Lillis and Blakely Share Player of the Week Honors, Herbert Named Top Rookie

Release: 01/21/2008
Courtesy: America East Communications

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-- Albany's Brian Lillis (Urdandale, Iowa/West Des Moines Dowling) and Vermont's Marqus Blakely (Metuchen, N.J./Metuchen) shared America East Player of the Week honors after each led their teams to key road victories and vaulted their teams atop the league standings last week. Binghamton's Brandon Herbert (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) took home Rookie of the Week accolades for the week ending January 20. Click here for the complete Weekly Release in PDF format.

Lillis, a senior guard, averaged a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds in wins at Boston University and Hartford. Lillis scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Terriers on Tuesday. He also converted 15-of-16 attempts from the free throw line. On Saturday, Lillis tallied 15 points, pulled down 10 boards and dished out five assists in the Great Danes' win over the Hawks. Lillis, last season's America East Defensive Player of the Year, is averaging a league-best 21.5 points in conference play and is fifth overall with 16.1 points per game.

Blakely, a sophomore forward, scored 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field in the Catamounts' win at Maine on Wednesday. He also grabbed nine rebounds, had five steals, three blocks and dished out three assists. Blakely leads America East with 19.1 points per game, is second in rebounding (8.2 pg) and blocks (2.13 pg), third in field goal percentage (.563) and fourth in steals (1.93 pg).

Brandon Herbert played a key role in two hard-fought conference wins last week. He scored 13 of his career and game-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Bearcats to a 67-61 win over in-state rival Stony Brook on Tuesday. Herbert hit 6-of-8 from the field and drained 3-of-4 attempts from three-point range.Against UMBC on Saturday, Herbert scored all seven of his points at a key juncture midway through the second half. The freshman guard was responsible for all of his team's scoring in a 7:23 span in which the Retrievers cut an 18 point deficit down to a one-point disadvantage. For the week, Herbert averaged 13.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and shot 56 percent from the field, including 50 percent from three-point range.

Conference Notebook
Honor Roll
Several America East players had highlight performances last week. Albany's Brent Wilson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Praire) scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in a win at Hartford on Saturday... Hartford's Warren McLendon (Dublin, Ga./West Laurens/The Citadel) scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the second half in a last second loss to UMBC on Wednesday. He also had 10 rebounds... Maine's Brian Andre (Bingham, Maine) recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds agaisnt Vermont on Wednesday... New Hampshire's Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass./Thayer Academy) scored 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while tallying five rebounds and five assists in the Wildcats' win at Maine on Saturday.

Beating the Buzzer
Brian Hodges hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to give UMBC an 86-85 win over Hartford on Tuesday. The back-and-forth contest featured
16 ties and 27 lead changes. Hodges finished with 24 points and hit 6-of-9 attempts from deep, while teammate Darryl Proctor recorded his fourth double-double in five league games with 19 points and 15 rebounds.. Warren McLendon led Hartford with 29 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench, while Joe Zeglinski added 25. Rookie of the Week Morgan Sabia contributed 16 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting performance.

Taking Care of the Ball
UMBC ranks second in the nation averaging just 10.0 turnovers per game and also is atop the national leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54). Junior point guard Jay Greene is a large part of that success. He is fifth in the country is assists (7.11 pg) and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.29).

National Television
ESPNU will broadcast the first nationally-televised regular-season conference game in America East history when Boston University plays host to Vermont at Agganis Arena on Friday, January 25 at 9 p.m.

1,000-Point Club
Albany's Jon Iati became the 29th player in team history to score 1,000 career points. Iati, the league's Rookie of the Year following the 2003-04 campaign, surpassed the milestone on a three-pointer in the waning minutes against Binghamton on Saturday. UMBC's Darryl Proctor scored his 1,000th career point against New Hampshire on January 6. Proctor, a transfer from Coppin State, scored 801 of those points while with the Eagles. Albany's Brent Wilson became the third player in America East to score his 1,000th point this season, when he reached the milestone against Iowa State on December 30. Wilson currently ranks third among active conference leaders with 1,070 career points. Vermont's Mike Trimboli surpassed the milestone on November 20. Stony Brook's Mitchell Beauford scored his 1,000th career point on November 12, while UMBC's Brian Hodges hit the mark on February 15, 2007 and is the league's active scoring leader with 1,411 career points.

