Just as the seedings were meant to play out, the two top teams in the America East Conference are meeting in the title game of the 33rd annual conference tournament this morning as the Stony Brook Seawolves entertain the Vermont Catamounts at Stony Brook Arena for the right to participate in the NCAA Tournament.
The top seeded Seawolves are seeking their first-ever AEC Tournament title and invitation to the NCAA Tournament and have reason to be confident in their abilities. Last year the team made it to the title game as well, but lost to Boston University by a mere two points (56-54). Entering this year's tourney Stony Brook had a record of just 7-10 in the event but managed to add a couple more tallies to the win column with victories over Binghamton and Albany in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds this year.
As for the Catamounts, the second seed in this event, they defeated Maine by double figures in their first game in the tournament and then were pushed to double overtime by Hartford last Sunday but still came up with the 77-73 triumph. Vermont is shooting for its fifth AEC Tournament championship today. Since 2003 and counting this meeting, Vermont has played in the title game now a total of seven times.
Vermont leads the overall series against the Seawolves by a count of 18-6, but Stony Brook has won four of the last seven encounters. The teams split their two matchups this season with the Seawolves putting up a 65-59 win at home to kick off the month of January. The second week of February saw Vermont capture a 68-49 decision on its home floor.
For the 12th season in a row the Catamounts won a major conference award as Four McGlynn brought home American East Rookie of the Year honors as he placed second on Vermont in scoring with 11.9 ppg. While he shot just 39.1 percent from the field over the course of 33 games, all of which he spent as a reserve, McGlynn was able to converted a team-best 61 three-point baskets. Against Stony Brook he was especially accurate with 7-of-14 shooting beyond the arc in their two meetings. Matt Glass was tops in scoring overall for the group with his 12.1 ppg, lifting his efforts to 13.5 ppg in conference play, followed by Luke Apfeld with 10.4 ppg for a team that generated 67.7 ppg overall and held the opposition to just 61.0 ppg.
Stony Brook has only been a member of Division I basketball for just over a decade and for the majority of that time the team has been beaten up by the rest of the AEC and assorted non-conference opponents. The Seawolves have managed to raise a few eyebrows the last few years, with much of the credit going to Bryan Dougher who this year alone has more double-digit scoring games (24) than all but two of his teammates have in his career. Dougher has turned the trick a total of 90 times in his career now and leads the team in scoring overall in 2011-12 with 13.4 ppg, attempting about two-third of all his field goal attempts from behind the three-point line. Dave Coley checks in with another 10.0 ppg and Tommy Brenton (8.1 ppg) 8.0 rpg to pace the team in that department where they are top-five in the nation with a rebounding advantage of more than eight per game.