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Vermont, Stony Brook stand atop America East standings

Vermont is perfect in conference play and looks to create a two-game lead in the standings when it travels to Stony Brook Wednesday night.

Syndication: Cincinnati
John Becker and the Vermount Catamounts are 5-0 in America East play for the fifth time in the last six season.
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer, Cincinnati Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Vermont finds itself in familiar territory – atop the America East standings. The Catamounts are 5-0 in conference play for the fifth time in the last six seasons. They are 13-4 on the season and winners of seven straight.

In their most recent game, they defeated Hartford 82-72. Vermont led by 17 at halftime, but the Hawks stormed back and even took the lead in the second half. The Catamounts closed the game on a 13-4 run.

Preseason All-Conference selection Ben Shungu notched 24 points, and Ryan Davis, who leads the conference in scoring at 17.3 points per game, netted 21.

Vermont’s next game is against preseason favorite Stony Brook on Wednesday. The Seawolves sit in second place at 4-1 in the conference and 12-6 overall. These two teams already met, less than two weeks ago, and the Catamounts came away with a 98-65 win at home. In that game, Vermont tied a conference record and set a program record by knocking down 19 3-pointers.

Since that defeat, Stony Brook has won three straight, topping UMBC, Binghamton and Albany in order. In the victory over Albany, five Seawolves reached double figures. The team as a whole shot 62.5% in the second half. Stony Brook leads the conference in scoring at 72.9.

The surprise team so far has been Binghamton. The Bearcats were picked last in the preseason poll after a 4-10 season last year. They have already matched their conference win total from each of the last two seasons and sit in third place at 4-2. It is their best start to America East play in 13 years.

Binghamton has picked up wins over UMass Lowell, Albany, Maine and NJIT. Two games ago, the Bearcats lost to Stony Brook 74-71. They trailed by as much as 10 and pulled within one in the final seconds but came up just short of completing the comeback.

The Bearcats rebounded with a 68-57 win over NJIT. Trailing by six at the break, they outscored the Highlanders by 15 in the second half, thanks in large part to a 16-2 run. Jacob Falko scored 20 points, and Christian Hinckson registered 15 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.

Next in the standings are a trio of teams who are .500. Defending champion Hartford is 1-1, despite a 3-11 overall record. New Hampshire sits at 2-2, and Albany stands at 3-3.

Just below .500 is NJIT at 3-4. UMass Lowell and UMBC are both 2-4. Maine sits in last place at 0-5.