Team-By-Team Notebook
Albany (9-9, 4-2 America East) recorded conference road wins at Boston U. (70-63) and Hartford (73-63) last week to move into a tie for first place in the America East standings... The Great Danes, who have won four of their last five outings, have strung together three straight road victories... UAlbany shot a season-best 54.5 percent from the field against Boston U... Brian Lillis (Urbandale, Iowa / West Des Moines Dowling) had 27 points and 12 rebounds to become the first UAlbany player to register back-to-back double-doubles at the Division I level... Lillis, who is averaging 21.5 points against conference opponents, added 15 points and 10 rebounds against Hartford... Andre Duncan was the last Great Dane to post three consecutive double-doubles in February 1998... UAlbany held Hartford to 35.8-percent shooting, the seventh opponent under the 40-percent mark this season... Brent Wilson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa / Prairie) struck for 17 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth career double-double... Lillis and Wilson are the fourth UAlbany duo to record double-doubles in the same game in the program’s Division I era... Wilson climbed to No. 22 on the all-time scoring list with 1,070 points... Jerel Hastings (Dallas, Texas / South Oak Cliff) added a career-best 16 points against the Hawks... Hastings is averaging 9.3 points and shooting 52.8 percent from the field in the month of January... Jon Iati moved up to No. 28 on the program’s career scoring chart with 1,015 points... Iati became the fifth player in team history to surpass the 200-career mark (201) in three-point field goals made... the senior guard’s rainbow 3-pointer with 2:11 remaining beat the shot clock and helped seal the outcome against Hartford... Jimmie Covington (Chicago, Ill. / Morgan Park) tallied a season-high six points at Hartford, while Brett Gifford (Columbia, Mo. / Rock Bridge) pulled down a career-best six rebounds at Boston U...

Binghamton (8-10, America East 4-2) grabbed a share of first place with two home wins during the week. The Bearcats beat Stony Brook by six points and held on for a three-point thriller over UMBC... Binghamton has now tied a program Division I-best with six straight home wins, and has won seven of its last 10 games... Freshman guard Brandon Herbert (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) averaged a team-best 13.5 points on 56% shooting in the two games. Herbert, a reserve to start the season, has earned three straight starts and poured in a game- and season-high 20 points in the win over the Seawolves. He then scored seven second-half points as Binghamton held on to beat the Retrievers... Sophomore forward Lazar Trifunovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Secondary Railway Tech) dropped in a jump hook with seven seconds left for the pivotal points against UMBC... Junior forward Reggie Fuller (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower/Angelina College) then tipped and intercepted an inbounds pass and sank two free throws to seal the win. Fuller recorded his first double-double with career highs of 11 points and 12 rebounds... Junior guard Dwayne Jackson (Akron, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) reached double figures for the fourth straight game with 10 points against Stony Brook and 11 vs. UMBC... A robust crowd of 3,507 witnessed the UMBC game while the students were still on break.

Boston University (5-12, America East 2-3) split a pair of games last week, falling to Albany 70-63 before defeating Stony Brook, 59-52... Against Albany, sophomore guard Corey Lowe (Newton, Mass./Newton North) led the Terriers with 20 points to earn Boston University's America East Player of the Game honors. Freshman guard/forward John Holland (Bronx, N.Y./St. Benedict’s (N.J.)) turned in a career-high 19 points on 6-for-14 shooting... Boston U fell into an early hole, missing its first five shots. The Terriers played catch-up for most of the first half but gathered momentum at the end of the frame. Boston U hung tough with UA and won the second-period battle but ultimately fell short... Red-shirt sophomore Tyler Morris (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed a career-high-tying six rebounds in the Terrier’s win at Stony Brook... Sophomore forward Scott Brittain (Oakville, Ont./Iroquois Ridge) added his first double-double of the season, and third in his career, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Red-shirt junior guard/forward Matt Wolff (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) was the third Terrier in double figures, tallying 13 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from deep... Boston U fell behind late in the first half when the Terriers went scoreless over the final seven minutes of the period. But Boston University fought back over the course of the second frame, spurred by timely threes from Wolff to move back in front for good with 6:45 to go in the game.

