It was a good week for most of the top teams in the America East, and Maine was one untimely collapse away from leaving the winless category, which they will go for tonight against Wagner. UMBC, who has been without Rodney Elliott, will have a chance to wipe themselves from the winless column against Maryland Eastern Shore.
Stock Down: Other Player and Rookie of the Year Candidates – It would seem that Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney and UMass Lowell’s Jahad Thomas are starting to corner their candidacies for the Player and Rookie awards, respectively. The two have walked away with multiple awards already, in the season’s first few weeks, and are well on track to putting up great numbers. Thomas leads the River Hawks with 15.3 points per game and his 21 points helped UMass Lowell extend their win streak to five, beating Boston University 69-59. Meanwhile the junior Warney has done everything for Stony Brook and then some, he has recorded a double-double in all but one game this season. That one game where he didn’t, against LIU Brooklyn, he scored his 1,000th point for his career.
Stock Up: New Hampshire – Thanks to some heroics from Daniel Dion, the Wildcats went 2-0 on the week and have started to show signs that their offense is getting better. After ranking near the bottom last season in most offensive categories, Bill Herrion’s team is turning the ball over fewer times and shooting a lot better to start the year. Dion posted back-to-back 23 point games in the two wins, to take co-Player of the Week honors. If they can get Wright State transfer Joe Bramanti healthy from his oblique injury soon, the Wildcats will have a chance to notch some more key wins. One of the keys to this season, Herrion said, was going to be establishing themselves early in the non-conference season with victories. These seven December games will have a lot to say about where New Hampshire heads this season in America East play.
Winless Watch: Maine was denied their first win, when Northern Illinois went on a 28-2 run to close out their game Sunday and pull away a 61-56 victory. The Black Bears were up by as many as 21 in the second half and up 56-48 with just over seven minutes remaining. Not only did they not score a point in the final seven minutes, but they did not make it to the free throw line either. This week may also prove tough for UMBC to notch their first victory if they can’t beat Maryland Eastern Shore. Their next two games this week will be road games at George Washington and Iowa as they start a four game road trip tonight.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.