Wilson, Trifunovic Tabbed Men's Basketball Weekly Award Winners

Release: 01/02/2007
Albany's Brent Wilson was named America East Player of the Week on Tuesday (Jan. 2).
Albany's Brent Wilson was named America East Player of the Week on Tuesday (Jan. 2).
Courtesy: America East Communications

Albany's Brent Wilson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) becomes the third different Great Dane to earn America East Player of the Week honors this season, while Binghamton's Lazar Trifunovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Railway Secondary) earns the first America East Rookie of the Week award of his career. The accolades were announced on Tuesday (January 2).

Wilson averaged 17.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg on the week, while shooting an impressive 66.7 percent from the field (14-of-21) and 40 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-10). He poured in 22 points with nine rebounds in Albany's 59-58 upset victory at Utah. He helped seal the outcome with a steal and an offensive rebound following a missed free throw in the final 10 seconds. Wilson connected on 9-of-14 field goal attempts, including four 3-pointers. He followed that up with 13 points and eight rebounds at Utah Valley State, tying a career-high with three steals.

Trifunovic averaged 17.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg, while shooting 58.0 percent from the field. He scored a season-high 25 points in Binghamton’s 78-65 win over Alcorn State at the New Mexico Lobo Classic. The freshman forward hit 10-of-16 field goals and grabbed seven boards in 28 minutes of work.

Non-Conference Slate Nears End
Four of the league's nine teams have already completed the regular-season non-conference portion of their 2006-07 schedules. Vermont (8-5), Binghamton (7-5), Stony Brook (5-7) and UMBC (4-9) have all wrapped up their non-league slates, while Albany (7-5), Boston U. (3-8), Hartford (6-6), Maine (5-7) and New Hampshire (3-9) all have one regular-season non-conference tilt remaining. Below is a list of the five non-league games that remain.

Regular-Season Non-Conference Games
J 3 Holy Cross at Boston U., 7 p.m. (CN8)
J 16 New Hampshire at Dartmouth, 7 p.m.
J 31 Hartford at Boston College, 7 p.m. (NESN)
F 17 Albany at ESPN BracketBusters, TBA
F 17 Maine at ESPN BracketBusters, TBA

America East Opening Night
The league portion of the 2006-07 slate gets underway on Wednesday, January 3 with America East Opening Night. Four conference tilts and one in-state showdown highlight an evening that will feature t-shirt and 2007 America East Championship ticket giveaways on five campuses around the league.

America East Opening Night Schedule
*Hartford at Maine, 7 p.m.
*UMBC at Binghamton, 7 p.m.
*Stony Brook at Vermont, 7 p.m.
Holy Cross at Boston U., 7 p.m. (CN8)
*UNH at Albany, 7:30 p.m. (AETV: NESN/TW3)

*America East Conference game

Dogs & Cats Roll Into League Play
Albany and Vermont ended the 2005-06 season as the hottest teams in America East when they squared off in the league title game and the two enter the 2006-07 conference season in the same fashion. The Great Danes and Catamounts have both won five of their last six outings and appear to be the league's most consistent squads to date. Albany is hoping to win back-to-back regular-season and tournament titles for the first time in program history, while Vermont will try to become the third team in league history to make it to five-straight conference title games.

Preseason All-Conference Update
Back on November 1, the reigning America East Player of the year, Jamar Wilson (Bronx, N.y./All Hallows/Our Savior New American School) of Albany, and the league’s other returning first team all-conference selection, Blagoj Janev (Sydney, Australia/Australian Institute of Sport) of New Hampshire, highlighted the 2006 America East Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team. Wilson and Janev were unanimous selections as they both received all eight possible preseason votes from the league’s head coaches (coaches were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes). Joining Wilson and Janev on the preseason squad was Kevin Reed (yarmouth, Mass./Dennis-yarmouth/St. Thomas More) of Maine, Mitchell Beauford (Queens, N.y./Christ the king) of Stony Brook and Mike Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./St. Luke’s School) of Vermont. An update on these five standouts is below.

