America East Conference

America East Basketball News & Notes

One month of the conference season is set to expire on Saturday. There is a new team at the top of the league standings and the top four teams in America East all have above .500 overall records. Good things are happening, so here is what else is going on.

Two teams remain in the collegeinsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll. Stony Brook (17-4) is at number 13, while Vermont 16-5)  is right behind them at #14. These two faced off against one another last Saturday on Long Island.  Playing without their best player, Anthony Lamb due to injury, the Vermont Catamounts posted a very impressive road win. It put them at the top of the league standings. The Cats placed three players in double figures and the contest had three ties and two lead changes with Vermont taking its biggest advantage with a minute left by twenty-one points. The Seawolves had two in double-digits, but it was Vermont on this night that showed they are still the team to beat in America East.

With that road win, Vermont has now won a conference record 23 straight road games. It’s the second longest active streak in the nation behind only Gonzaga. Vermont also leads the America East in margin of victory at 8.4.

The most experienced team in the league is the Hartford Hawks with eleven returning players from last year squad. One of those players is being counted on heavily to lead this team on the court. Senior, J.R. Lynch is tops in minutes played so far at 37.6 a night. Lynch is also the leader in steals with 2.4 a game and is one of the team’s and league’s best three-pointer shooters.

The UMass Lowell Riverhawks continue to be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team when it comes to playing both ends of the floor. On the one hand, the Riverhawks are the best offensive team in the league averaging 81.3 points per game. But, the defensive side has been another story. UMass Lowell is the worst defensive team in the league giving up an average of 78 points a night. A bit of a surprise for a team sitting at 12-9.

Redshirt senior, Josh Gantz, is having a solid final season for the Riverhawks. He leads the conference in assists-to-turnover ratio at 2.2. In twenty-one games, Gantz has 62 assists against only 28 turnovers. He is also fifth in blocked shots averaging one block a game.

The Player Of The Week is Caleb Stewart of Binghamton. In a week in which the team won one and lost one, Stewart was rock solid. The senior averaged 24 points, 13.5 rebounds and two blocks. He shot 60 percent from the field (15-of-25) and posted a double-double of 22 points and 16 boards in a home loss to Lowell last Wednesday night. He then followed that up with a career-high 26 points, 11 board effort in a win vs the Maine Black Bears on Saturday. This is Stewart’s first weekly honor and first in his career.

The Rookie Of The Week is Antonio Rizzuto of UAlbany. The freshman guard averaged 21 points, four an a half rebounds, and two and a half assists in a 1-1 week for the Great Danes. He shot 13-of-26 from the field and had 21 points. five boards and three assists in just twenty-one minutes of play in the team’s win over Hartford last Saturday. This is Rizzuto’s first career #AEHoops award.

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