Vermont (11-8) at Stony Brook (13-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 24, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pritchard Gymnasium (1,630) -- Stony Brook, New York. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Vermont 5-2, Stony Brook 7-1. Away Record: Vermont 5-6, Stony Brook 5-3. Neutral Record: Vermont 1-0, Stony Brook 1-2. Conference Record: Vermont 5-0, Stony Brook 5-0. Series Record: Vermont leads, 20-7.
GAME NOTES: The top two teams in the America East Conference collide on Friday night at Pritchard Gymnasium, as the Stony Brook Seawolves play host to the Vermont Catamounts.
The Seawolves are the three-time AEC champions and are making a serious play for a fourth crown. Stony Brook is a perfect 5-0 in-conference thus far. The Seawolves bring a 20-game home win streak in conference play into this contest. The team has won four in a row overall, including an 81-62 blasting of UMBC on the road on Monday.
The Catamounts return all five starters from a team that was picked to win the AEC this year. Vermont has done little to prove the prognosticators wrong, as the team brings a seven-game win streak into this game. The team is tied with Stony Brook atop the AEC standings at 5-0 thanks to Monday's 57-40 rout of New Hampshire.
Vermont holds a commanding 20-7 lead in the all-time series with Stony Brook, although the two teams have split the last 10 meetings.
The Catamounts trailed 30-20 at the half against New Hampshire, but held UNH to a mere 10 points in the second half to earn a 17-point win. Freshman Kurt Steidl led the comeback with 13 of his 16 points coming after intermission. Sandro Carissimo added 11 points to the cause, while Brian Voelkel grabbed 15 rebounds and in the process became the school's all-time leader in that category (1,065).
Vermont is not an offensive juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination at a modest 69.5 ppg, but the team does enjoy a +6.4 scoring margin, limiting foes to just 63.1 ppg on .408 shooting. Clancy Rugg leads the team in scoring at 13.6 ppg. Carissimo is a close second at 13.3 ppg. The 6-foot-6 Voelkel doesn't score much at just 6.7 ppg, but makes his presence felt as both the team's top rebounder (8.6 rpg) and distributor (5.8 apg).
The Seawolves dominated play on the glass, outrebounding UMBC 41-27 and shot a solid .462 from the floor in the road win. Dave Coley was just 4-of-11 from the floor, but went 13-of-15 from the free-throw line to pace all scorers with 22 points in the win. Jameel Warney had a strong game inside, posting a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Carson Puriefoy and Anthony Jackson tacked on 14 and 11 points, respectively, for Stony Brook.
Scoring depth has not been a problem for Stony Brook this season, with the team netting 74.1 ppg, thanks to a scoring pool that features four players in double figures. Warney highlights the play on the frontline, shooting .660 from the floor and averaging 15.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Jackson is next in the scoring column for the Seawolves at 14.0 ppg. Puriefoy (11.9 ppg) and Coley (11.8 ppg) round out the potent quartet.
This conference race may come down to the wire as these two teams meet again in the last week of the regular season. Give the edge to the Seawolves in this one. The homecourt advantage, along with Stony Brook's obvious edge offensively, should tip the scales in its favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stony Brook 69, Vermont 64
01/24 10:31:35 ET