CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A pair of point guards, Albany's Mike Black and Boston University's D.J. Irving, who led their team to sweeps last week, have split America East's men's basketball Player of the Week honors. Additionally, Maine's Justin Edwards earned Rookie of the Week accolades for the fifth time this year. The awards for the week ending Jan. 15 were announced Monday afternoon.
Black (Chicago, Ill.) earned his third career Player of the Week award after leading Albany to a pair of wins last week and into a first-place tie with Stony Brook atop the league standings at 4-1.
The junior, who ranks 10th in America East averaging 13.2 points per game and fourth with 4.3 assists per contest, began his week by tallying 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with nine rebounds and four assists in a 86-63 win over New Hampshire on Wednesday. He then added 15 points, nine boards and three dimes in a 76-75 victory over Maine on Sunday. For the week, he averaged 16 points, nine rebounds, 3.5 assists and shot 50 percent (11-of-22) from the field.
Irving (Chester, Pa.) picked up his second Player of the Week award of the season by leading Boston U. to wins over two teams that were previously unbeaten in league play.
The sophomore guard started his week with the best game of his career, scoring 23 points and adding 11 assists in Boston U.'s 77-68 win at Maine. The points-assists double-double was the Terriers' first since 1998. Irving then added 11 points and five assists in a 61-55 win over Stony Brook on Saturday. He keyed his team's 14-2 game opening run with five points and two assists in that stretch and knocked down four clutch free throws at the end to seal the win. For the week, Irving averaged 17 points, eight assists and 2.5 rebounds.
Edwards (Whitby, Ontario) averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in a pair of games last week to claim top rookie honors. The freshman guard began his week by recording his first career double-double in a loss to Boston U. Edwards finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and added six assists. He then nearly led his team to a win at Albany, scoring a team-high 17 points and adding five boards in the 76-75 defeat. For the year, Edwards ranks fifth among league leaders in scoring (15.6 ppg), eighth in rebounds (6.2 rpg) and leads the conference in steals (1.8 spg).
The Honor Roll
Several other America East players had top performances last week:
• Albany's Gerardo Suero poured in a game-high 26 points in a win over Maine Saturday and averaged 21.5 points in two games last week.
• Boston U.'s Darryl Partin averaged 22.5 points per game last week and had two monster second halves, scoring 24 of his 27 after halftime against Maine Wednesday and tallying 16 of his 18 in the second frame against Stony Brook Saturday.
• Andres Torres scored 15 points to go with three assists, two rebounds and two steals in leading Hartford to its second win in three games.
• Patrick Konan averaged 16 points and eight boards in two games last week and led UNH to a win over Vermont Saturday with 19 points.
• Dave Coley scored a career-best 21 points in SBU's loss to Boston U. Saturday. He averaged 14.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds last week.
League Standings Reset
Just one game separates the top four teams in the league standings two weeks into the season. Albany (4-1) moved into a tie for first place with Stony Brook (4-1) by virtue of its win over Maine Saturday and the Seawolves' loss to Boston U. The Terriers (3-1) won both of their games, beating a pair teams (Maine, Stony Brook) which were previously in conference play to climb within a half game of first place. Vermont (3-2) split a pair of games last week and is a game back. Maine (2-2), Hartford (2-2), UNH (1-3), UMBC (1-3) and Binghamton (0-5) round out the standings.
Powered by three of the league's top 10 scorers, Albany (12-7, 4-1 AE) has amassed the best overall record in America East thus far and is in a tie for first place in the league standings. The Great Danes feature the league's second-highest scoring offense (74.7 ppg), which has been even better in league play, scoring 81.4 ppg. Gerardo Suero, Logan Aronhalt and Mike Black are the catalysts for the offense, scoring a combined 51.4 points per game. Suero leads the league and ranks fourth nationally (22.4 ppg), while Aronhalt is fourth (15.8 ppg) and Black is 10th (13.2 ppg).
