stony Brook.
Fleming broke his left wrist and is in concussion protocol as a result of the incident, when he was contacted from behind by Stony Brook sophomore center Jeff Otchere while airborne.
Otchere was charged with a Flagrant 2 foul on the play, which meant an automatic disqualification from the game.
“It was very troubling,” UMaine coach Richard Barron said.
Fleming, a 6-foot-7 forward who was a Bangor Daily News All-Maine first-team performer while at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, has averaged 13.8 points per game this winter while ranking among America East leaders in seven other statistical categories.
Fleming is second in minutes played (36.5 mpg), sixth in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.478), eighth in assists (3.1 apg), ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1) and steals (1.2 spg), and 10th in blocked shots (1.2 bpg).
“He’s done for the season,” Barron said. “He’ll likely have surgery to repair his broken [wrist], and he’s in concussion protocol as well.”
The play happened just over two minutes into the second half and began when Fleming stole a Stony Brook inbounding pass near midcourt. He gained possession and quickly dribbled toward the basket with the 6-11 Otchere — the leading shot blocker in America East this season at 2.5 per game — in pursuit.
The left-handed Fleming, knowing Otchere was right behind him, went up for the two-handed dunk and Otchere made contact as Fleming was in contact with the rim, forcing the Black Bear standout off balance. He subsequently landed on both the side of his head and his two hands.
“It was awful,” Barron said.
Fleming was forced to leave the game, and Stony Brook went on to post a 81-53 victory.
America East officials reviewed the play and let the Flagrant 2 ruling stand without additional penalty.
“The conference office conducted a thorough review of the play, which we do for all Flagrant 2 fouls,” said Sean Tainsh, America East assistant commissioner for content strategy. “This includes an examination of all available video and consultation with our coordinator of officials and the officiating crew for additional input and context.
“After our review of this specific incident, it was determined that the Flagrant 2 personal foul, which includes an automatic ejection, was appropriately called. It was also determined that while the result of the play was unfortunate, it was not intentional; therefore, no further action was warranted.”
Barron did not want to comment on whether he thought there should be additional penalties.
“Andrew’s progressing slowly, and and we’re grateful that it wasn’t worse than it was,” he said.
Fleming becomes the second UMaine player to lose playing time to a flagrant foul this season.
Freshman point guard Terion Moss of Portland sat out three games after being elbowed in the temple during a Feb. 6 game at the University of Vermont.
Ironically, Moss returned to the Black Bears’ lineup at Stony Brook and contributed five points, one rebound, one assist and a steal in 30 minutes of playing time against the Seawolves on Saturday night.
UMaine (5-23 overall, 3-10 in America East) is scheduled to resume play Wednesday night against UMass Lowell (14-15, 6-8) at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Game time is 7 p.m.
His 38 points in that game were the most by a Black Bear since Errick Greene scored 45 points on Dec. 11, 2001, against Norfolk State.
Fleming made 18 of 20 shots from the field to tie the America East record for field goals in a game with fellow Black Bear Nate Fox, who set the record on Dec. 31, 1998, against Sacred Heart, as well as Jameel Warney of Stony Brook and Taylor Coppenrath of Vermont.
In addition, Fleming became the first player in the past 20 seasons to shoot 90 percent from the field on at least 20 field-goal attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Of his two missed shots in that game, one was Fleming’s lone 3-point attempt of the game and he scored after grabbing the rebound of the second miss.