Men’s Basketball Opens AE Play with Home Series vs. Maine – Hartfordhawks.com

GAME 6 | HARTFORD HAWKS (3-2, 0-0 AE) vs. MAINE BLACK BEARS (0-0, 0-0 AE)
 
DATE | TIME: Saturday, Dec. 19 | 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Chase Arena at Reich Family Pavilion (West Hartford, Conn.)
COVERAGE: Live Stats | ESPN3 (Jeff Dooley & Adam Finkelstein)

GAME 7 | HARTFORD HAWKS vs. MAINE BLACK BEARS
 
DATE | TIME: Sunday, Dec. 20 | 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Chase Arena at Reich Family Pavilion (West Hartford, Conn.)
COVERAGE: Live Stats | ESPN3 (Jeff Dooley & Adam Finkelstein)

TWITTER: @HartfordMBB | #FlyHigh | #AEHoops
GAME NOTES: Hartford | Maine

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — After concluding its shortened non-conference schedule with a 3-2 record, the Hartford men’s basketball team begins its unconventional America East slate this weekend, when it hosts Maine. The Hawks ride a three-game winning streak into the series, which features back-to-back dates inside Reich Family Pavilion with the Black Bears on Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) on ESPN3.

 
 

A SEASON UNLIKE ANY OTHER

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 season will look unlike any other
  • Numerous protocols and precautions have been put into place to protect the health and safety of teams
  • Hartford will begin the season without fans inside Reich Family Pavilion
  • The Hawks had just five non-conference games to prepare for the start of America East plays on Dec. 19

 

INSIDE THE SERIES

  • The Hawks have done battle with the Black Bears more than any other opponent in their Division I history, as the two teams will play for the 79th and 80th time this weekend
  • Hartford has won 16 of the past 20 games and owns a 46-32 advantage in the series
  • The Black Bears took the final meeting in 2019-20 to end the Hawks’ five-game winning streak in the series
  • Last season marked the first time since 2016-17 that Hartford did not complete the regular-season sweep of Maine

 
LAST TIME THEY MET

  • Hartford and Maine split a pair of regular-season games in 2019-20
  • Flowers scored a game-high 15 points to lift the Hawks past the Black Bears, 55-49, in the first meeting in Orono (Feb. 2)
  • Despite a 22-point effort from former grad student Malik Ellison, Maine topped Hartford, 71-65, in the regular-season finale (March 3)
  • Carter dished out a program-record 13 assists in the defeat
  • Flowers averaged 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds last season against Maine

 
SCOUTING MAINE

  • Maine takes the court for the first time in 2020-21 this weekend after having its first five games of the season canceled due to COVID-19
  • It’s a rebuilding year for the Black Bears, as they lost 64 percent of their offense — including their top three scorers — from a 2019-20 team that went 9-22
  • Larsson Vilgot is Maine’s top returning scorer after averaging 6.3 points over 25 games and 23 starts
  • Nedeljko Prijovic departed the program last month after a 2019-20 campaign that saw him rank third with 10.7 points per game
  • Prior to his departure, he was Maine’s top returning scorer
  • Stephane Ingo, who ranked third in the conference with 1.3 blocks per game a year ago, averaged 11.8 rebounds in his final five games of 2019-20  

 

LAST TIME OUT

  • Junior Hunter Marks had 10 points and 11 rebounds to carry Hartford to a 67-54 win over Fairfield inside Reich Family Pavilion on Dec. 7
  • The Hawks used a 10-0 run in the second half to turn a five-point deficit into a lead they would not relinquish down the stretch
  • Grad transfer Traci Carter added 15 points and a season-best six assists in the win

 

BACK TO DECEMBER

  • The Hawks and Black Bears’ Dec. 19 meeting marks the first time America East play will start before Christmas since 2014-15
  • Hartford is 5-8 in pre-Christmas contests since joining the Division I ranks in 1984-85

 

NON-CONFERENCE NOTEBOOK

  • The Hawks withstood a lot of adversity in their non-conference slate, which featured five contests, including two against high-major programs
  • Hartford opened 2020-21 against BIG EAST member UConn on the road and fell by just 12 points in the first meeting between the two schools since 2008
  • The Hawks then took on #12 Villanova inside Mohegan Sun’s #Bubbleville on ESPN2 in a game that was scheduled less than 48 hours before tipoff
  • Hartford faced a non-conference opponent (Fairfield) twice in the same season outside of any tournaments for the first time in program history
  • It was the first time since 2013-14 that the Hawks played a non-conference opponent   twice in the same season, when they played Holy Cross as part of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tournament (Nov. 24) before they played host to the Crusaders 13 days later (Dec. 7)
  • The unconventional nature of the 2020-21 non-conference slate resulted in the Hawks playing four games within a seven-day stretch, including two within 27 hours of each other (Villanova – Dec. 1, Fairfield – Dec. 2)

 

MID-MAJOR DOMINANCE

  • After going up against a pair of high-major opponents in UConn and then-ranked #12 Villanova to start the season, the Hawks rebounded and ended their non-conference slate on a strong note
  • Hartford took care of business against three Connecticut mid-major teams, defeating bookending a victory against Central Connecticut with two wins over Fairfield
  • The Hawks posted an average margin of victory of 11 points in those three wins
  • Defending the three-point line was a key factor in those wins, as Hartford held those opponents to a .270 clip (17-of-63)
  • Hartford also outrebounded its in-state foes by an average of 2.3 boards per game
  • Flowers was outstanding in the Hawks’ final three non-conference games, averaging 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals

 

CLEAN SWEEP

  • Last week, senior guard Austin Williams and freshman Thomas Webley swept the America East’s weekly awards (Dec. 7) when they were named the Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week, respectively
  • They led Hartford to a 1-1 week, which included a win vs. local rival Central Connecticut
  • The sweep of the weekly awards was Hartford’s first in 15 years, when Kenny Adeleke (’06) and Joe Zeglinski (’11), were named Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively, on Dec. 5, 2005

 

MEET MY BETTER HALF

  • Hartford is playing significantly better in the second half so far this season
  • The Hawks average 8.6 more points after halftime, scoring 36.6 points in the second half to 28.0 in the first
  • They have had a hotter hand from long range later in the game as well, converting on 38% of their threes, up from 21% in the opening half

 

AUSTIN’S POWERS

  • Williams, who sat out the 2019-20 campaign due to NCAA transfer regulations, has added experience to the roster this season
  • Making starts in all five games, he has scored in double figures three times, most recently netting 15 points on a 6-for-7 performance from the field vs. Central Connecticut (Dec. 4)
  • Adding 10 rebounds against the Blue Devils, Williams compiled Hartford’s first double-double of the season
  • His quick first step creates high-percentage shots, which is reflected in his .556 shooting percentage (20-for-36) from the field, which is second in the America East
  • He was named the league’s Player of the Week on Dec. 7 after averaging 12.7 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds against then-ranked #12 Villanova and Central Connecticut

 

NEXT ON TAP

  • Hartford heads to New Hampshire for its first America East road series of 2020-21
  • The series, which features back-to-back games with the Wildcats, begins on Sunday, Dec. 27, with tipoff set for 1 p.m.
  • Monday’s game is also slated for a 1 p.m. start

For an inside look at Hartford men’s basketball, stay with HartfordHawks.com for updates and follow the team on social media: Twitter | Instagram

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