Turn Around For the Terriers
Coming off a loss at Vermont on Jan. 5, Boston University sat at 4-11 and had lost seven in a row. But, the Terriers have not lost since, winning three straight and climbing to third place, just a half-game out of first, in the league standings. The return to form of D.J. Irving, reigning America East Co-Player of the Week, is a main reason. Irving who sat out the last three non-league games with a concussion, is averaging 13.8 points, 8.0 assists and has just five total turnovers during the win streak. His play has helped the entire offense, which is scoring 68.6 points in its last three games, compared with 56.8 points during the skid.
Conference Position Crucial
Finishing among the league's top two is paramount for teams with championship aspirations. Only twice in America East's 32 year history has a team finished outside the top two and gone on to win the league title. Delaware captured the crown as the No. 3 seed in 1999 while Holy Cross finished third in the league's inaugural year (1979-80) and went on to win the championship.
Home Sweet Home
Taking care of business at home has been a consistent theme for America East's top teams. Stony Brook and Albany are a combined 14-0 at home this year. The Seawolves, who are 7-0, have won eight straight at Pritchard Gym dating back to last season. The Great Danes are 7-0 and are riding an 10-game home court winning streak. Maine is 5-1 while Boston U. has won 13 straight at home against America East foes. Their last loss to a league opponent in Boston came to Vermont on Feb. 9, 2010.
America East boasts three of nation's top offensive threats. In fact, the league is the only Division I conference to have three players ranked among the nation's top 20 scorers. Albany's Gerardo Suero, who has scored 20-plus points 14 times, leads the league and ranks fourth nationally averaging 22.4 ppg. Boston University's Darryl Partin is second in the conference and tied for 14th nationally (20.1) ppg, while Maine's Gerald McLemore is 17th (20.0 ppg). Together the group has combined for 30 20-plus point performances.
Youth is Served
There is a youth movement in America East. No teams regularly start more than two seniors while Albany and Binghamton are two of nine Division I programs without a senior on its roster and Hartford gets 63 percent of its scoring from freshmen. In fact, nine of the conference's top 20 scorers are underclassmen, including four freshmen, led by Maine's Justin Edwards, who ranks fifth among league leaders scoring 15.6 points per game.
A few America East standouts surpassed milestones last week or set themselves up to do so this week. Darryl Partin reached the 1,000-point mark by scoring 27 points at Maine Wednesday. Partin has scored 864 points in 53 career games at Boston U. and had 144 while at La Salle. Logan Aronhalt can become the league's sixth active player with 1,000 points by scoring 23 points against Partin's Terriers Monday. Higher up the leaderboard, Gerald McLemore is 21 points shy of becoming just the 41st player in league history to score 1,500 points.
CBS Sports Package Begins
America East's CBS Sports Network package kicks off Monday, Jan. 16 when Albany visits Boston U. It will be the first time that multiple conference regular-season games will be televised nationally in one season. CBS Sports Network will broadcast five league contests featuring eight America East schools starting in January. America East previously partnered with the Network to televise two men’s lacrosse games in 2010, including the conference championship game. The package kicks off with a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day men’s matchup between defending league champion Boston University and University at Albany on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. The two teams were picked first and fourth, respectively, in the conference’s preseason poll. Old rivals University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont will meet for the 132nd time in men’s action on Jan. 29 at 12 p.m. The Catamounts will then face Stony Brook University in a get together of the league’s last two men’s regular-season champions on February 12. The preseason favorite on the women’s side, UMBC, and 2011 league champion, Hartford, will square off on Feb. 19 at Chase Arena in the first-ever nationally televised conference women’s game. The final game of the package will feature University of Maine at Stony Brook in men’s action on the final day of the regular season, February 26.
