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Eastern Basketball's Backcourt Trio is All-Little East Conference; Gonzalez Repeats as Top Defensive Player

Eastern Basketball's Backcourt Trio is All-Little East Conference; Gonzalez Repeats as  Top Defensive Player

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University starting backcourt has been recognized in the season-ending Little East Conference men's basketball awards program, released today.

Junior point guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA) repeated as Defensive Player-of-the-Year and as first-team All-LEC and was joined on the elite team by backcourt teammates and first-time selections Jake Collagan (Wethersfield), a junior, and sophomore Cory Muckle (Westbrook).

The trio led the Warriors (20-7, 13-3 LEC) to a share of the LEC regular-season title and to their ninth 20-win season in the last ten year and gave the program as many as three 400-point scorers in the same season in five years.  Eastern has won or shared the LEC regular-season title six straight years and in seven of the last eight. After winning two straight LEC tournament titles, the second-seeded Warriors were foiled in a bid to become the first team to three-peat in 25 years with a loss in this year's title game.

With Gonzalez, Eastern features the repeat Defensive Player-of-the-Year again. He follows All-America Hugh Lindo, who won it in consecutive seasons in 2016-17. Gonzalez led Eastern in steals (83) and assists (148) for the third straight year He shows a program record 249 steals and is third all-time with 402 assists. This year, he appeared in every game for the third straight year and started all but one for the second time. He reached 1,000 career points during the season and also topped the team in scoring (16.8) for the first time and averaged a career-high 5.1 rebounds.

A second-year transfer from Keene State College, Collagan appeared in every game and started all but one. He doubled his season scoring average from his first year at Eastern by averaging 16.3 points, leading the team with a career-best 83.5 free throw percentage and finishing second to Muckle with 66 three-point field goals. Twice during year, he exceeded 30 points in a game, pouring in 36 Nov. 20 in the home-opener against Connecticut College (tying the program game record with ten three-pointers in the process), and burying 35 (a record 32 coming in the first half) in an LEC game at Castleton University Feb. 13.

Muckle set a program season record with 251 three-point field goal attempts, converting a team-high 90 three-point field goals – second most all-time in a season and only four behind the season leader. He was second to Gonzalez in scoring (16.4 ppg.) and second to Collagan with an 82.4 free throw percentage. He started all 26 games in which he appeared, missing one contest with an ankle injury. Like Gonzalez and Collagan, Muckle reached 30 points in a game, with that career-high total coming in the final game of the season in the LEC finals.

Gonzalez leads the LEC in steals per game (3.1) and is second in assists per game (5.5). Collagan and Muckle rank 3-4 in the LEC in free throw percentage and Muckle is second in three-pointers per game (3.5).

In the last ten years, Eastern is 117-25 in LEC regular-season play and has captured three LEC tournament championships and reached the finals five times.

 

Little East Conference

2018-19 Men's Basketball Awards

     

Player of the Year

Ty Nichols

Keene State

Defensive Player of the Year

CARLOS GONZALEZ

EASTERN CONN.

Rookie of the Year

Dante Rivera

Plymouth State

Coach of the Year

Ryan Cain

Keene State

 

First Team All-Conference

   

Ty Nichols

Sr.

F

Keene State

Springfield, Mass.

 

CARLOS GONZALEZ

JR.

G

EASTERN CONN.

SPRINGFIELD, MASS.

 

Arinze Obiora

Sr.

F

UMass Dartmouth

Hyde Park, Mass.

 

Aaron Samuel

Sr.

F

Western Connecticut

Stratford, Conn.

 

James Anozie

So.

C

Keene State

Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

 

Jayvon Pitts-Young

Jr.

G

Southern Maine

Portland, Maine

 

         

 

Second Team All-Conference

   

Jake Ashworth

So.

G

UMass Dartmouth

Fairhaven, Mass.

 

CORY MUCKLE

SO.

G

EASTERN CONN.

WESTBROOK, CONN.

 

Jaylen LeRoy

Jr.

F

Plymouth State

Manchester, N.H.

 

Benjamin Vezele

Jr.

F

Rhode Island College

Providence, R.I.

 

JAKE COLLAGAN

JR.

G

EASTERN CONN.

WETHERSFIELD, CONN.