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America East Quarterfinals Recap

March 9, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

America East Quarterfinals Recap

Recap by Adam Reich

No. 4 Maine 79, No. 5 Binghamton 77
A pair of free throws by Joe Campbell with 3.9 seconds to play provided the difference as Maine outlasted Binghamton in overtime, 79-77. However, the game’s deciding play came with just under one minute to go in the extra session. With Maine trailing 75-73, Binghamton forward Billy Williams was whistled for a questionable foul on point guard Eric Dobson. In the ensuing melee a technical foul was called on the Bearcats’ Nick Billings. The Black Bears converted all four free-throws to take a 77-75 lead.

After a Joel Casseus put-back off a Billings miss tied the game at 77, Maine set up for the final shot. Out of the timeout, Eric Dobson’s drive came up empty, but Campbell scooped up the rebound and was fouled, setting up the game-winning free-throws.

Down 68-63 with just over a minute remaining in regulation, Eric Dobson hit a clutch three-pointer and then drained a pair of free throws to tie the game, 62-62. Maine had a chance to win it in regulation, but a desperation jumper by Campbell was off the mark.

The Maine win overshadowed the superlative second-half performance of Billings. Maine engineered a 16-8 run out of halftime to grab a 53-39 lead with 15:00 to play. However, as soon as it looked like Maine was about to run Binghamton out of the building, the Bearcats came right back. Coach Al Walker then called Billings’ number. The seven-foot junior answered the call by scoring six straight points and igniting a 21-7 run that pulled Binghamton even at 60-60 with 7:00 left in the game.

Both teams came out on fire in the first half as Maine hit 5-of-8 and Binghamton 6-of-11 field goals in the first seven minutes of action. Brandon Carter and Williams each hit a pair of early three-pointers, the last of which gave the Bearcats a 20-13 lead at the 11:30 mark of the first half. After Binghamton opened up its biggest lead, 23-15, on a Sebastian Hermenier trey, Maine answered with a 10-0 run to take a 25-23 advantage with 6:30 to go in the opening stanza.

For Maine, Dobson (11 first half pts) was able penetrate the Binghamton defense and finish in the lane. The senior point guard was the catalyst as the Black Bears closed the half by outscoring the Bearcats 22-to-8 over the final eleven minutes. After the fast start, Binghamton went ice cold, making only 4-of-19 field goals to enter the break down 37-31.

Dobson finished with a game-high 22 points to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists. Campbell added twenty points and nine rebounds for the Black Bears. Billings tallied twenty points, nine rebounds and four blocks, while Carter, who wound up playing his final collegiate game for Binghamton, also scored twenty.

No 8 Stony Brook 62, No. 1 Boston University 58
In what was arguably the greatest upset in America East Tournament history, Stony Brook shocked Boston University 62-58, in front of what was virtually a home crowd for the Terriers.

With the game tied at 58, and thirty seconds left on the clock, Stony Brook guard D.J. Munir spun away from his defender and drove down the left side. The senior point guard gently kissed the ball of the glass for two points and a 60-58 Stony Brook lead.

The Terriers went for the win on the next possession, as the play was set-up to get Matt Turner a wide-open three in the corner. The senior was off the mark and the rebound went out of bounds off BU. On the Seawolves in-bounds pass the ball ended up in the hands of Munir, who was immediately fouled. With the partisan BU crowd screaming, he missed the front-end of the one-on-one.

Off the rebound, the outlet pass went to Chaz Carr. Carr raced up the sideline, but he had the ball stripped by Mitchell Beauford just over the mid-court stripe. Beauford went in uncontested and slammed the ball through at the buzzer.

With 1:34 remaining and Stony Brook down by one, Beauford picked Ryan Fitzgerald of the ball at half-court. Fitzgerald was then called for an intentional foul as he reached out and grabbed Beaufort before he could go in for the breakaway score. Beauford converted 1-of-2 free-throws to tie the game at 56. A Cori Spencer lay-up on the ensuing possession gave Stony Brook a brief two-point lead before Rashad Bell answered with a turnaround in the paint to once again even the score and set the stage for Munir’s game-winner.

The Seawolves held a 44-41 lead with 9:00 to go when Bell stepped up for the Terriers. The junior forward converted a three-point play to tie the game and then put back his own miss to give the Terriers a 46-44 advantage with 7:30 remaining. The two teams exchanged baskets before four straight points from Carr gave BU a 56-53 lead with 3:22 left to play.

The Seawolves broke out to an early 11-8 lead as they knocked down their first five shots of the game. Meanwhile, the Terriers got off to a sluggish start, hitting only six of their first fifteen shots. Beauford was able to penetrate the sticky Terrier defense, while big man Cori Spencer (9 first-half pts) converted in the paint. For the most part, Stony Brook was able to keep the pace of the game in its favor. Only on a few occasions was BU able to get out on the fast break. Additionally, Beauford and Munir were successful in breaking the Terriers’ full-court press.

But the Terriers made a late first-half run paced by Ryan Butt. The senior forward knocked down 5-of-8 shots, tallying eleven points before halftime. However, the rest of the BU team struggled, hitting only 8-of-23 shots (34.8%). Stony Brook was able to escape into the locker-room with the game tied 30-30, thanks in large part to 12-of-24 shooting and only committing five turnovers in the opening half against an aggressive BU defense.

Spencer finished with a game-high fifteen points, while Munir added fourteen. For the Terriers Bell and Butt each tallied thirteen, while Shaun Wynn netted eleven. Stony Brook’s win marked the first time in America East Tournament history that a team who played in the first-round games the night before won in the quarterfinals. BU lost for only the second time in 25 games.