Albany Great Danes (12-7, 4-1 AE)
Albany took both games at home last week against New Hampshire, 86-63, and Maine in a thriller, 76-75 ... the Great Danes are now 7-0 at home in the SEFCU Arena this season ... Albany is almost unbeatable when scoring 75 points or more the team, going 10-1 in those games ... Gerardo Suero (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic/Our Savior New American) continued to score totaling 43 points to bring his average up to 22.4 points per game ... Suero went 14-of-16 from the line against Maine to make him the nations leader in both free-throws made and attempted ... Mike Black (Chicago, Ill./Oak Park Fenwick) had a big week falling one rebound shy in both contests to have a double-double going 17 points, nine rebounds versus New Hampshire and 13 points and nine rebounds versus Maine ... Logan Aronhalt (Zanesville, Ohio. Zanesville) is showing to be one of the most consistent free-throw shooters along with scorers in the league ... Aronhalt has made 18 consecutive free-throws to bring his free-throw percentage to 91.0, which is eighth in the country ... The Zanesville native is also 23 points away from 1,000 career points at UAlbany ... UAlbany has a tough test upcoming with two road games, first game is against Boston U. on Monday, Jan. 16 then against Vermont on Thursday, Jan. 20 ... Boston U.'s game will be televised on CBS Sports Network while the Vermont game will be broadcast on ESPN3.
Binghamton Bearcats (0-17, 0-5 AE)
Binghamton came up short in a pair of conference games during the week and the team is still searching for its first win of the season. The Bearcats lost 73-53 at Vermont before suffering a 12-point home setback to Hartford three days later ... Sophomore guard Robert Mansell (Philadelphia, Pa./Cheltenham) averaged 17.0 points in the two games and bumped his season scoring average up to 14.6 points. He sank 10-of-12 from the line en route to a game-high 19 points against Hartford. In conference play, Mansell is averaging 17.8 points while logging more than 38 minutes per game ... Freshman forward Ben Dickinson (Alexandria, Va./Gonzaga) averaged 14.5 points and 5.0 rebounds for the week. Dickinson, who netted a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting at Vermont, lifted his scoring average to 12.4. He is also grabbing a team-high 6.1 rebounds per contest ... Junior guard Jimmy Gray (Binghamton, N.Y./Binghamton) scored 12 points with four assists against Hartford and freshman guard Chris Longoria (Peachtree City, Ga./Wheeler) added 11 points and six rebounds against the Hawks ... This week the Bearcats play two opponents (UMBC and UNH) that Binghamton owns a combined 26-13 overall record against in the 10 years of league play. The Bearcats have won six of the last seven against UMBC and own a 15-6 all-time mark against New Hampshire.
Boston U. Terriers (7-11, 3-1 AE)
Boston U. had an impressive week in which it handed two conference opponents their first loss of the year in league action ... The Terriers scored a season-high 77 points for a nine-point win at Maine on Wednesday and followed with a 61-55 victory over Stony Brook on Saturday ... After Maine opened the second with a basket for 35-27 advantage, Boston U. went 57.7 percent from the field and used 18-6 run to take the lead for good ... Senior Darryl Partin (Seattle, Wash./La Salle) shot 1-of-10 in the first half but then went 9-of-12 to score 24 points in the first 10:30 of the second ... He had 27 points to reach the 1,000-point milestone with 174 coming from La Salle ... Terriers set a school record in 3FG% at 75 percent on 12-of-16 shooting ... Sophomore D.J. Irving (Chester, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) tallied a career-high 23 points and tied a personal best with 11 assists for Boston U.'s first point-assist double-double since 1998 ... Facing SBU on ESPN3 in the rematch of the America East title game, the Terriers jumped out to 14-2 lead and never trailed ... Partin recorded 18 points, while Senior Patrick Hazel (Jamaica, N.Y./Marquette) had eight points and nine rebounds ... Hazel also had three blocks to move into third all-time at Boston U. with 97 ... The Terriers have won 13 straight games at home against AE competition, their longest streak since winning 24 between 1996-98 ... They will next host Albany on Monday at 7 p.m on CBS Sports Network.