Name Avg. (League Rank)
J. Wilson 17. 4 ppg (1st), 5.3 apg (t-2nd), 6.3 rpg (3rd)
K. Reed 11.2 ppg (20th), 5.6 rpg (10th)
B. Janev 13.5 ppg (t-9th), 5.7 rpg (9th)
M. Beauford 13.5 ppg (t-9th), 2.1 apg (t-18th)
M. Trimboli 13.7 ppg (8th), 5.7 apg (1st)

Newbies Invade
Albany senior Jamar Wilson (Bronx, N.y./All Hallows/Our Savior New American School) continues to lead the league in scoring, but one of the biggest stories of the 2006-07 season has to be the invasion of newcomers around America East. Three of the conference's top six scorers are new faces to the America East and five of the league's nine teams are being led in scoring by a newcomer. Below is a breakdown of the league's top newcomers based on scoring average.

Name, Cl., School Avg. (League Rank)
Ricky Lucas, Jr., Stony Brook 15.6 ppg (2nd)
Joe Trapani, Fr., Vermont 15.1 ppg (3rd)
Tyler Morris, Fr.-R, Boston U. 14.4 ppg (6th)
Richard Forbes, Jr., Binghamton 13.3 ppg (12th)
Joe Zeglinski, Fr., Hartford 12.9 ppg (12.9)
Junior Bernal, Fr.-R, Maine 11.8 ppg (17th)
Corey Lowe, Fr., Boston U. 11.6 (18th)

Conference Climb
With just five regular-season non-conference games remaining, America East squads have sailed past last year's non-conference win total. America East teams are currently 48-60 (.444) in 2006-07, compared to just 33-69 (.324) a season ago. The conference is on pace to register 50 regular-season non-conference victories this campaign, which would be the most since the league recorded 52 in 1994-95 when there were also nine teams in the league.

Above .500
Four league teams are currently .500 or better on the 2006-07 season. Last season, only Albany (8-8) posted a non-conference mark of .500 or better.

Danes Down Utah
Albany recorded a tough non-conference road victory as the Great Danes edged Utah, 59-58, on Dec. 28. Jamar Wilson (Bronx, N.Y./Our Savior New American School) hit a fastbreak layup with 34 seconds remaining to put the Danes ahead for good. Brent Wilson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) turned in a 22-point, 9-rebound performance and sealed the upset with a steal and an offensive rebound over the final 10 seconds. Jason Siggers (Dallas, Texas/Skyline) added a career-high 22 points and made a career-best six 3-point shots.The Runnin’ Utes, who have made 12 NCAA appearances since 1991, have won 83 percent of their home games since Jon M. Huntsman Center was opened in 1969. The Great Danes committed a season-low nine turnovers and canned 11-of-26 three-point attempts.

Road Warriors
The biggest component to America East's non-conference success this season has been the ability of league teams to win on the road. Conference teams have combined to win 29 road games in 2006-07, compared to just nine a season ago. The most notable road victory to date was Vermont's victory at #14 Boston College, but the overall road successes of the league could loom large when the league's automatic qualifier is seeded for the NCAA Tournament and for other postseason candidates as well.

RPI Report
The Collegiate Basketball News RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) Report was release on Monday (Jan. 1) and America East dropped one spot to the 24th-ranked league in the nation. Vermont moved up 16 spots on the week, passing Albany for the highest ranked America East team. The Catamounts are currently 129, while the Great Danes are 130.
• As a conference, the league ranks 24th in the country, which is three spots higher than last season's final RPI of 27, and 13th among other mid-major leagues. Most notably, America East ranks ahead of the MAAC (26th overall/15th among mid-majors) and the Ohio Valley (27th/16th).
• Six of the nine America East members currently boast higher RPIs than they finished with a season ago.
• Four America East members have made significant jumps in the RPI when compared to the 2005-06 campaign. See the list below that compares last year's final RPI with this year's current RPI and the number of spots each school has moved up.

School 2005-06 2006-07 Increase
Stony Brook 310 190 +120
Vermont 212 129 +83
Hartford 268 187 +81
UMBC 297 238 +59

Lights, Camera, Action
America East announced its most comprehensive television schedule in history with more than 50 men’s and women’s basketball games slated for broadcast in 2006-07 (see following page for complete schedule). Included in the package is the America East Men’s Basketball Championship, which will air live on ESPN2 on March 10 at 12 noon. It marks the 19th-consecutive year that the championship game will appear on ESPN/ESPN2. America East and ESPN Regional Television will team up to produce and distribute games throughout the America East geographic footprint, which includes several of the nation’s top 25 media markets including New York (No. 1), Boston (No. 5), Washington, D.C. (No. 8), Baltimore and Hartford. In addition, no fewer than 12 games will be included in the ESPN Full Court package, the subscription service provided by ESPN. The games will also be available on-line via video streaming at AmericaEast.com.

