I’m Running Out of Pop Culture References
Well, weâ€™ve officially hit the mid-way mark of the conference season. Five teams remain with one game of each other for first place (UMBC, Vermont, Hartford, Stony Brook, UNH). After a slow 3-3 start the Catamounts now sit at 7-3 and look as dangerous as ever. UMBC essentially holds a half game lead over Vermont for that top spot and that season finale series between the two of them will in all likelihood determine the America East winner.
All ten teams were in action this weekend, as Stony Brook finally returned after their brief pause (Covid). Maybe the Seawolves shouldâ€™ve prolonged their hiatus, as they got swept by UNH and all of sudden their once 4-0 start is looking like foolâ€™s gold. In fact, four of the five series match-ups ended with a sweep, as only the Hartford-UMBC affair saw a weekend split.
Since the Vermont-Maine series was already covered, I wonâ€™t be including them in this recap. My apologies to everyone who wanted to hear me do my best Chris Berman impression and make pop culture references to Vermont playerâ€™s names. By now you should already know that Vermont absolutely stomped Maine in both games. Letâ€™s dive into the others and see who came out on top.
*Some of these references are a little NSFW
New Hampshire Wildcats vs Stony Brook Seawolves
Saturday | New Hampshire 81 – Stony Brook 64
Not sure if it was rust or a lack of conditioning for the Seawolves, but they really fell apart in this one. Stony Brook looked solid in the first-half and even led at halftime, but the Seawolves just couldnâ€™t stop UNH at all in the second-half, as they gave up 52 points to the Wildcats and looked awful defensively. Pretty rare to see a team leading at the half, only to lose by almost 20 at the final whistle.
The Seawolves looked competent in the first-half, but UNH quickly said hold up, let me finna show you how to hit the â€œQonâ€ Murphy, who danced his way to a career-high 24 points. Nick-â€elodeonâ€ Guadarrama was for the kids, as he slimmed Stony Brook for another 14 points and the Wildcats took game one. Mo â€œBambaâ€ Gueye led the Seawolves with 12, but appears to be nothing more than a one-hit wonder, as Stony Brookâ€™s second-half defense couldnâ€™t help but yell out â€œOh fuck! Shit! Bitch!â€.
Not quite the return to action Seawolve fans were looking for. Iâ€™ll give Stony Brook credit, I was impressed by their 4-0 conference start, but that once promising allure is fading fast.
Sunday | New Hampshire 67 – Stony Brook 64
Another demoralizing loss for Stony Brook. The Seawolves hung with the Wildcats all afternoon, but a Nick Johnson bucket with around 1:30 left in regulation gave the Wildcats the lead and three free-throws from Nick Guadarrama with 13 seconds remaining sealed the game. Stony Brook couldâ€™ve easily taken both these games and one was to wonder how much that extended time off has now cost them.
Nick â€œGuantanamo-bay-arramaâ€ locked up the game with his late free-throws for the Wildcats and led the team with 14 points, as SBU fans felt tortured watching their team get shackled again. Jayden â€œSanchoâ€ Martinez was in great form and fresh off his loan-spell with Dortmund to kick in another 11 for the Wildcats, who were thrilled that this game didnâ€™t come down to PKs. Tykei â€œCee Loâ€ Greene belted out 14 points for the Seawolves, but he couldnâ€™t stop UNH from driving around town with a pair wins that he loves, as he was like â€œfuck youuuuuâ€.
Well, the once promising start for Stony Brook is now looking like quite the mariage. The Seawolves do take on NJIT next and the Highlanders have also fallen flat since their 2-1 conference start (1-4). The winner of that match-up might have an outside chance of finishing in the top 4 America East standings.
UMBC Retrievers vs Hartford Hawks
Saturday | UMBC 63 – Hartford 70
Huge win for the Hawks, who after knocking off the Retrievers in game one look like true America East contenders. Hartford led by as much as 11 in the second-half, though UMBC made enough plays to remain at striking distance. The Hawks did a great job of hitting their free-throws late in the game, as they were ultimately able to close out the win over.
The Hawks were led by the Texas Rattlesnake known as Stone Cold Steve Austin Williams, who stunned UMBC with 16 points and said give me a hell yeah if you had Hartford beating UMBC. Max Traci Carter added another 16 for the Hawks, as Burlingtonâ€™s future mayor displayed why he is the superior choice to run this city. Brandon Hor-math added 18 for the Retrievers, but he couldnâ€™t calculate his way to victory, as the division between these two teams is multiplying.
Both these teams are well-coached and have very balanced rosters. It would not be surprising to see either one or even both make the America East title game when itâ€™s all said and done.
Sunday | UMBC 57 – Hartford 49
Neither team was able to get into much of a rhythm offensively in Sundayâ€™s contest. The Hawks were actually held to a season-low 22 points in the second-half, as UMBC took game two to even the weekend series. Both these teams are playing at a similar level, so a series split between the two seemed like the most likely scenario on paper.
