The University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball team hasn’t been able to get it going offensively this season. The Beavers are averaging 49.7 points per game and shooting 33 percent from the field.

One thing’s for sure: Those averages should go up after Friday’s game.

At 5:30 p.m. Friday, UMF opens its North Atlantic Conference schedule against Castleton. The Spartans run the Grinnell-style offense, which was invented by Colby graduate David Arsenault, now the coach at Grinnell College in Iowa.

The Grinnell style includes lot of 3-pointers, high scores, and constant 5-for-5 substitutions. Arsenault’s team, for example, is averaging 134.0 ppg through four games, led by Griffin Lentsch, who is scoring 42.2 ppg and averaging 32 field goal attempts in less than 24 minutes per night.

Castleton hasn’t perfected the system yet. The Spartans are 1-2 and are scoring “only” 95.7 ppg. They are also taking nearly 50 3-pointers per game.

“We’ve got to work on being able to pass and catch at a frantic pace,” UMF coach Dick Meader said. “It’s more of a one-game thing, just being able to, if we have a 2-on-1 — finish the 2-on-1, not throwing it out of bounds and now we’re 5-on-5 on defense.”

Castleton also will play Thomas, at 1 p.m. Saturday, and faces Husson on Feb. 4.

UMF and Castleton finished in a tie for fourth place in the North Atlantic Conference preseason coaches poll. Meader said it’s important to remember what Arsenault said about playing against the Grinnell system.

“His comment’s always been that teams that just play against them have better success, rather than teams trying to slow it down,” Meader said.

UMF’s leading scorer at this point is freshman Joe McCloskey, a 6-foot-7 left-handed forward from Howland. McCloskey also is leading the Beavers in minutes played (27.7 per game) and rebounds (6.7). Meader said he would have preferred not to start a freshman so soon, but McCloskey made that decision for him.

“(He) really has forced us to play him a lot, and even start him,” Meader said. “He’s given us no choice. He’s really done a good job.”

***

For one central Maine player, football season is still going strong. Maranacook graduate Cory Palmer is a freshman wide receiver at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Palmer is listed at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds. He has played in four games this season, catching two passes for 19 yards and returning one punt for five yards.

Not being able to break in to a regular role on Saint Xavier’s offense isn’t exactly a thing of shame. The Cougars are averaging 47.1 points per game and have a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver. Starting quarterback Jimmy Coy has thrown for 3,758 yards and 38 touchdowns this season. In 13 games, the Cougars have scored 80 touchdowns and kicked 20 field goals.

Saint Xavier (12-1) plays Marian University of Indiana on Saturday in the NAIA Football Championship Series semifinals.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

 

 


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