The college basketball season is now a week old and already teams in the America East Conference are showing that they will be a tough out for anyone to play. Teams have already scored some solid non-conference wins that should help as the early part of the year takes place. Vermont, the defending league champs, is getting noticed from across the college basketball landscape. Andy Katz has them ranked 36th in his preseason poll. They also received a couple of votes in the AP Top 25 poll, and are fourth in the Mid-Major Top 25.
The Catamounts showed why they are getting this kind of attention early on with wins against Atlantic 10 foe St. Bonaventure on Friday night and Patriot League preseason #2 Bucknell on Sunday. Both wins came on the road. Vermont opens their home schedule vs Boston U. on Wednesday night. Vermont was not the only team doing well on the road. Maryland-Baltimore County went down to Ft. Myers Florida and picked up a win against Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday, 65-61.
There are some other noteworthy happenings so far in the league. Maine’s senior forward, Andrew Fleming, joined the 1,000-point club last Wednesday night. He dropped 37 on the Merrimack Warriors to join that group. The best part about this was it was done at home. Congrats to Andrew Fleming.
The Conference Player of the Week had quite a seven-day span. UMass Lowell Grad Student, Christian Lutete, dropped 51 points and had nine rebounds in a win at LIU Brooklyn last Friday night. The 51 points are the second-most all-time in the league behind the 54 scored by Eddie Benton for Vermont back in 1994. It’s now the most points scored in UMass Lowell history surpassing the 48 that Hank Brown had vs Lowell State back in Feb. of 1966. It was a record that stood for 53 years. Lutete also set a Division I program and career-high with his 16 made field goals in that contest. He shot 64% from the field in Brooklyn. Before that game, he posted a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds in their opening night loss at Massachusetts.
The Rookie of the Week is Hartford freshman guard P.J. Henry. The guard out of Houston, Texas averaged nine points, two and a half rebounds, and two assists in his first two games as a collegian. Henry had 10 points, and four assists in the Hawks opening night win last Tuesday night on the road at Central Conn. State, 74-59.
Next week we will give you more from the America East Conference.