The Retrievers were led by R.J. Eytle-Milly-Rock who hid 14 points in his sock, as he said yo Pierre you wanna come out here? Keon-Dr-Dre Kennedy pitched in another 10 for the Retrievers as he helped produce another UMBC victory, as the aftermath of this saw UMBC back on top. Austin â€œPharrellâ€ Williams led Hartford with 13 points, as he was anything but happy with the final results in this one.
UMBC remains in first place in the America East. Pretty wild to think that this team lost to Binghamton earlier in the year. The Retrievers travel to UMass-Lowell next to take on the River Hawks who all of a sudden look like a potential dark-horse contender.
Albany Great Danes vs NJIT Highlanders
Saturday | Albany 83 – NJIT 75
Poor NJIT. They started their inaugural America East season well (2-1), but have since dropped to four of their last five including this weekend. Unfortunately this season likely wonâ€™t be remembered too fondly by either these teams, as they both appear headed for a bottom-half finish. Albany kept NJIT at bay through most of this one and at least showed some signs of competence.
The Great Danes were led by Jamel Horton-hears-a-who, as he dropped 18 points, declaring that a
person win is a win, no matter how small. Antonio â€œBrownâ€ Rizzuto chipped in another 16 to help seal Albanyâ€™s win, but a friendly reminder to never turn your back on this man. NJIT got a career day from â€œSanâ€ Diego Willis who was all sunshine with 22 points, but would much rather be catching some tasty waves than supporting any sports team.
Good win for Albany, as they get to â€œstay in the huntâ€ a bit longer. If the team can find a way to gel and carry this win into next week they could start to make some noise in the America East.
Hard to say if game two was any better for NJIT. They played much better offensively in the second-half, as they notched 44 points, but their defense was pretty paltry and Albany just seemed to score at will. With the weekend sweep, the Great Danes are now at 3-3 on the year, but are still sixth overall in conference standings. They take on UNH next and will need at least a series split to remain somewhat relevant.
Antonio â€œRisottoâ€ dished out 19 points to lead Albany, as he carbolated up the stat sheet and the Great Danes looked pasta-tively awesome in this one. Nate Jarvis Doles spit out another 15 for Albany, as the young lyrical wordsmith hopes to one day move out of his momâ€™s basement. San Antonio â€œCrimsonâ€ paced the Highlanders with 16 points, but despite his best efforts the tide would not roll on.
NJIT takes on Stony Brook next, but theyâ€™ll need to snap out their funk in a hurry, as their slate of weekend games becomes even tougher after the Seawolves (Hartford, UNH, UMBC). Hopefully NJIT can figure it out and stay out of the America East basement.
Binghamton Bearcats vs UMass-Lowell River Hawks
Saturday | Binghamton 78 – UMass-Lowell 92
Even with Maine getting dismantled in both of their games, there is no team struggling more so than Binghamton. How this team managed to beat UMBC is beyond me. Add in the fact that they allowed the River Hawks supporting cast to look like all-conference players and this team is downright bad. Binghamtonâ€™s defense and discipline were awful all game, as Tommy Dempseyâ€™s coaching seat has got to be flaming hot right now.
The River Hawks were led by Obadiah â€œNobelâ€ who undoubtedly deserves recognition for his years of outstanding work and suffrage, as led the team with 26 points on the afternoon. Connor â€œSmithersâ€ was a fantastic number two, as he also added 19 points for UML. Tyler â€œThe Creatorâ€ Bertram led Binghamton with 20 points, but even with his hot shooting the Bearcats are looking at an Odd Future.
That Odd Future pun is actually a pretty good description of what lies ahead for Binghamton. They have this â€œgreatâ€ young nucleus of players, but as weâ€™ve seen before that can change in an instant for Binghamton, as players are not afraid to pack up and leave. All the more reason Dempsey needs to be replaced.
Sunday | Binghamton 67 – UMass-Lowell 77
Glass half full – this was the closest Binghamton loss in their last four games. Glass half empty – they still lost by double-digits and have lost six in a row by an average margin of 17 points. The Bearcats take on Maine next and if they get blown out by the Black Bears that should all but seal Tommy Dempseyâ€™s fate. Dempsey looked awful going up against the likes of UML, who are decent, but by no means should be able to win both games by double-figures.
The River Hawks were once again led by Obadiah â€œAdeleâ€ who was rolling in the deep with 17 points, as every America East coach is hoping to find someone like you. Salif Boudie â€œMcBoudie-faceâ€ added another 16 points for the River Hawks, as the one-time internet sensation is hoping to earn another 15 minutes of fame. Brenton Byran Mills paced Binghamton with 16 points and despite having a particular set of skills, he couldnâ€™t stop Binghamton from taken this loss.
For the River Hawks this was a huge weekend sweep to get them back in the hunt. Theyâ€™ll be hosting UMBC next and if they can manage at least a series split in that contest it might be time to start taking UML serious as a potential dark-horse contender.
I think UMBC easily have the highest celling of all of these teams, but they need to find a rhythm, think this team could really take off in the second half of the season.