As expected, America East is a closely bunched group. Stony Brook is still the top team, but there are three teams that are right behind just a game out of first place. From top to bottom, the race for the home court, as well as making the conference playoffs, is still very much wide open. If you are a fan of the league, this is what you hope for and what you will get. Here are some of the other things going on in America East.
The Player of the Week is Sergio El Darwich of Maine. The senior had himself quite a week for the Black Bears, He was the main force behind a couple of much-needed wins at home. First, last Wednesday night vs UMass Lowell, Darwich posted a double-double of 36 points and 10 assists. He came within a rebound of a triple-double as he would grab nine of them in 44 minutes of game action, Darwich was 10-of-21 from the field, 4-of-9 from three-point range, and 12-for-13 from the foul line. In a game that saw 17 ties and 16 lead changes, Maine came away with a 104-98 victory. On Sunday, Darwich came back against Binghamton with a 26 point, five rebounds, nine assists performance helping the Black Bears to an 86-63 win. For the week, Darwich averaged 31 points, seven rebounds, nine and a half assists, and two and a half steals. This is his first weekly award.
The Rookie of the Week is River Hawks freshman center, Connor Withers. In the game at Maine, Withers had 13 points, six rebounds, and three steals. He would shoot 83% from the field going five-of-six for the night. For Withers, this is his first weekly award.
One reason why Stony Brook is at the top of the standings is their ability to put the ball in the basket and keep the other team from doing the same. They are the second-best offensive team in the league averaging 70 points a game so far. On defense, they give up 64.7 a night which places them second in margin at 5.8 a game. They are good at crashing the boards. On defense, they average 29 a game and on offense, they get 10.6 a game. They are second in margin here as well, at 3.5 a night.
Maryland-Baltimore County is having a tough first quarter of the conference season. At 0-4 to start league play, they find themselves second in field goal percentage at 44%, and number one in turnover margin at 1.32. They cough the ball up 13 times a game and force 14 turnovers a night. K.J. Jackson leads America East in assists giving out 4.3 a game. Jackson is also fourth in assists/turnover ratio at 1.3 a ballgame.
Christian Lutete of the River Hawks is doing everything he can to keep his team in the upper half of the conference standings. He leads the conference in 3-point field goal percentage at 41% (45-for-109). He is second in field goal percentage at 53% (140-for-261) while still leading the league in scoring at 20 points a night. And just for kicks, Lutete is fourth in rebounding pulling down 7.6 a game while playing 34 minutes a game. The River Hawks need to give him some help if they want to end their season in the upper half to secure home court in the playoffs.
Games we will be keeping an eye on this week take place in Albany N.Y. as the Great Dane will play host to both the River Hawks and the Hartford Hawks in games that should keep things bunched up with a little over a month to go.
Next week, more from America East.