Orono, ME – The University of Maine men’s basketball team concludes their first road-trip to Florida with a stop at South Florida on Wednesday, Nov. 22.
DATE: Wednesday, Nov. 22
TIME: 7:00 P.M.
SITE: Tampa, FL
2023 RECORDS: Maine 3-3, 0-0 – South Florida, 2-1, 0-0
VIDEO: ESPN +
Last Time Out: The Black Bears concluded competing in the North Florida MTE Tournament, during which they had a 2-1 record, tying host North Florida for the best record in the tournament.
Maine defeated Northwestern State, 78-65 to begin their tournament run behind a career-high 19 points from AJ Lopez. Kellen Tynes (14), Ja’Shonté Wright-McLeish (14) and Peter Filipovity (11) rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Black Bears.
The Black Bears followed up their strong win on Thursday with another double-digit victory, this one over Presbyterian, 80-66. Filipovity poured in a career-high 19 points in the victory, with Tynes (18) and Lopez (17) all scoring in double-digits.
Maine concluded the tournament with a 67-58 loss against North Florida, where Tynes dropped 20-6-6 with four steals in the losing effort. The Black Bears forced 42 turnovers over the three-day tournament.
Kellen Tynes: One season ago, Kellen Tynes (Jr. – Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) became the first Black Bear in program history to be named a Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a National Semifinalist for Defensive Player of the Year and his numbers were above anyone else in the entire NCAA. Tynes led the country with 98 steals (excluding the NCAA Tournament) and his average of 3.27 steals per game also led the country and were the most in the NCAA in three years.
Tynes has come out to begin the season averaging 2.50 steals per contest, which leads the America East and is ranked 46th in the nation for that category. His 15 total steals are good for the 7th most steals in the NCAA.
Jaden Clayton: As a freshman in 2022-23, Clayton established himself as a reliable passer as the point guard for the new look Black Bears. Clayton ranked third in the America East with 3.9 assists per game, which was the third most in the conference and his 118 total assists were also the third most in the conference.
Clayton earned a spot on the All-Rookie Team in the America East as he also ranked second in the America East in total steals with 54, trailing only his teammate, Kellen Tynes. Clayton scored 6.9 points per contest last season on only 38.8% from the field, numbers he is looking to improve upon when he takes the floor as the starting point guard on opening night for the Black Bears.
Clayton has emerged as one of the most reliable point guards in the America East in the early part of the season as he is first in the America East in assist-to-turnover ratio and his 25 assists are good for 49th in the country in the early part of the season. His 12 steals on the season have him ranked 34th in the country and second in the America East, trailing only Tynes.
Peter Filipovity: A finalist for the America East Sixth Man of the Year, Filipovity took a big leap forward is in his first under Coach Markwood and his staff. His average points nearly doubled as he went from averaging 4.8 points in 2021-22 to 9.2 points per game in 2022-23. His rebounding numbers also increased by more than double as he averaged 5.7 last season, compared to 2.7 the season before.
Filipovity has found himself in the starting lineup to begin the 2023-24 season, which he is rewarding the decision by averaging 10.5 points per contest on 58.1% shooting, 4.0 reobunds and 0.8 steals per contest, all while only having committed two turnovers on the season. In a matchup against Prebyterian back on Nov. 17, Filipovity dropped a career-high 19 points on a nearly perfect shooting day from the field, making 7-of-8 attempts from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
Ja’Shonté Wright-McLeish: Wright-McLeish has come out of the gates hot for the Black Bears. He is shooting 54.3% from the field and a team-best 52.0% from behind the arc (13-for-25) across three games. He just surpassed 100-career three-pointers, becoming just the 20th Black Bear to achieve the feat.
He has made at least one three-pointer in every contest this season, hitting four in back-to-back contests against Merrimack (11/12) and Northwestern St. (11/16). He is averaging 1.50 steals per contest in the early going, joining Clayton and Tynes as a group that leads the 41st ranked team in NCAA for that category.
Program History against the South Florida: Maine is 0-2 all-time against South Florida, having not faced off against them since 1977-78.