The America East Conference, in the early stages of non-conference basketball, is off to a solid start. Both the Vermont Catamouths and Maryland-Baltimore County teams are off to 4-0 starts. Stony Brook is riding a three-game winning streak thanks to a perfect weekend at the Island Invitational in Texas. This is all good news for a league that is trying to put themselves in a good spot when post-season bids are announced in March.
Vermont continues to show why they are the class of the league and one of the best mid-major programs in the country. Last Saturday they did it again. This time at the buzzer to beat St.John’s 70-68 on an Anthony Lamb bucket as time expired. Lamb would finish the game with a double-double of 29 points and 13 rebounds and would be named America East Player of The Week. He begins this week as the second-leading scorer in the conference at 20.6 PPG. The schedule does not get any easier for Vermont as they have road dates left with #7 Virginia and Cincinnati.
Another team off to a great start is Maryland-Baltimore Country. They were at 4-0 as the week began and they lead the league in scoring offense at 84.5 points per game. They also lead the league in defense giving up only 53 points per game. In their four wins to date, they have the best margin of victory at 31.5 points per game. They are also the best rebounding team early on averaging 44 boards through four games (176 total). They are averaging 11.8 on the offense glass and 32.3 on the defensive end. They have the best rebounding margin at 10.5.
After getting off to an 0-2 start, Stony Brook has ripped off four wins in a row. The Seawolves Ejiah Olaniyi was strong last week for the team. He averaged 20 points per game as Stony Brook went a perfect 3-0 last week with wins over Farmingdale State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and UTRGV. Olaniyi is fourth in the conference in scoring at 18.8 per game while Jeff Otchere is second in blocks shots with 1.7 a game.
Not everyone had a great week or in this case weekend. The UMass Lowell River Hawks hosted their first-ever event. It was called the River Hawks Invitational. Of the four teams that played in this round-robin tournament, they would be the only team not to register a win. They finished 0-3 with two losses coming at the buzzer (to Jacksonville, Merrimack) and an overtime loss to Dartmouth. Christian Lutete is still leading the league in scoring at 21.6 a game and is fourth in rebounding at 8.6 a game.
The Maine Black Bears have gotten off to a slow start at 1-2. However, they have a player that has been filling up the stat sheets in the first three games. His name is Nedeljko Prjovic and he leading America East in rebounding at 10 a game, third in blocked shots with 1.7 a contest, and second in steals with 2.0 a ballgame.
The Freshman of the Week is George Tinsley of Binghamton. The first-year player out of Summit, PA. averaged a double-double of 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in two games last week. He had career highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds in their win over Sacred Heart on Sunday. This is his first career weekly award.
More from America East next week.