After 46 days of rehabilitation and babying a rib he’d broken in a game against UCLA, Andy Bedard sat back after Saturday’s win over Hartford and said he finally felt like the healing process was nearing an end.
Tonight Bedard and his more-or-less healthy ribcage will likely surpass the 1,000-point mark for his career when the Black Bears face New Hampshire. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Durham, N.H.
With a win the Bears would establish a school record and win 20 games for the first time (the 1993-94 Bears won 20 but were forced to forfeit two wins because an ineligible player participated in the games).
“It’s definitely doing a lot better,” Bedard said after scoring 16 points and dishing out 12 assists in a dominant effort against the Hawks.
“Last game and [this game] were the first two games where I didn’t really notice it or feel it,” he said.
Bedard, who takes a 12.8 ppg average into tonight’s contest, has scored 995 points, including 241 in two seasons at Boston College before transferring to UMaine. He’s also averaging 7.3 assists a contest. With five points he’d become the 22nd player in UMaine history to score 1,000.
UMaine coach John Giannini said the remarkable thing about Bedard’s performance over the past seven weeks has been his ability to play solid basketball without a full practice schedule. Bedard has missed only two games with the injury.
“One of the things that really hurts him is that we’re very cautious with him in practice,” Giannini said. “We don’t want him to get an elbow in practice and be out for the rest of the season.”
Ever since he sustained the injury on Dec. 21, Bedard has been held out of live practice drills.
He shoots, runs and participates in “skeleton” offensive drills without live defenders, but when the Bears scrimmage, he either stands on the sideline or hops onto a stationary bike and starts pedaling.
Giannini admitted that the regimen has taken its toll on Bedard – but not enough to knock him out of the lineup.
“We’re so much better with him in the game even when he’s at 70 percent because of his decisions and his toughness,” Giannini said.
And with the return of a healthy Bedard to the lineup, the Bears should be ready to make a solid stretch run.
“When he’s at his best physically, which he [hasn’t been] a lot this year, he’s second to none,” Giannini said.
Delaware to keep men’s tourney
America East athletic directors chose not to tamper with a good thing Thursday afternoon as they awarded the University of Delaware the men’s basketball championship for the next two seasons.
The first three rounds of the tournament have been held at Delaware’s Carpenter Center each year since the 1995-96 season. The league’s championship game will still be played at the home site of the highest-seeded remaining team.
Delaware’s bid was accepted over a competing bid from Hofstra, which opened a new basketball facility earlier this year.
Last season standing-room-only crowds of more than 5,200 people packed three of the five tournament sessions.