AEC title game pits Great Danes against Catamounts
Burlington, VT (Sports Network) – The top two teams in the America East
Conference will meet in the championship round of the tournament this
afternoon, as the top-seeded Vermont Catamounts host the second-seeded Albany
Great Danes in Burlington, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the
The Catamounts won the AEC regular season title by capturing 15 of their 16
league games. Vermont entered the postseason with an 11-game win streak in tow
and added to that with a pair of decisive wins over Hartford (81-62) and UMBC
(72-63) in the AEC tourney thus far. The Great Danes have posted back-to-back
20-win seasons for the first time in 17 years, now sitting at 22-9.
Albany finished two games back in the league standings (13-3) and made a
statement of its own in this event with earlier wins over New Hampshire (64-47)
and Boston University (59-49). Albany won the tournament title last year, the
team’s first, knocking off Vermont in the title game. The Catamounts have been
in the championship game in each of the last four years, winning three titles
Vermont has owned this series, winning 16 of the previous 19 meetings,
including a pair of victories this season.
The Great Danes trailed against Boston at the half in the semifinals, but held
the Terriers to just one field goal in the first nine minutes of the second
half to earn the victory and spot in the championship round. Jamar Wilson led
the way with 14 points, while Jason Siggers added 13. The Great Danes forced
Boston into 14 turnovers and held the Terriers to 32.7 percent shooting,
including a mere 20 percent from behind the arc (5-of-25). Wilson has been the
conference’s top performer the last two seasons, being named the AEC Player of
the Year in back-to-back campaigns. The 6-1 senior is averaging team-highs of
18.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Siggers and Brent Wilson give the team
two more offensive threats, adding 13.9 and 11.1 ppg, respectively.
The Catamounts will counter with the inside/out combination of AEC-First Team
members Mike Trimboli and Chris Holm. Trimboli leads the team in scoring (16.3
ppg) fueled by a team-high 64 three-pointers. While Trimboli handles his
business from the perimeter, Holm is one of the conference’s premier frontcourt
players, averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and a conference-best 12.4
rebounds per game. Vermont have posted an impressive 26 wins this season and
that kind of success has earned head coach Mike Lonergan AEC Coach of the Year.
Trimboli and Holm combined for 38 points in the semifinal win over UMBC.
Trimboli was 7-of-13 from the floor, finishing with 20 points. Holm added 18
points and grabbed 15 boards. Kyle Cieplicki added 12 points in support for
Vermont, which shot .481 from the floor in the game.