Checking in on the… America East

Posted by rtmsf on December 29th, 2008

Corey Johns is the RTC correspondent for the America East Conference.

Last time the America East week had two average weeks, this time the America East went 8-10 overall but UMBC had an amazing upset at Nebraska and Albany and Vermont are starting to separate themselves by winning all of their games the past two weeks.  Chauncey Gilliam, Danny Carter, Anthony Raffa, Jake O’Brien and Gerald McLemore are all freshmen that are getting better every day, and the future is looking bright for the conference.

Standings:

  1. Albany    8-4
  2. Vermont    6-3
  3. Binghamton    5-4
  4. UMBC    6-5
  5. Boston U    5-5
  6. Stony Brook    5-5
  7. Maine    5-7
  8. Hartford    4-8
  9. New Hampshire    3-6

The Contenders

Vermont: They went 2-0 in the past two weeks and won both impressively.  Four guys averaged double digit points (Mike Trimboli- 21.5, Colin McIntosh- 13.0, Nick Veir- 12.0, Marquis Blakely- 12.0).  to go along with Trimboli’s 21.5 points he averaged 6.5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2.0 steals.  His two weeks were highlighted by a 24 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steal performance against Quinnipiac, who was 2-2 against the America East going into that game.  Vermont seems to be hitting on all cylinders but the only question is Maurice Joseph.  Coming into this season as a transfer from Michigan State where he received six minutes of action a game he has respectable 7.7 points but he only has 2.6 rebounds and 0.6 assists on the season with only two double-digit scoring games this season.  It may seem like they don’t need him to score but once they get into conference play where guys know everything about everybody and how to defend them he will need to pick up his production.

Albany: They have definitely turned it around with three straight wins.  Tim Ambrose showed moments of brilliance against Canisius (15 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) but only scored six points in the next two while matching his rebound and assists total combined.  He is showing potential of being a very good point guard in this conference but for Albany to jump Vermont he will need to step up.  Virginia Tech transfer Will Harris (who did not have to sit out a season) and freshman guard Anthony Raffa are the stars of the team so far.  The last two weeks Harris’ 6.3 average is skewed by a 2 point performance against Sacred Heart where he barely played.  Outside of that he has lit up the net with 13.5ppg in the other two.  Raffa has shown night in and night out that he can flat out score, averaging 14.3 points to go with 6.6 rebounds over his last three games.

UMBC: UMBC stays as a top contender because they had the biggest upset in school history and in the conference this season with a victory in Lincoln over the Nebraska Cornhuskers 66-64.  They became the first non-conference opponent out of the last 31 to win in Lincoln, and though they were outplayed in the second half they built at one point a 20 point lead in the first half that the Cornhuskers could not come out of.  But it wasn’t a perfect two weeks for UMBC.  They did lose to American who has turned it around after losing four straight.  Darryl Proctor (19.5ppg, 12.0rpg) and Jay Greene (14.5ppg, 7.0apg) have led the team but UMBC has definitely found a new star in freshman Chauncey Gilliam.  He only scored 1 point against American but led all scorers with 21 points against Nebraska to raise his average to 11.0ppg with 6.0rpg.  He’ll probably replace foul troubled Richard Flemming in the starting lineup which would move Proctor to power forward and Matt Spadafora to strong forward, both their positions last year.  After the American game Randy Monroe called out Justin Fry, Spadafora, and Flemming and said they need to step up.  Spadafora seems to have responded having hit four major three throws in the final two minutes against Nebraska and averaging 11.0 points and he has picked up his defense.

The Middle of the Pack:

Binghamton: They are in the standings and had a 1-1 week like UMBC, but neither of their games were against impressive teams.  They lost to Manhattan and beat Rider, so don’t be fooled by the record.  One major positive for Binghamton is that Theo Davis is eligible and played in both games but he has yet to score and he is being worked in slowly.  But you can bet once conference play comes around he will be let loose to use his athleticism.  St. Joseph’s transfer D.J. Rivera (who also did not have to sit out a transfer season) had a monster two weeks averaging 22.5 points with 7.5 rebounds.  To help him out three other players averaged in double figures (Dwayne Jackson- 13.5ppg, Reggie Fuller- 11.0ppg, and Moussa Camara- 10.0ppg).  Binghamton’s only problem is they have only beaten the team they were supposed to beat (you can argue that a win over Rutgers was an upset but they are losing to Lehigh and have yet to play anybody good.)  Other than that they lost to Central Connecticut State, Bucknell, and Manhattan who are all teams they should have beaten if they want to show they are a good team.

