As the month of January comes to a close, the America East Conference is getting ready for its first big matchup of the league season. It should come as no surprise who the two teams are that are headed for a big showdown. Stony Brook and Vermont, two teams that are always making noise in the league, are once again separating themselves from the rest of the conference. On Wednesday night, the two teams will meet for the final time in the regular season. The question is, will there be a third meeting in March? While that is yet to be determined, all signs are pointing toward a playoff meeting that could have a lot at stake. Let’s take a look ahead to their contest, and other news from the league.
The first meeting between these two programs took place back on January 12, with Vermont winning rather easily 98-65 in front of the home folks in Burlington, VT. The Catamounts placed four of their five starters in double-figures. They added another double-digit scorer off the bench. Two areas that Vermont took full advantage of were points in the paint (30) and bench points (32). They were dynamite shooting the basketball on this night, shooting over 60% from the field (35-56) and from 3-point range (19- 30) 63%. Mix in 9-11 from the foul line and you get the idea the Catamounts were on fire at Patrick Gymnasium. The Seawolves did have four in double-figures themselves, three of them were starters. But Stony Brook could never slow down the offensive attack they were facing. It did not help that they had only seven assists on 24 made baskets and committed 10 turnovers on the night. This time the rematch takes place at Stony Brook where the Seawolves are looking for different results.
Vermont is 5-0 in league play for the fifth time in the last six seasons. They have won their last five games by an average of 20 points per game. The Catamounts have won seven in a row and eight of nine. Their NET ranking is now at 70 in the country. Stony Brook has won three in a row and five of its last six to begin league play at 4-1. This will be a game that pits the best offense in the Seawolves at 73 points a game vs the best defense in Vermont holding teams to 62 points per game. This should be a great game come Wednesday night.
Another team that is really coming on is Binghamton who is off to its best start in the league in 13 seasons. The last time the Bearcats were 4-2 was their championship year of 2008-09. The Bearcats margin of victory is at three. They are third in FG percentage at 46%. They are #1 in opponent 3-point FG percentage at 30% and they are the worst free-throw shooting team in the league at 65% (149-228). They are third in blocked shots at 3.53 a game 53 in 15 games. Binghamton is making noise and waiting for either of the top two teams to slip up.
The best news to report is no games have been added to the virus list. Ten games need to be taken care of and have been scheduled for late January and the month of February. Fingers are crossed that no more mention of the virus comes up for the rest of the season.
The Player of the Week in America East is Anthony Roberts of Stony Brook. In a 3-0 week for the Seawolves, the junior from Detroit, Michigan averaged 18 points and 4.7 rebounds. His best game of last week came against Binghamton when he went a game-high 25 points in the win over the Bearcats. For Roberts, this is his first career Player of the Week honor.
The Rookie of the Week is Maine’s Kristiaris Feierbergs who averaged a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards in two games last week. He recorded his first career double-double last Wednesday night in a loss to UMass Lowell when he went for 22 points and 11 rebounds. From the field, Kristians was 9-13 and 4-6 from 3-point land. He becomes the fourth different Black Bear player to earn Rookie of the Week honor. This is his first.
Next week we will be back with more from America East.
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