Till Gloger perfectly encapsulates the current state of the University of Maine men’s basketball team.

He is efficient on offense, deficient on defense, and well aware that he needs to improve the latter.

The 6-foot-8 junior leads the Black Bears with 11.2 points per game on 54.5 percent shooting. With Marko Pirovic sidelined by a foot injury, Gloger is also the team’s top rebounder at 3.9 per contest.

But Maine is 1-12 entering Wednesday night’s game with Vermont at the Portland Expo, a game meant to showcase the state’s only Division I basketball team in its most populous city.

“I think we have to work on our defense if we want to improve and win games. Our offense works. We have a lot of assists and we move the ball well,” Gloger said.

“I personally have to improve a lot rebounding and defending man-to-man. Sometimes I’m late recovering from screens. My footwork, my speed, I have to get faster.”


Maine is scoring 63.5 points per game, but allowing 80.5. The Black Bears are prone to fading in and out of games, most recently losing their America East Conference opener at Albany, 80-56, despite trailing by only six points at halftime.

“Mentally, we still have a long way to go. We hit a wall at some point where it became really hard and we weren’t seeing the results that we wanted. And it became harder and harder to fight through it, and some of our competitive spirit got lost,” said Maine Coach Bob Walsh.

“What’s tough about it is you’ve got to see some success to fully believe in it. How do you get there until you get there? It takes a lot of time.”

Maine has been without Pirovic, a sophomore forward who is the team’s most energetic player, for the past five games. In December, junior forward Ethan Mackey decided to leave the team to focus on his academics, with the goal of graduating this summer. He was averaging 4.3 points in 12.9 minutes per game.

That makes it imperative that Gloger continue to provide an offensive spark, while working to improve other areas of his game.

The native of Bochum, Germany, is playing only 26.2 minutes per game, limited by his conditioning.


He has an uncanny knack for scoring in the post, using either hand while showing no fear of combating larger opponents.

“He uses his body well to get position. He’s a natural finisher. The ability to finish is more natural than it is taught,” Walsh said. “We’ve got to get him more shots. When you can score close to the basket, it makes the guards better. It gets Zarko (Valjarevic) better shots.”

Gloger said he worked hard over the summer to lose some weight to improve his stamina, and also on the footwork needed to score in the post. Basketball fans in the Portland area have a chance to see that for themselves.

“It’s important to spread the program,” Gloger said. “It always helps to play great competition, too (Vermont is 5-8, but went 15-1 in America East play last season). I’m really looking forward to it.”

Walsh, in his first season at Maine, made it a priority to book a game in Portland. He was looking for a date during the school’s winter break so that his players wouldn’t miss class time while making an extra trip away from campus.

“We want to be the state’s team and a ton of our fans are in that area,” Walsh said. “We have great fans, but the geography of the state of Maine is they’re spread out over a long stretch of land.

“Our guys will be excited about the energy of our fan base down there. There’ll be a different buzz for that game, for sure.”

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