Hartford Hawks (2-14, 2-2 AE)
Hartford evened its record in league play at 2-2 with a 69-57 defeat of the Binghamton Bearcats on Sunday afternoon in Vestal ... Four Hawks reached double figures led by 15 points by senior Andres Torres (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) ... A guard, Torres has reached double figures in seven of his last eight outings and has poured in 16.5 points-per-game since the start of league play ... He also led Hartford with three assists, and with 259 on his career, ranks eighth in the program's all-time record books ... Rookie Mark Nwakamma (Leander, Texas/Leander) added a career-high 14 points in the win and pulled down seven boards, also a career-best number, while classmate Wes Cole (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) came off of the bench to net 12 points with a pair of three pointers ... Hartford's bench, which outscored the Bearcats 27-11, accounted for 19 of 26 first half points to help keep the Hawks end the first half facing just a one point deficit ... In his first game back after missing five due to an injury, Genesis Maciel (Los Angeles, Calif/Compton Centennial/Worcester Academy) rounded out the leading scorers with 10 points including a pair of three's ... The Hawks opened the second half with a 6-0 run and shot 64.7-percent in that stanza to gain an 18 points advantage ... Hartford has a busy stretch this week with three games in six days ... The Hawks host UMBC on Tuesday (7 p.m.), travel to Maine on Thursday (7 p.m.) and return home to face Boston University on Sunday (4 p.m.).
Maine Black Bears (8-7, 2-2 AE)
Maine lost to Boston University 77-68 and at Albany 76-75 ... Against the Terriers, freshman Justin Edwards (Whitby, Ontario/Anderson CVI) notched his first double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists while Alasdair Fraser (Falkirk, Scotland/Falkirk Clark Eriksson Fury) added 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists ... In a tight contest at Albany, Edwards had 19 points while making 9-of-10 from the charity stripe and grabbed five boards ... Gerald McLemore (San Diego, Calif./Worcester Academy) added 17 points, and is up to 1,479 career points, 39 away from seventh on the all-time list at Maine ... His 292 three-pointers are 19 shy of the all-time lead at Maine ... Edwards has scored at least 14 points in 11 out of 15 games this season while grabbing at least five rebounds in 11 contests ... McLemore has notched double-figures in 13 out of the 14 games he's played in this season ... Fraser has scored 14 points and grabbed at least eight rebounds in five out of the last seven game...Maine continues play on Monday at Vermont before returning home for a game against Hartford on Thursday.
UMBC Retrievers (1-14, 1-3 AE)
UMBC junior guard Brian Neller (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Bros. Academy) hit three 3-point field goals in the loss to Stony Brook and moved into sixth place on the Retrievers‘ all-time list with 137 ... He scored 13 points and was UMBC’s America East Player of the Game. Junior guard Ryan Cook (Laurel, Md./Pallotti) led the Retrievers with 14 points... Freshman guard Joey Getz (Philadelphia,Pa./Archbishop Wood) played 13 minutes in the second half vs. the Seawolves... It was his first appearance since suffering a leg injury on Nov. 17 vs. Loyola... Getz, who started the first three games of the season, scored two points and added a steal... All 13 UMBC players on the roster dressed for the first time this season vs. Stony Brook and all 25 players in uniform saw action in the game ... For the second time in three weeks, the Retrievers have three contests in a six-game span, starting with a Jan. 17 date at Hartford... After dropping their first five decisions at Chase Family Arena, UMBC has won the last three decisions vs. the Hawks in West Hartford... The Retrievers return home for a two-game homestand, entertaining Binghamton on Jan. 19 and Vermont on Jan. 22.
