University at Albany is playing for pride and momentum when it closes out the regular season today at 2 p.m. at Maryland Baltimore County’s Retriever Activities Center.
The Great Danes (6-9, 14-14) and Retrievers (6-9, 12-16) are tied for sixth in the America East Conference standings. The winner finishes sixth, while the loser ends up seventh for the upcoming conference tournament, hosted by UAlbany at SEFCU Arena March 6-8.
The Danes are coming off a 64-56 loss at New Hampshire. In that game, Albany held a 32-27 halftime lead, but shot only 20 percent from the floor in the second half. The score was knotted at 49-49 late in the game, but the Wildcats pulled away.
“We’ve got to find ways to score with the eight guys we’re playing right now,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown, who was missing both freshman guard Anthony Raffa and sophomore swingman Louis Barraza to injuries in Albany’s last couple of games.
“The 80 points we scored against Maine [last Sunday] was fool’s gold. We had all day to pick their 3-2 zone apart. In the second half against UNH, they really sat off Mike [Johnson] and Jerel [Hastings]. They played man-to-man, but it was really like forcing us to play 3-on-5.”
Brown said foul trouble to leading scorer Tim Ambrose in the second half also hurt the Danes’ cause.
“We only had three turnovers in the second half, but we were 6-for-29 from the field. All our baskets were twos, and we had some free throws. We are not stretching the defense by making any threes,” he said.
Brown said the Danes need to shake things up against the Retrievers.
“We’re just 1-6 on the road in conference play. Our track record isn’t good,” he said. “It’s also their Senior Day, and their two best players are seniors. [Darryl Proctor] is statistically the best player in the league, and [Jay] Greene is the best point guard in the league. They make the other three guys on that team a lot better.
“This would be a big confidence builder for us if we could beat a team like this on the road. They want to finish in sixth place, and so do we. It would be a good win, especially for our psyche. But we’ve got to be a little more physical and do a better job on the glass. In the two losses to New Hampshire, we got outrebounded by one and we were even on the boards in the other game. We are usually a dominating team on the glass, and we’ve got to get back to being that way for the conference tournament.”
Ambrose, who scored 11 points against UNH after firing in 27 points in Albany’s win on Senior Day last Sunday, tops the Danes in scoring at 13.9 points per game. Junior forward Will Harris, who has struggled in the last few games, is next at 12.7 ppg and a team-best 6.3 rebounds.
Raffa, who is third on the scoring chart at 10.3 ppg, is not expected to play because of a sprained toe.
Senior forward Briain Connelly (8.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and junior point guard Mike Johnson (team-leading 2.6 assists per game) are the other key players for the Great Danes.
Proctor is second in the league in scoring (20. ppg) and third in rebounding (8.7 pg), while Greene contributes 12.9 points and a league-best 6.1 assists per contest.
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Categories: College Sports