The Seawolves Sit a Top the America East Table. Huh?
Having already recounted the latest affair between Vermont and NJIT, it’s now time to turn our attention to the rest of the America East. Six of the eight other America East teams competed against each other over the weekend (Sunday & Monday), with Albany and Maine as the only two to sit out this week’s action.
For the most part all of the games were highly competitive, with the only expectations coming from Vermont and Stony Brook’s big wins on Sunday (10+ point differential). Time to break down these games and see where everything stands in the America East.
Hartford Hawks vs New Hampshire Wildcats
This was a great back-and-forth game that actually saw Hartford hold a lead for most of the game. The Hawks were up four with just under four minutes to play and it looked like Hartford might be able to hold on for the win. Sadly for the Hawks, UNH’s Nick Gaudarrama hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 29 seconds remaining, clipping the Hawks wings and sending them south for the winter.
It was a balanced attack for the Wildcats, but Marque Maultsby led the way with a career high 21 points. Guadarrama (19), Jayden Martinez (13) and Tayler Mattos (10) each reached the double-figure mark for UNH. Even with the injury to star Sean Sutherlin, the Wildcats look like they’ll be in heavy contention for that America East crown.
Traci Carter led the way for the Hawks, matching Maultsby’s game-high 21 points. Miroslav Stalf (12), Moses Flowers (11) and Austin Williams (10) all hit the double-figure mark as well. What’s so frustrating for Hartford is the fact they let this game slip away in an instant. With under a minute left and the score tied, Hartford only managed to take one shot, while turning the ball over three times. Not good.
Another wire-to-wire game between the two teams. Unlike Sunday’s contest, UNH held the lead this time, as Hartford’s only lead of the 2nd half lasted 16 seconds. Guadarrama once again hit the go-ahead shot(s) to seal the win, as he hit a pair from the charity stripe to put UNH up two with six seconds left. Traci “Sean” Carter missed what would’ve been the game-tying jumper on the other end, as he was “throwing up the roc” all day on a tough 1-8 shooting Monday afternoon.
On a day where seemingly no one could make a shot, UNH’s Jayden “Pedro” Martinez led the way as he was throwing that heat all day, finishing with 19 points off 7-10 shooting. No other Wildcat was able to crack the double-figure mark.
Austin Williams carried the Hawks with 16 on the afternoon, but much like UNH, no other Hawk managed to hit that double-figure mark. While both these games came down to the closing seconds, Hartford can’t feel good about the fact that they couldn’t finish strong in either game. The Hawks now sit at 2-2 in the conference standings and if not for a buzzer-beating three to beat Maine last week they could easily be 1-3. I’m officially putting the Hawks on bird alert.
Stony Brook Seawolves vs UMass-Lowell River Hawks
This game was eerily similar to Sunday’s match-up between Vermont and NJIT. Stony Brook led the entire way and used a big first-half to ultimately seal their third straight conference win. The Seawolves stretched their lead to as much as 21 in the second-half and looked in complete control from start to finish.
Frankie Policelli paced the Seawolves with 16 points and Juan Felix Rodriguez (13) and Omar Habwe (11) each hit the double-figure mark as well. For a team that was picked to finish in the latter-half of the America East standings, the Seawolves have looked solid early despite not having a “premier” player on their squad. That’s good coaching by Geno Ford.
Obadiah “Kris Kringle” Noel said ho, ho, ho as he led all scorers with 30 points, but his teammates said no, no, no as no other River Hawk could reach the double-figure scoring mark. This is likely the best way to beat the River Hawks. Bend, but don’t break with Noel and force his teammates to make plays. Sometimes it can backfire (i.e. Vermont), but in this case outside of Noel the team shot 9-31 (29%) from the field. Ooof.
Monday’s contest was much more competitive, as the River Hawks did a much better job on both ends of the floor. With just over five minutes left in regulation the game was knotted at 56, but Stony Brook would go on their final run of the night, hitting clutch free-throws and ultimately sealing the game as they moved to 4-0 in conference standings.
“Obi” Juan Felix Rodriguez said “don’t be a fool, I have the higher ground” as he led the Seawolves with 21 on the day. Jaden Sayles (11) and Tykei Greene (10) each reached double-figures as well for the Seawolves. Don’t look now, but the Stony Brook Seawolves sit atop the America East standings with a perfect 4-0 record. Huh?
For UMass-Lowell it was once again Obadiah Noel who paced the team with 29 points, but the River Hawks took that “yes-L”, as they falled to a 1-3 conference record. Darion Jordan-Thomas (12) was the only other River Hawk to hit double-figures. Upset Vermont, but lose two to Stony Brook – we got an enigma.
UMBC Retrievers vs Binghamton Bearcats
Another close game. Binghamton’s young core of Brenton Mills and George Tinsley gave UMBC everything they had, but the Retrievers made just enough shots at the end of the game to seal their third straight America East conference victory. That strong finish by UMBC showed us why the Retrievers are the top dogs of the conference thus far.
The Retrievers were led by General Brandon
Horvath Warpath, who was dropping bombs all day from deep, finishing with 20 points and four three-pointers on the afternoon. Keondre “Jamie” Kennedy said “don’t be hatin” as he chipped in 18 off the bench and Malibu’s most wanted now resides in the America East.
On the other end of the court it was George “Boyd” Tinsley who said deep cuts only, but even with his 14 points and 12 boards, you didn’t need a satellite to see the
ants Retrievers marching to victory in this one. Shoutout to anyone who got that Dave Matthews Band reference.
Scary moment for UMBC late in this game, as their leading scorer and potential America East Player of the Year, Brandon Horvath had to leave the game due to injury. Horvath has been on absolute tear lately, so hopefully that injury isn’t too serious and we’ll see him back in the Retrievers line-up sooner than later.
Game two between these two conference foes was again highly competitive and almost identical minus the closing minutes. Both teams were very balanced across the score sheet, as they each had at least three players score over 10 points. The absences of Horvath for UMBC was likely the deciding factor, as Binghamton was able to pull off the upset and secure their biggest win of the season to date.
Brenton “Meek” Mills had plenty of “dreams and nightmares”, but told UMBC welcome to my “house party”, as he dropped 22 points on the day and the Retrievers defense appears to be “going bad” without Brandon Horvath. Bryce Beamer, “Benz, or Bentley” chipped in another 20 for the Bearcats.
Without Horvath to lead the Retrievers it was R.J. Eytle-”in New York I milly Rock” who stepped up with 19 points, but sadly the magnolia’s are out of season, just as the Retrievers were out of sync in the final minutes. L.J. “Terrell” Owens added another 11 for UMBC, but all those ab crunches couldn’t translate to Retriever victory.
Current America Standings