Non-conference play for America East teams is starting to wind down, which means teams are starting to find their groove as conference play approaches.
Here are some numbers to know from the last week of play:
3 – That’s the number of rebounds Jameel Warney registered on Thursday against American, a season-low. It’s almost astounding, considering the number was one off his career-low of two rebounds, but one reason Warney could not grab rebounds was the Seawolves were busy making shots in D.C.: converting on just under 62% of their two-pointers and knocking down seven three’s. That’s a good sign for Stony Brook.
27 – Is the number that UMBC sophomore Jairus Lyles went for in his Retrievers debut in their 103-93 loss at Howard. The transfer, who left VCU for Robert Morris and returned to the Baltimore area after a brief stint at the NEC school, should inject some life into an offense that has started to turn the corner. Freshman Joe Sherburne has been a fixture in the scoring column and junior Will Darley has produced since coming off an injury. Add Lyles to sophomore Rodney Elliott in the back court and UMBC appears to have an offense ready for conference play.
19 – The number of points sophomore Tanner Leissner went for in their 76-56 victory over Dartmouth. Saturday’s win was by far their best against a Division I opponent, as they held their Ivy League opponent to 0.79 points per possession. The Wildcats returned junior Jaleen Smith (three game suspension) to the lineup on Monday, where he scored 11 points in their 78-74 loss to Boston University.
1 – That’s the number of games this season in which Albany senior Peter Hooley has made more than one three-pointer, he did not make a single three on Saturday. Yet the Great Danes are off to an 8-4 start after their win over St. Francis PA. One reason to worry about Albany is, once Hooley gets going, they could be an even more dangerous team than they are right now and they’re already a top 100 team in KenPom rankings.
24 – That’s the jersey number of Vermont’s Dre Wills, who has been suspended indefinitely for the Catamounts. He has missed every game since their tip against UC Santa Barbara.
45 – The minutes that delayed Albany’s home game at SEFCU Arena when a fire alarm went off to interrupt the Great Danes on Saturday night.
78.2% – The percentage of free throws Division I opponents have made against Stony Brook. The upside for the Seawolves is that rate should decline with more games under their belt, and they are a team that rarely fouls. However, their problem is they have yet to get to the line enough to punish teams, which could change when they hit conference play and start facing some familiar opponents.
Tweets of the Week: The first tweet is brought to you by Maine head coach Bob Walsh, whose feed @CoachBobWalsh is one of the best out there.
Quotes of the Week:
“Last year they won, so they had the bragging rights for a whole year. We’ve been thinking about it all summer and we’re just happy we got the bragging rights for this year.” – Stony Brook senior Jameel Warney on their 71-68 win over Long Island rival Hofstra
“We thought he was possibly capable of this, but I think it’s happening a little bit sooner. He’s been so inconsistent as a rebounder, now what’s starting to happen is he’s starting to get a little confidence and he’s starting to score around the basket.” – New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion on sophomore Iba Camara
“I think we know what our identity is offensively and how we want to play, but we have to get grittier and tougher on the defensive end.” – UMass Lowell head coach Pat Duquette after their loss to previously-winless Central Connecticut
“That fire alarm could not have come at a worse time for us. I thought we had all the momentum. That took all the momentum away from us. When we came back on the court, I thought we played the same way that we started the game.” – Albany head coach Will Brown on the untimely fire alarm
“Everybody loves [Romello Walker], so it wasn’t easy to see him go down for the year, but you just roll with the punches. I know it’s a little bit cliched but injuries are a part of sports. We’ve not been very lucky over the past couple of years, but nobody is going to feel sorry for you.” – Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey on losing the sophomore Walker for the season (shoulder), he will earn a medical redshirt since his injury occurred on Dec. 5 at Michigan State
Games to Watch: Tuesday 12/22 Vermont at Northeastern 1pm, Stony Brook at Lehigh 7pm, Wednesday 12/23 UMBC at Towson 2pm, Niagara at Albany 7pm, Monday 12/28 UMass Lowell at Rutgers 7pm Big Ten Network
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.