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The Atlantic Coast Conference is not the only college hoops we here at NGSC sports follow. The America East, a mid-major league, has plenty to offer during the season. So without further ado, here’s what the members of the conference have been doing.

The pre-season favorite is the Vermont Catamounts and with good reason. They possess a holiday tournament championship to their credit, winning the event in the Bahamas. They beat the likes of Bradley, Coastal Carolina, and Northern Kentucky while giving the Kentucky Wildcats all they could handle, before falling by four 73-69 in their season opener.

They are ranked #3 in the collegeinsider.com mid-major poll and received 64 first-place votes, in the preseason conference poll. They are led by two members of the preseason All-Conference team, Senior guard Trae Bell-Haynes, and Sophomore forward Anthony Lamb. Expectations are running high in Burlington, Vt. We shall see if the Cats can live up to them.

Another team off to a good start in the young year is the Albany Great Danes. Their 4-0 start is their best ever at the Division 1 level. Three of their four wins have come against teams that were picked either first or second in their respective conference’s preseason coaches poll ( Iona, Boston University, Yale). They too are ranked inside the top ten of the collegeinsider.com poll at #8. The Great Danes also have two players that found their way into the preseason All-Conference team, junior Joe Credo and Senior David Nichols Jr.

For the first time since the program went Division 1, the UMass Lowell River Hawks can be a part of the conference’s postseason tournament thanks to the four-year ban for relocating from Division II coming to an end. Head Coach Pat  Duquette is off to a 4-1 start, thanks in part to winning the first four games of an early six-game homestand. Redshirt-Senior Jahad Thomas is the man that makes this engine go. Last week he was named the Player of the Week, for the period ending on November 20. In the wins over Marist and Cornell, Thomas averaged 19 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists.

The Rookie of the Week resides in Durham, New Hampshire and he is named Elijah Jordan. He was a bright spot in an otherwise rough week for the Wildcats. In three games last week all losses, Jordan scores 10 points a game, with four boards, and 2.5 assists. One player that UNH will be counting on this season is Senior forward Tanner Leissner. Through four games he is averaging 19.3 points per game with 8.3 rebounds, of which 3.8 of them are offensive. The latter stat leads the conference.

Despite the under .500 record, the Wildcats lead the league in several team categories like scoring defense (65.2 a game), free throw pct (.778), field goal pct. defense (.372), and 3-point pct defense .278. Numbers like these, especially on the defensive end, will pay off for UNH down the road.

That is our first look at the America East conference, stay with NGSC sports for more happenings from this league.
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