Three games are all that’s left in the America East regular season. Still, three home court spots are up for grabs as we wind this season down. Stony Brook (9-4 in league play) has a shot at getting home court in the first round if they can defeat Hartford on Wednesday night. The Hawks are coming off that insane comeback win at Binghamton last Saturday afternoon. Down twenty-four at the break, Hartford came roaring back to win the game at the buzzer on a Traci Carter layup. Carter was one of four Hawks players in double-figures on the day. Here are some other happenings in America East.
If there is a hot team in the league right now, it would have to be Maryland-Baltimore County, winners of five in a row. As the final stretch begins, they are a game over .500 in the league at 7-6. Their defense has improved since the early stages of the conference schedule. They sit at number two in defense allowing 66 points a game. They are fourth in margin of victory at 2.5 per game. UMBC is third in defensive rebounding at 34.6 a game. They are second in the league in turnover margin at 0.43 and they have turned it over 367 times. Their opponents have made 379. If there is a downside to all of this, it would be free throw shooting, They are the worst in the conference at 63% (319-of 502). Come playoff time, it’s the little things that either allow you to advance or send you home.
With this being a nine-member league and only eight getting into post-season, the battle for the last slot may come down to the final game. Maine, at 3-10, and Binghamton at 3-11, are fighting for that last spot. The Black Bears have a slight advantage in that they will play one more game than the Bearcats. This week, Maine has home games vs New Hampshire on Wednesday and UMBC on Saturday before finishing the season on the road at Hartford. Maine will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak. The Bearcats have just two games left on the schedule. On Wednesday, they are at UMBC, then end their regular season at New Hampshire on Saturday. They too will try to get back to winning having lost last time out to Hartford at home. No doubt, Binghamton will need a little help if they want to play post-season ball.
The Player of the Week is Binghamton’s terrific sophomore guard Sam Sessoms. In a 1-1 week for his team, Sessoms did everything he could to give his team a chance. For the two games, he averaged 30.5 points, three rebounds, five and a half assists, and two and a half steals. He shot 54 percent from the field at 22-of-41. In their win last week at home vs UMass Lowell, Sessoms was the best player on the court. He went for 39 points and six assists vs the River Hawks. UMass Lowell tried to double-team Sessoms to slow him down but it did not work. Sam is third in the league in scoring at 18.6 and is third in minutes played with 35.6 a game This is his second weekly award of the season. The other came on November 25.
The Rookie of the Week is Hartford’s, Malik Flowers. In a 1-1 win for the Hawks, Flowers averaged ten points and four and a half rebounds, In that crazy comeback win at Binghamton, Flowers had 15 points and six rebounds. He now owns a league-best four weekly awards, December 9, January 6, and February 3 and is the front-runner for Freshman of the Year in the league.
When Traci Carter is not knocking down game-winning shots, he is taking the ball away from the other team. Carter leads the league in steals with an average of two and a half a game (64 in 29 games) He is second in assists with four and a half a ballgame. As you might expect, Carter is leading the league in assists to turnover ratio at 1.9 a night with 133 assists to 79 turnovers. Carter had game-highs in assists twice against both Binghamton and Hartford with seven each night.
Next week we take at look at the final night of league play and a look ahead to the playoffs in America East.
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