On Sunday, a full slate of games was scheduled to start the season. As you may know by now, only two of those league openers were played. As of this writing, five league games in America East have already been postponed. The conference will do everything it can to allow these games to be made up down the road. So in this edition of the conference news & notes, we will take a look at the two games that were played on Sunday.
We begin at NJIT (6-5, 1-0) where the Retrievers got a big day from Miles Coleman who posted a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of play off the bench. He was one of three players who finished in double figures as NJIT defeated Maine (3-9, 0-1), 69-66. The Black Bears, who also had three players in double digits, took a 33-29 lead with them to the locker room at the half. But the Retrievers stormed back with a 40-33 second-half performance by shooting 54% from the field (12-22) while holding Maine to 41% from the field (13-31) and 20% from the three-point line at 2-for-10. Maine did not shoot the ball well all game long despite getting 35 bench points. Sam Ihekwoaba (18 points) and Byron Ireland (11 points) combined for 29 of those points off the bench. NJIT won this game with points in the paint with 34 with Coleman doing most of that damage, and points off the bench with 28. Only two players scored off the bench and they were Coleman and Mekhi Gray with five. They did get 11 points from Matt Faw and 10 from James Lee. NJIT will hit the road for the first time when they visit UMass Lowell on Thursday.
Speaking of the River Hawks (8-5, 0-1), they came into their game with the second-best offense in the league, But on Sunday they did not shoot the ball well at all in their loss at Binghamton (4-6, 1-0), 68-63. If you are a UMass Lowell fan, there’s a lot not to like about this game. They would take 68 shots and make only 25 of them (36.8%) and from behind the arc, they were 7-25 (28%). They would make only 10 trips to the foul line making six of them (60%). They had only five assists on the 25 made baskets and two of their starters, Justin Faison and Max Brooks, would go a combined 0-for-11 from the field with Faison adding 0-6 from three-point range. It’s hard to win when two of your main guys do not score any points. The Bearcats placed four in double-figures led by the backcourt duo of Tyler Bertram and Jacob Falko who both had 20 points apiece. Falko would add five assists and five rebounds to his total. Binghamton also received a double-double from forward Christian Hinckson with 11 points and 12 boards. Most of Hinckson’s damage was done because of game-long foul trouble for Brooks. This was Binghamton’s first win against a Division I opponent this season. The Bearcats will head to Albany on Thursday.
The America East Player of the Week is Miles Coleman of NJIT. The double-double was the second of the season for Coleman. He shot 9-14 from the field coming off the bench to help his team defeat the Black Bears. The Rookie of the Week came from the same game. Maine’s Sam Ihekwoaba wins his first weekly award after scoring 18 points and adding six rebounds in the loss to NJIT. Sam was 8-of-14 from the field.
We are hopeful that next week we will have more to talk about from the America East Conference. We want to remind you that Thursday night’s game between UNH and Vermont can be seen on ESPNU.
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