Championship Tickets On Sale now
Tickets for the 2007 America East Men's Basketball Championship on March 2-4 at Boston University's Agganis Arena are on sale now. To purchase tickets visit www.AmericaEast.com.

Championship returns to Boston
The America East Men’s Basketball Championship returns to Boston in 2007 as Boston University hosts the nine-team tournament on March 2-4 at Agganis Arena. The first round game will take place on Friday, March 2, followed by the quarterfinals on Saturday, March 3 and the semifinals on Sunday, March 4. Tournament ticket packages are $30 for youth/students and $60 for adults. To purchase tickets call 617-353-GoBU or online at www.AmericaEast.com. To request media credentials for the conference’s premier event, email K.J. Cardinal (cardinal@americaeast.com).

Albany Great Danes
Albany (7-5, 0-0 America East) is above the .500 mark for the first time after 12 games as a Division I program... The Great Danes split a pair of contests on their recent trip to the Beehive State... UAlbany edged Utah, 59-58, on Dec. 28, as Jamar Wilson (Bronx, N.Y./Our Savior New American School) hit a fastbreak layup with 34 seconds remaining... Brent Wilson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Prairie) turned in a 22-point, 9-rebound performance... Wilson sealed the upset with a steal and an offensive rebound over the final 10 seconds... Jason Siggers (Dallas, Texas/Skyline) added a career-high 22 points and made a career-best six 3-point shots... The Runnin’ Utes, who have made 12 NCAA appearances since 1991, have won 83 percent of their home games since Jon M. Huntsman Center was opened in 1969... The Great Danes committed a season-low nine turnovers and canned 11-of-26 three-point attempts... Utah Valley State ended UAlbany’s five-game winning streak on Dec. 30 with a 73-66 come-from-behind decision... The Wolverines, who have won 17 of their last 20 home games, shot 60 percent from the field in the final period to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit... UAlbany lost when leading at the intermission for the first time since Feb. 16, 2005, plus had its string of three-straight road victories halted... Jon Iati (York, Pa./York Catholic) scored a season-high 25 points off the bench, including 17 in the second half, and made a career-high seven 3-pointers... Iati, who scored 20-plus for the eighth time as a collegian, tied the second-highest single-game three-point field goal total in the program’s Division I history... The junior guard is now fifth on the UAlbany all-time chart with 140 three-pointers... Jamar Wilson had 14 of his 20 points in the opening period... Wilson moved into third place on the school’s career assists list with 395... UAlbany begins defense of its first-ever America East Conference championship this week with games against New Hampshire and Binghamton... The Great Danes have recorded their most non-conference wins (7) since joining America East in 2001-02.

Binghamton Bearcats
Binghamton (7-5, 0-0 America East) completed its non-conference schedule by going 1-1 at the New Mexico Lobo Classic... There, the Bearcats continued their offensive production by averaging more than 80 points a game... Binghamton, which ranked sixth in the league in scoring last season, currently leads the conference with a 71.3 average... The seven non-conference wins are the most in Binghamton's Division I tenure and mark a dramatic improvement over last season's 3-9 non-conference record... Junior guard Mike Gordon (Plainfield, N.J./Plainfield) was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 12.0 ppg and 9.0 apg in the two games... Gordon scored a career-high 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting against Pepperdine before tying a tournament record with a career-high 11 assists in Binghamton's win over Alcorn State in the consolation game... Senior forward Duane James (Miami, Fla./S. Florida International Academy/Miami Dade JC) averaged a double-double at the tournament... He grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds against Pepperdine and one night later scored a career-high 22 points... Freshman Lazar Trifunovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Secondary Railway Technical School) scored a season-high 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting against Alcorn State and averaged 17.0 ppg on 58 percent shooting... Binghamton's return travel from New Mexico was altered due to a record snow fall in Albuquerque... With the airport closed, Binghamton bussed 15 hours to Dallas and returned to Vestal one day later.

