Danes can’t buy a basket in 64-54 loss

Where’s the UAlbany offense? Even without leading scorer and rebounder Joe Zeglinski, Hartford still
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Where’s the UAlbany offense?

Even without leading scorer and rebounder Joe Zeglinski, Hartford still had more than enough firepower to bounce University at Albany, 64-54, in the America East Conference opener for both teams Saturday at the Chase Arena at Reich Family Pavilion.

Zeglinski sat out the game with a severely sprained ankle, but the Hawks didn’t really need him against the cold-shooting Great Danes. Albany shot only 38.9 percent from the floor and was 3-for-16 from beyond the arc.

Hartford (1-0, 5-9) connected on eight of 23 shots from three-point range, including back-to-back threes by Morgan Sabia in the final four minutes to help the Hawks pull out to a 60-49 lead. The Danes couldn’t recover.

Sabia finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Jaret von Rosenberg chipped in with 13 points, and Michael Turner scored 11 for the Hawks. Hartford also shot 20-for-28 from the line, compared to 9-for-14 for the Danes.

“I thought the better team won,” said Albany head coach Will Brown, who was denied his 100th career victory.

“I was hoping Zeglinski played today, because he takes quick shots. When he isn’t playing, they make you defend. They break you down. In the first half, we did a solid job defending, but in the second half, we played more zone, and they got comfortable knocking down a few threes.”

“Any time you play Albany, you know you’re going to face a competitive, well-coached and tough team,” said Hartford head coach Jeff Leibovitz. “It feels great to get a win at this point. They [the Hawks] deserve to enjoy this. As a team, we played one of the best games since I’ve been here.”

The Great Danes jumped out to an early 10-3 lead, but then quickly cooled off from the floor, shooting only 36 percent for the first 20 minutes. Albany was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Hartford led by as many as five, 21-16, on a Genesis Maciel three-pointer, and took a 27-25 halftime advantage.

Albany never led in the second half. Every time the Great Danes got within a point, the Hawks would pull away once more.

Hartford held a 43-39 edge until Billy Allen sank Albany’s first three-pointer of the game to cut the Danes’ deficit to 43-42 with 10:14 left.

But Sabia made one of two free throws and then netted a three-pointer to build a five-point Hawks’ edge.

Sabia then converted back-to-back three-pointers in the final four minutes to help the Hawks extend their lead to 60-49 with 2:45 remaining.

“Those threes came to me late in the game through our offense. I knew my teammates would find me,” said Sabia. “Without Joe, we’ve got to get scoring from other players.”

Junior Will Harris led Albany with 17 points and 10 rebounds. It was his first career double-double. Brian Connelly, who was nursing a bruised heel, added a season-best 14 points for the 0-1, 8-6 Great Danes.

“We’ve got some guys who can shoot, but it’s tough to call it a slump,” said Connelly about Albany’s continued shooting woes. “We’ve got to stay confident.”

“This is the toughest team in the league for us to play because of their style,” said Brown.

NOTES

The UAlbany Alumni Assoc­iation sponsored a bus trip to the game, and 50 spectators took the ride. It helped boost a poor crowd because the Hartford students were still on break. . . .

The Great Danes return home after a four-game road swing and host Boston University Thursday night at SEFCU Arena. . . .

Connelly drew four player-control fouls against the Hawks.

ALBANY (54)

Harris 5-10 6-6 17, Raffa 2-7 0-0 4, Ambrose 0-5 0-0 0, Connelly 6-8 2-3 14, Gifford 0-1 0-0 0, Allen 1-7 0-1 0, Hastings 1-2 0-2 2, McRae 1-3 0-0 2, Johnson 3-6 0-0 6, Barraza 2-5 1-2 6. Totals: 21-54 9-14 54.

HARTFORD (64)

vonRosednberg 3-7 5-7 13, Turner 3-10 3-4 11, Torres 1-5 6-6 8, Sabia 5-10 3-6 16, Minor 2-4 2-4 6, Maciel 3-7 1-1 8, Estes 1-2 0-0 2, Brothers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-46 20-28 64.

Halftime: Hartford 27-25. Three-point goals: Albany 3-16 (Harris 1-4, Raffa 0-2, Allen 1-7, Barraza 1-3); Hartford 8-23 (VonRosenberg 2-5, Turner 2-7, Torres 0-3, Sabia 3-6, Maciel 1-2), Rebounds: Albany 41 (Harris 10), Hartford 28 (Torres 6, Sabia 6). Assists: Albany 10 (Ambrose 3), Hartford 12 (vonRosenberg 4, Turner 4). Personal fouls: Albany 20, Hartford 17. Officials: Gary Pucino, Richard Antonelli, Joe Smoot. Attendance: 1,469.

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