New Hampshire Wildcats (6-9, 1-3 AE)
New Hampshire finished its most recent week of action with a record of 1-1 ... the Wildcats polished off the stretch with a 72-64 victory over the University of Vermont on Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium ... Patrick Konan (Gainesville, Fla./The Rock School) notched a game-high 19 points and snared eight rebounds, claiming America East Player of the Game honors ... Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass./Boys to Men Academy) chipped in with 12 points, four boards and one helper ... He has scored in double-digits in five straight games, including seven of the last eight contests ... He has notched double-figures in all but three games this season and has never gone back-to-back outings scoring in single digits ... Scott Morris (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) added 10 points off the bench, shooting 4 of 8 from the field and 2 of 5 from beyond the arc ... Earlier in the week the 'Cats dropped a 86-63 decision to the University at Albany at the SEFCU Arena on Wednesday evening ... Konan and Brian Benson (Rochester, N.Y./Greece Athena) registered 13 and 12 points, respectively ... Abreu was the only other Wildcat to score in double-digits, notching 11 points while registering three helpers and two boards ... Konan has been one of most productive Wildcats in the lineup over the course of the last four games, averaging 14 points and 6.8 rebounds per game ... He has scored in double-digits in three of the last four games and has pulled in five-plus boards in five straight contests ... The Wildcats are back in action when they battle Stony Brook University on Monday, Jan. 16 (5 p.m.) at Pritchard Gymnasium.
Stony Brook Seawolves (9-7, 4-1 AE)
Stony Brook split a pair of road games last week, defeating UMBC and losing to Boston University ...the loss ended Stony Brook's six-game winning streak and was the first blemish on the team's America East record ... the Seawolves are still tied for first place at 4-1...the 89-49 win at UMBC was Stony Brook's largest margin of victory against a Div. I opponent in the team's history ... SBU shot a season-high 58.9 percent from the field, its second-consecutive game over 50%...senior Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) led the team at UMBC with 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting and 3-of-3 from 3-point range...he finishes his career shooting 55 percent from the field and 58 percent from three all-time at UMBC...Dougher has scored in double figures in 13 straight games and has 80 career double-digit scoring efforts in his career ... in their homecoming game, juniors Tommy Brenton (Columbia, Md.) and Marcus Rouse (Upper Marlboro, Md.) each had big days ... Brenton had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists...Rouse had 12 points off the bench...sophomore Dave Coley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had eight points and a career-high five assists at UMBC and then busted out with a career-high 21 points at Boston University ... he was 8-for-16 from the field at BU and also had a monstrous block on BU's Matt Griffin during a fastbreak in the second half ... Stony Brook committed 15 turnovers in the loss at Boston U., just the sixth time in 16 games this season SBU has committed 15 or more ... the team is 2-4 when that happens ... Stony Brook will host New Hampshire Monday and play at Maine Saturday ... the Seawolves are putting an eight-game home winning streak on the line against the Wildcats.
Vermont (9-10, 3-2 AE)
Vemront went 1-1 last week in a pair of conference match ups … The Cats opened the week by winning their third straight game overall, topping Binghamton at home 73-53 … Sophomore Clancy Rugg (Burlington, Vt./Northfield Mt. Hermon) netted a career-high 18 points in the win on 6-for-9 shooting from the floor … Vermont shot a season-high 52.8 percent from the floor in the game and led from start to finish … Senior Matt Glass (Underhill Center, Vt./UMass) and freshman Four McGlynn (York, Pa./Dallastown) each added 12 points … Thursday marked Vermont’s third straight double-digit victory … The 20-point margin of victory was the largest of the season for the Cats … It also marked the third straight game that 10 or more Catamounts have scored … On Saturday the Cats dropped a 72-64 decision on the road at New Hampshire … Junior Brendan Bald (Millersville, Md./Severna Park) and Glass paced the Cats with 12 points each … Vermont shot 28.6 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes of play … UVM has now shot 131 free throws in its five America East games, an average of 26.2 per contest … The Cats return to action this week with three games on tap … UVM hosts Maine (Monday - WCAXtra) and Albany (Thursday – ESPN3), and then travels to UMBC on Sunday.