Boston University Terriers
Boston U. (3-8, 0-0 America East) is currently on a four-game slide after dropping two games and finishing in fourth place at the 2006 Aeropostale Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 28-29... In the 45-44 overtime loss to St. John’s on Dec. 28 neither team could get much of an edge in the first half after the Terriers came back from an 8-2 deficit to open the game... The two teams knotted the score at 13, 15, and 17 apiece before red-shirt freshman Tyler Morris (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) hit a ten-foot jumper with 1.0 seconds left to give Boston U. a 19-17 halftime lead... There were seven lead changes to start the second period, including two ties, before St. John's Avery Patterson sunk a three-pointer at 6:31 to put the Red Storm up by four, 37-33... St. John's ran its lead to six, 40-34, at 4:54, but Boston U. came back with a 6-2 run through the end of regulation to tie the game at 42 and send it to overtime... Boston U. had several chances in OT before senior Omari Peterkin's (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands/Antilles School) jump hook that bounced off the rim as time expired... Peterkin was one point from a double double (nine points, 11 rebounds) to lead the Terriers... The senior also posted a career-high five blocks... Freshman Valdas Sirutis (Gargzdai, Lithuania/Tidewater Academy (Va.)) had his best game in the scarlet and white (six points, six rebounds) after missing the first four with an injury... In the 58-53 loss to St. Joseph’s in the consolation game on Dec. 29, Boston U. fell behind early, plagued by two scoring droughts of four and five minutes in the middle of the first half that allowed St. Joseph's to take as much as a 20-8 lead... SJU capitalized in the middle of the second half with an 11-0 run to give the Hawks a double-digit lead and enable them to keep the Terriers at arm's length for the rest of the way... Morris had a game-high 17 points, for his seventh double figure game this season.

Hartford Hawks
Hartford (6-6, 0-0 America East) dropped its only contest last week, falling 81-71 to Canisius College at Chase Arena at Reich Family Pavilion... The Golden Griffins shot 56 percent for the game and got 22 points from Chuck Harris and 21 from Jovan Robinson... Senior Bo Taylor (Reston, Va./Paul VI Catholic/Bishop O'Connell/South Lakes) led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting... The loss was Hartford's first at home this season... The Hawks compiled six wins during the first two months of the season. The last Hartford team to win six games by the turn of the new year was the 1996-97 squad... Hartford will play one final non-conference game at Boston College on January 31... A win would give the Hawks seven non-conference victories for the first time since 1990-91... Hartford will open America East play at the University of Maine on January 3 at 7 p.m... The Hawks are 15-7 all-time in conference openers since joining the league for the 1984-85 season. Last year Hartford opened the conference season with a win over Maine at home.

Maine Black Bears
Maine (5-7, 0-0 America East) dropped an 89-69 decision to Nevada on Thursday night in Reno, Nev. in its lone game of the week... Nevada is ranked 18th in the nation in the latest ESPN/USA Today Poll... The Wolf Pack outscored the Black Bears by just three points in the second half... The 41 points that Maine scored in the second half was the third most points in the second half of a game this season...  Maine's last three losses have come at Nevada, Providence and Penn State... The Nevada game was a homecoming for Black Bears Jon Sheets (Grass Valley, Calif./Nevada Union/Yuba City CC) and Christian Cavanaugh (Marin County, Calif./Tamalpais) who were each playing within a few hours of their hometowns... Sheets has 10 points in the homecoming... Maine was led by rookie Junior Bernal (Manhattan, N.Y./Hyde School/MCI) who had 18 points which tied his career-high... He also had four assists, four steals and three rebounds... Rookie Mark Socoby (Houlton, Maine/Bangor) was also impressive as he had 11 points, including going 6-of-7 from the free throw line... Brian Andre (Bingham, Maine/Valley/University at Buffalo) earned the start in the game for Maine and chipped in with nine points... The Black Bears shot a season-high 93.3 percent from the free throw line as it hit 14-of-15 shots... Maine committed just 11 turnovers in the game... The Black Bears swing into America East play this week as they host Hartford on America East Opening Night.