Hartford (8-11, America East 2-2) dropped games to UMBC and Albany last week... UMBC's Brian Hodges hit a buzzer-beater to hand the Hawks an 86-85 defeat to snap Hartford's three-game winning streak. Sophomore Joe Zeglinski (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) had given the Hawks the lead on the previous possession with a jumper in the lane with 30 seconds remaining in the contest. Zeglinski finished with a career-high 25 points while junior Warren McLendon (Dublin, Ga./West Laurens/The Citadel) poured in a career-high 29 points and added 10 rebounds... Hartford fell into an early hole against Albany and could never recover, losing for only the second time at home by a 73-63 final. The Hawks, who shot a season-low 19 percent in the first half and made only four field goals, trailed by as many as 19 points in the first stanza and 31-18 at the break. Hartford used a 14-0 run in the second half to cut the deficit to three put would never take the lead. McLendon led three Hawks in double figures with 19 points... Hartford will play three conference games this week, beginning with a road trip at Maine on Monday, January 21. The Hawks will also host Stony Brook on January 24 before traveling to New Hampshire on January 27.

Maine (5-12, America East 1-3) has continued to shoot the ball well, shooting 51 percent the last three games...Freshman forward Sean McNally (Gardiner, Maine) had the first double-figure scoring game of his career against a division I opponent when he went for 11 points on four-of-five shooting against New Hampshire...Mark Socoby (Houlton, Maine) has had six consecutive double-digit scoring games, including three-20 point games...Brian Andre (Bingham, Maine) has had three consecutive double-digit and five-plus rebound games...Maine had more assists than turnovers for the second time this season with 15 assists to 13 turnovers against New Hampshire...Sean McNally (Gardiner, Maine) had nearly 100 people in attendance from his hometown for his “Hometown Hero Day” against Vermont, as the basketball team will be celebrating its nine players from the state of Maine at home games this season...Maine has been using a new introduction this season for starters, taking advantage of a new spotlight previously only used for the men’s hockey team...attendance at home game this season has gone up for three straight games...Maine’s young lineup continues to gain experience as 55 percent of minutes in the last three games have been played by freshmen and sophomores.

UMBC (12-7, America East 4-2) played its second and third consecutive games that came down the final possession last week and split a pair of thrillers... After falling 77-74 to Maine on Jan. 12, the Retrievers hosted Hartford on Jan. 16 in a game that featured 16 ties and an astounding 27 lead changes... Senior guard Brian Hodges (Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop McNamara) had the ball in his hands last and his 23-footer at the buzzer gave the hosts an 86-85 victory... Hodges set a personal mark by scoring 20 points or more in four straight games, as he led UMBC with 24 points... Junior forward Darryl Proctor (District Heights, Md./Paul IV/Coppin State) posted his eighth double-double of the season with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while senior guard Ray Barbosa (Allentown, Pa./Allen/James Madison) had 13 points and a career-high eight assists... UMBC hit 14 of 25 shots from behind the arc and now have recorded three of their top four performances from three-point range in 23 seasons (since the arc debuted) this season... UMBC had lost its previous three decisions decided by six points or less before the Hartford drama, but could not complete an improbable rally at Binghamton and fell, 62-59 to the Bearcats on Saturday... UMBC scored a season-low 18 first half points (ten less than previous low for any half this season) and fell behind by 36-18 two minutes into the second half... But the Retreivers hit 12 of their first 18 shots in the final 20 minutes and erased the deficit to lead 59-56 on a Jay Greene (Whitehall, Pa./Whitehall) layup with 48 seconds left... After two Bearcat free throws, Hodges, an 80 percent free throw shooter, could have restored UMBC’s lead to three, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 24 seconds left and Binghamton’s Lazar Trifunovic’s jump hook with seven ticks remaining gave the hosts the lead for good... Greene’s 30-footer at the buzzer was too strong... Proctor led all scorers in the game with 18 points and added nine rebounds... He is averaging 11.5 rebounds per game in six America East contests... UMBC committed more turnovers (11) than they had assists (10) in the contest for the first time in league play and the first time in eight contests overall... Hodges became the sixth player in school history to amass 1,400 (1,411) points... UMBC will complete the stretch of seven games in 20 days after traveling back up north to take on Boston University on Tuesday.

