College Basketball

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Maine (5-4) at (11) Connecticut (7-2)

Tuesday, December 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: XL Center (16,294) -- Hartford, Connecticut. Television: Local. Home Record: Maine 2-1, UConn 6-0. Away Record: Maine 3-3, UConn 0-0. Neutral Record: Maine 0-0, UConn 1-2. Conference Record: Maine 0-0, UConn 0-0. Series Record: Connecticut leads, 80-16.

GAME NOTES: The 11th-ranked Connecticut Huskies are heavily favored in tonight's non-conference home clash against the Black Bears of Maine.

On Sunday, Maine was scheduled to meet Princeton, but that game was postponed due to inclement weather. Therefore, the Black Bears have been idle since December 13th when they knocked off Kennesaw State in a 57-51 final. That victory was the second in a row for Maine, which is 5-4 overall.

UConn has won three of its last four games and enters tonight's tilt with a 7-2 overall record. On Sunday, the Huskies played strong defense in a 60-51 decision over UCF, enabling the squad to get back on the winning track after a heart-breaking three-point loss to Kentucky in the previous outing. Considering the fact that the only other loss this season came against Duke, it is obvious that UConn hasn't played down to the level of lesser opponents.

The Huskies own a commanding 80-16 series lead over the Black Bears.

Maine is scoring 70.6 ppg this season while limiting opponents to 67.9 ppg. The Black Bears are led by Gerald McLemore, who is netting 16.7 ppg on the strength of his 45.6 percent shooting from three-point range. Sean McNally adds 11.3 ppg to the mix, and he is pulling down 8.3 rpg. Terrance Mitchell rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 10.1 ppg. In the victory over Kennesaw State last time out, McLemore scored 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. Troy Barnies added 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Black Bears, who connected on only 35.1 percent of their field goal attempts. An 8-of-18 effort from the foul line was also concerning, but Maine held Kennesaw State to 29.7 percent field goal efficiency, key to the win.

UConn is scoring 73.3 ppg this season while holding opponents to 63.4 ppg on 36.5 percent shooting from the field. Jerome Dyson is netting 19.3 ppg on 38 percent field goal efficiency, and he has dished out 44 assists. Stanley Robinson provides 16.0 ppg and 7.1 rpg, and he is shooting 53.8 percent from the field. Kemba Walker checks in with 14.2 ppg and 6.0 apg, and Gavin Edwards rounds out a foursome of double-digit scorers with 11.3 ppg. Edwards has blocked 33 shots as well to complement 6.6 rpg. In the nine-point victory over UCF, Robinson scored 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Dyson added 16 points for the Huskies, who limited the Knights to 34.9 percent field goal efficiency while outscoring them by a 17-5 margin at the foul line.

UConn is the obvious choice, as it figures to have this game well in hand by intermission. Balanced scoring and strong defense will once again be the key to success for Jim Calhoun's squad.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 87, Maine 58

12/22 10:37:46 ET

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