No. 2 Vermont 58, No. 7 New Hampshire 50
In what was a back and forth battle for most of the game, Vermont eventually shook off a pesky UNH team to win 58-50 and advance to the semifinals. For the victorious Catamounts, T.J. Sorrentine scored a game-high nineteen points, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.

In the waning minutes and the Catamounts clinging to a one-point lead, UVM made all the right plays. They tracked down loose balls, controlled the defensive boards, played solid defense and with a small lead, converted at the line to thwart any chance of a Wildcat comeback.

Early in the second half, UVM forward Scotty Jones had himself a wide-open dunk but clanked it off the back rim. The rebound came flying out to Jermaine Anderson who went coast-to-coast for a lay-up to give UNH a 30-27 lead. However, a pair of treys from T.J. Sorrentine and David Hehn allowed the Catamounts to regain the lead 33-31. Minutes later Jones redeemed himself by sending down a thunderous dunk. Sorrentine followed with a pull-up three-pointer on the fast break and suddenly Vermont had its biggest lead of the game, 38-33, with 12:00 to go.

Klimes picked up his fourth foul at the 10:59 mark with UVM holding a 40-33 lead. At that point UNH made a mini-run and cut the lead to two at 43-41. But Sorrentine came calling again, drilling a long three to push the lead back to five. A few minutes later, with UVM leading by six, Shejdie Childs drilled a big three-pointer to bring UNH back within three. On the ensuing possession, Childs stripped Sorrentine of the ball and coasted in for a lay-up which made it 48-47 with 4:30 remaining. From that point on UVM buckled down on defense and shut down the Wildcats for the rest of the game.

The Catamounts jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead in the first half, but UNH immediately answered with a pair of three-pointers by Blagoj Janev and Griffin Walker to give them an 8-7 lead at the 15:00 mark. A 21-9 UNH run gave them a 23-16 lead as a sloppy Vermont team turned the ball seven times in ten minutes. UVM went scoreless for 4:43 until back-to-back Martin Klimes jumpers cut the lead to 23-20.

Ben Sturgill (7 first-half pts) had his way with the Vermont front line, scoring on an array of low-post moves. On the other end, the Catamounts looked confused with the Wildcats’ zone defense. It wasn’t until the final minutes of the half that Vermont appeared to find a rhythm, closing the half on an electric 11-2 run. UVM only made 12-of-33 field goals (36.4%) in the opening stanza, but still managed to take a 27-25 lead into the locker room at intermission.

The Catamounts, who have now advanced to the semifinals for the third straight season, shot only 35.1% for the game. Like they have most of the season, Vermont used solid defense and rebounding to win.

For Vermont, Germain Njila was immense on the boards, pulling down a game-high eleven rebounds to go along with his nine points. Klimes added twelve points and five boards. Sturgill led UNH with twelve points, while senior Marcus Bullock had six points, eight rebounds and four assists.

No. 6 Hartford 79, No. 3 Northeastern 74
Hartford withstood a furious Northeastern charge in the final minutes to hold on for a 79-74 victory in what was an intense, foul-plagued battle. Guards Aaron Cook and Charles Ford both scored eighteen points for the Hawks, who advance to the semifinals for the third straight season. Hartford shot 50% from the floor and converted 26-of-37 free-throws (70.3%).

Leading by seven with 3:39 remaining Aaron Cook drove to the hoop and was called for a charge, his fifth personal foul. Only eighteen seconds later a Jose Juan Barea drive resulted in Trevor Goode’s fifth foul. And after the Huskies cut the lead to four with 2:57 to go Jose Juan Barea picked up his fifth foul.

After the teams traded baskets, Sylbrin Robinson converted in the paint to cut the lead to two, 76-74, with 47 seconds remaining. After Charles Ford missed a pair of free-throws the Hawks were able to grab the long rebound. Ford had the ball again when Javorie Wilson was whistled for an intentional foul. Ford connected on one-of-two from the line and then Ryan Stys buried a pair to account for the final margin.

A first-team all-conference guard, Barea was frustrated by the pressing defense of the Hawks’ quick guards. He shot only 2-of-8 in the first half and had several uncharacteristic turnovers. At the 16:41 mark of the second half, Barea made a strong drive in which he didn’t get a foul call. He did, however, get a bloody nose and a technical after arguing with the referee.

The second half looked much like the first ended, with the Hawks running and gunning and Northeastern taking ill-advised shots. Cook scored seven quick points as Hartford extended its lead to 56-41 with 14:07 remaining. But on the next Huskies possession Cook picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench. With Cook sitting the Huskies went on a 14-3 run to cut the lead to four, 59-55. The Hawks managed to build the lead back up to eleven before Northeastern made its final run.

The Huskies absolutely exploded in the opening minutes of the first half, hitting on six of their first nine field goal attempts, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, to jump out to a 19-9 lead. Marcus Barnes (19 first-half pts) was the focal point of the Northeastern offense, netting eleven quick points in the game’s first eight minutes.

Early on the Hawks couldn’t generate much offense against the Huskies physical man-to-man defense. But sparked by the play of reserve guard Rich Baker (9 first-half points), Hartford scored thirteen straight points to claim a 28-27 lead with 6:45 to play in the first half. The Hawks extended the lead to seven, 36-29, before another Barnes three-pointer cut the advantage back to four.

But with the Hawks continuing to push the ball up the court, Northeastern began to look fatigued. The lead grew to twelve, 44-32, before another Barnes three-pointer sliced it back to nine. A baseline drive by Charles Ford capped the first half scoring with the Hawks leading 46-35.

Marcus Barnes scored a game-high 36 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including 14-of-17 from the line. Barea managed only nine points on 3-of-12 shooting, and also committed six turnovers. Stys added fifteen points and reserve forward Bo Taylor notched ten points and a game-high eleven rebounds.

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