Boston U: Boston U only played one game in two weeks and it was a heartbreaking loss to Delaware off a three point buzzer beater.  But you can’t feel bad for them because they could have done so many more things to win that game and all of the mistakes (15 turnovers and just shooting .786 from the charity stripe) helped for a loss.  Other than that they played good with Corey Lowe scoring 20 points, freshman Jake O’Brien scoring 14 points with 7 rebounds, John Holland scoring ten and Matt Wolff having a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.  But like Binghamton, before they cannot only beat teams they are supposed to beat and have to win the close games like they lost against Mount St. Mary’s, Marshall, and Delaware.

Stony Brook: I have no idea how it is possible that Stony Brook moved up to middle of the pack when they got blown out in their only game of the last two weeks, but that game was against Connecticut and two guys really showed something.  Freshmen Danny Carter (20 points) and Bryan Dougher (10 points) really impressed and showed that the future is bright in that game.  Other than them the entire team needs to step it up.

The Bottom Feeders:

Hartford: They went 1-1 with a win over Sacred Heart.  But right now their biggest worry is Joe Zeglinski who missed both games with an ankle injury.  If they want a chance to come back in conference play where it counts then they will need him back and full strength.  Otherwise it’s Jaret Von Rosenberg’s team.  He had an outstanding two weeks with 13.5ppg, 7.0apg, and 5.5rpg.  Morgan Sabia and Anthony Minor have seemingly stepped it up a bit with a combined 13.5ppg and 7.5rpg.  And not to forget freshman Genesis Maciel who averaged 7.5 points in the paint as well.

Maine: They lost both games over the two week span but it was not because of freshman Gerald McLemore or sophomore Troy Barnies.  In the two games against Harvard and Boston College they averaged 18.0 and 13.5 points with a combined 11.5 rebounds.  Sean McNally and Kaimondre Owes both showed glimmers or hope but nothing serious.

New Hampshire: New Hampshire had a lot of expectations coming into this year and so far they have disappointed.  It’s a guard team with no presence inside right now that lost it’s only game to Fordham.  Tyrone Conley (12 points), Tyrece Gibbs (10 points) and Alvin Abreu (10 points) were solid but they need somebody inside to step it up and right now Dane Diliego isn’t cutting it.

Top Athlete (over the past two weeks):

Darryl Proctor F UMBC- You can argue for D.J. Rivera or Mike Trimboli all you want but the fact of the matter is Proctor had two double-doubles in as many games and averaged 19.5 points, just three points less then Rivera and two less then Trimboli.  Without Proctor, UMBC would probably be on of the bottom dwellers and he played amazing basketball the last two weeks averaging 10.5 points and 12.0 rebounds.

Top Freshmen (over the past two weeks):

Chauncey Gilliam G UMBC- A case can be made for Danny Carter or Anthony Raffa but Gilliam scored 21 points with 8 rebounds against Nebraska in a win which is far more impressive then Carter scoring 20 against Boston College in a loss and Raffa having three double digit games against three teams Albany should have beaten.

Top Team (over the past two weeks):

Albany- I’m not being a homer but the fact that UMBC beat Nebraska put them in serious consideration but they suffered a bad loss to American while Albany took care of business and beat all three teams the past two weeks and currently hold the best record in the conference.

What’s Coming Up?- the top games of the next two weeks:

  • Saturday December 27- Vermont @ George Washington- 10:00pm
  • Tuesday December 30- Albany @ Kansas- 9:00pm
  • Tuesday December 30- Hartford @ Stanford- 10:30pm
  • Wednesday December 31- Stony Brook @ Air Force- 5:00pm
  • Thursday January 8- Boston U @ Albany- 7:00pm
  • Thursday January 9- Vermont @ Binghamton- 7:00pm
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