UMBC Retrievers
UMBC (4-9, 0-0 America East) had not met a team from the Northeast Conference since joining America East in the 2003-04 season until facing Central Connecticut on Dec. 30... The Retrievers dropped a 66-52 decision as the Blue Devils hit 13-of-22 three-point field goals in the game... CCSU evened the all-time series with UMBC at 14 apiece and have won five straight in the series... UMBC had not given up double figures in trifectas since the season opener at St. Peter’s... The Retrievers have lost four-straight games and dropped to 1-3 at home this season... Junior guard Brian Hodges (Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop McNamara) led UMBC with 18 points and was named Marlow Sports America East Player of the Game... he is averaging 19.3 ppg in his last eight outings... Freshman Justin Fry (New Bloomfield, Pa./West Perry) hit five of seven shots and was the lone other Retriever in double figures with 10 points versus Central... UMBC continued to struggle from behind the arc, hitting just 4-of-16 shots on Saturday and are just 29-of-111 (26.2 percent) over the last seven games (1-6)... The Retrievers open league play with road games at Binghamton and Stony Brook, two places where they have yet to record road victories... UMBC has won a pair of tournament games at Binghamton’s Events Center... The Retrievers are 2-1 in America East lid-lifters... In UMBC’s last meeting versus Stony Brook, Hodges hit for 33 points in the 88-70 win in the opening round of the 2006 America East Conference Tournament.

New Hampshire Wildcats
New Hampshire (3-9, 0-0 America East) registered a 1-1 record for the week... The Wildcats participated in the Kent State Classic this past weekend... UNH opened the tournament with a thrilling 65-64 victory over Elon in the first round as senior co-captain Blagoj Janev (Sydney, Australia/Australia Institute of Sport) poured in 22 points, while classmate Jermaine Anderson (Beverly, Mass./Phillips Exeter) posted six points, six assists and five rebounds... Anderson scored the winning basket with two seconds remaining when he raced down the full length of the court to put the ‘Cats into the title game on a drive to the basket... UNH suffered a tough 74-47 loss to the host team Kent State in the title game... Janev recorded a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) en route to being named to the all-tournament team... UNH’s season-high two game winning streak was snapped in the loss... UNH enters conference play with its seventh-straight road game as they take on defending conference champion Albany on Wednesday (Jan. 3) at 7 p.m... The Wildcats won two regular-season games against Albany last season, but lost in the semifinal round in the America East Tournament ending their 2005-06 campaign with an overall record of 12-17... UNH remains on the road with a visit to the Maine on Saturday (Jan. 6) with the tip-off set for 7 p.m.

Stony Brook Seawolves
Stony Brook (5-7, 0-0 America East) fell in its only contest of the week, dropping a 95-66 decision to No. 19/24 Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday evening... The Seawolves wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a 5-7 record, eclipsing their total win output from last season... Mike Popoko (Baltimore, Md./McDonough School) and Mitchell Beauford (Queens, N.Y./Christ the King) each scored 14 points against the Fighting Irish in a game that was televised on the Madison Square Garden Network... Solomon Bamiro (Central Islip, N.Y./Central Islip) returned to the lineup for Stony Brook and recorded seven points and two boards in 26 minutes of action... Freshman point guard Eddie Castellanos (Hoboken, N.J./Hoboken) directed the offense all night and dished out a career-best eight assists for the Seawolves... Stony Brook opens up its America East slate when it travels to Vermont on Jan. 3 to take on the Catamounts on America East Opening Night.

Vermont Catamounts
Vermont (8-5, 0-0 America East) won its only contest of the week, 55-48, at Central Connecticut State on Thursday... Senior Chris Holm (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley/URI) had 11 points and a
career-high 17 rebounds, while sophomore Mike Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./St. Luke's) added 12 and freshman Joe Trapani (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) chipped in with 11... Vermont is now 11-3
all-time against Central Connecticut State... UVM is 3-0 when freshman Marqus Blakely (Metuchen, N.J./Metuchen) starts... The Catamounts wrap up the 2006 calendar year with a 16-17 record... Trapani matched his career-high for assists in the first 3:21 of the game, with two... Trimboli averages 17.0 points and 5.0 assists per game against teams from his home state of Connecticut... Vermont is 2-0 on Thursday’s this season... The game was the sixth of a minimum of 11 television appearances for Vermont this season... Four Catamount players hail from the Nutmeg state... Vermont is now 4-2 on TV this season... Vermont is 21-7 when senior Martin Klimes (Prague, Czech Rep./Walsingham Academy) comes off the bench... The Catamounts have won 19 of their last 27 against teams from the state of Connecticut... UVM is 3-0 against Northeast Conference foes this season after also defeating Wagner and Quinnipiac on the road... The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Central against America East opponents... Vermont has out-rebounded 11 of its 13 opponents this season and Holm has reached double digit rebounds 10 times.