New Hampshire (5-12, America East 2-3) went 1-1 last week, losing an overtime thriller to Dartmouth on Jan. 15, 65-60, and grabbing an 81-75 win at Maine on Jan. 19 ... junior guard Tyrece Gibbs (Brockton, Mass./Thayer Academy) strung together a pair of great games this week for the Wildcats ... he scored 21 points on 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc, and added seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block versus Dartmouth and then scored 19 on 5-of-8 shooting from long distance, while tallying five rebounds and five assists ... freshman guard Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass./Boys to Men) tallied 13 points and a pair of rebounds against Dartmouth, and then scored 15 points and pulled down seven rebounds to help the ‘Cats to victory at Maine ... Abreu has scored in double digits in seven straight games, including 10 of his last 11 and 15 of 17 overall ... the seven straight is a Wildcat record this season ... junior guard Eric Gilchrese (Springfield, Ill./Lewis & Clark) tallied 20 points, four rebounds and four assists versus Maine ... senior forward Mike Christensen (Reston, Va./Flint Hill) scored nine points and added 11 rebounds against Dartmouth, and tallied 10 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals versus Maine ... freshman forward Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) tallied eight points and 11 rebounds against Dartmouth, and chipped in with seven points and four rebounds at Maine ... the ‘Cats return to action Thursday, Jan. 24 when they play host to Binghamton University at 7 p.m.

Stony Brook
(4-13, America East 1-4) lost a pair of games this week, falling on Wednesday at Binghamton and then losing a home decision to Boston University on Saturday. Senior Emanuel Neto scored a team-high 14 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds but it wasn't enough as the Seawolves rallied late but fell short against the Binghamton Bearcats Tuesday night at the Events Center, 67-61. The Bearcats looked to be on their way to easy victory, leading by 12 at 57-45 with just over four minutes remaining. But the Seawolves rallied back, outscoring Binghamton 14-4 over the next four minutes to cut their deficit to two with 26 seconds left on a steal and lay-up from freshman Chris Martin. But Mike Gordon made a pair of free throws with 25 seconds left to push the lead to four, and BU converted 6-of-8 from the line in the final 25 seconds to seal the win. The Seawolves then lost a nine-point second half lead on Saturday to Boston University, falling 59-52. The Seawolves led 37-28 with 13:51 to go in the second half but the Terriers then went on an 18-6 run over the next several minutes highlighted by three three-pointers from Matt Wolff. Wolff's three-pointer with 5:26 to go broke a 43-43 tie and gave the Terriers the lead for good.

Vermont (8-9, 3-2 America East) won its only game of the week, 75-58 at Maine on Wednesday ... Trailing 34-32 with 16:14 left in the contest, the Catamounts responded with a 20-3 run and never looked back ... It was Vermont’s first conference road win of the season ... Sophomore Marqus Blakely (Metuchen, N.J./Metuchen) went for 29 points, nine rebounds, five steals, three blocks and three assists to lead the Cats ... The 29 points were one off a career-high, while the five steals were a new personal best ... Blakely went 12-for-16 from the floor, including seven dunks ... Freshman Joey Accaoui (Lincoln, R.I./St. Andrew’s) went for a career-high 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor ... The Catamounts shot 63.3 percent (19-30) from the floor in the second half ... UVM used its seventh different starting line-up this season ... Sophomore Nick Vier (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Bergen Catholic) matched a career-high with seven assists ... Winners of two straight, the Cats have two league games this week starting with a home contest against Stony Brook on Monday (7 p.m.) and then travel to face Boston University on Friday at 9 p.m. in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.