We begin the second half of the conference season this week. A tight race is shaping up for the four and final home court slots in the quarterfinal round of the league playoff. Hartford and UMass Lowell are tied for that spot at 4-4 as the second half gets underway. There is more to get to, so here’s a look.
Congratulations go out to Vermont head coach John Becker. Last Saturday, in a road win at Lowell, Becker recorded his 100th conference victory. It took him 120 games to reach this milestone. He becomes the fastest to reach this mark since Jay Wright did it at Hofstra University in 127 games. Becker is also one of six active coaches with twenty wins in his first seven seasons as a Division I head coach at a single school. He is also the only mid-major coach in the country hired in 2011-12 to post seven straight 20-win seasons.
One of the hottest teams in the league as we start the second half is UMBC (14-9, 6-2). They have won five in a row heading into their home matchup with Hartford on Wednesday night.
The Catamounts are a solid team no doubt. Hard to imagine they can be even better when their star player is on his game. When Anthony Lamb scores in double figures, Vermont’s record is 39-13. On Saturday night, Lamb not only reached double figures in scoring with 29 points, but he also recorded his fourth double-double of the season, and his second in conference play.
Maine Black Bears head coach, Richard Barron, is attempting to make the move from the women’s game to the men. Only one other coach has done this in recent times. Speedy Morris coached the LaSalle Explorers women program before heading over to the men’s side. Barron’s Black Bears have won their last two games in a row.
Junior forward, Andrew Fleming, was a big reason for the past couple of wins for Maine. The Player Of The Week averaged 21.5 points, nine and a half rebounds, two and a half assists, and two and a half steals in the pair of wins. He was at his best in a road win at Lowell last Wednesday night. Fleming dropped 38 on the Riverhawks shooting a blistering 18-for-20 (90%) in that game. All of his points came in the paint. His eighteen field goals tie an America East single-game record. The 90 percent shooting was the best by any college player with at least twenty attempts in the last 20 years. This is Fleming’s first player of the week honor this year and of his career.
Cameron Healy, of UAlbany, is this week’s Rookie of the Week. He too averaged 21.5 points per game for the Great Danes, to go along with six rebounds, and two assists in a pair of wins last week. Healy shot 16-of-30 from the field (.530), including 11-of-22 (.560) from three-point range. He had a career-high 31 points and matched a school program record with nine three-pointers in a win over Binghamton last Saturday. This is Healy’s second rookie of the week honor.