One down, two to go for Danes

Senior forward Will Harris scored 15 points, and freshman guard Derrek Tartt added 13 as the Great D
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The opening round of the 2K Sports Classic, benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer, was a showcase for both a University at Albany veteran and a rookie.

Senior forward Will Harris scored 15 points, and freshman guard Derrek Tartt added 13 as the Great Danes took advantage of a young Alcorn State team and rolled to a 71-55 victory Friday night at SEFCU Arena.

“Tartt’s a good player. He will be as good as he wants to be,” said UAlb­any head coach Will Brown. “He’s long and wiry with long arms. He’s smooth. He’s a good player when he plays with a sense of urgency. He’s a good perimeter defender, as well. I think he’d rather play the two than the point, but he plays the point so he can get in the game.”

“I was looking at his points, and he had a big night,” said Harris about Tartt. “He played aggressively, just like I told him to in practice. It makes me feel like a proud uncle.”

“I saw an opening, and I took it,” said Tartt. “I felt comfortable tonight. They were only playing OK defense, so I was able to get my shots off.”

The Great Danes will have to play three games in three nights, and their depth helped them not to overuse any of their starters. Twelve players scratched the scoring column, and 11 played between 16 and 28 minutes. The Danes outrebounded the Braves, 45-30.

“I thought we got a little complacent. This is the first time this team had a big lead,” said Brown. “The difference between a 15- and a 25-point lead was executing our scouting report. Michael Johnson is our best perimeter defender, but he let [Jonathon] Boyd free for a couple of three-pointers early in the second half, and the game got a little closer then.”

“I thought we did a pretty good job with the lead,” said Harris. “We let it dwindle a little, but then we got it back.

“I’m going to get in the tub and soak my knees now,” he said. “I’ll read the scouting report for the next game while I’m in the tub.”

The Danes jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a pair of baskets by Tim Ambrose and a driving layup by Harris.

Alcorn State chipped the deficit to one, 9-8, on a three by Boyd, but the Danes began pulling away with three consecutive three-pointers and led, 23-12, with 10:18 left in the first half.

Up, 25-17, the Danes took control again when Tartt scored eight straight points on a layup, a hook in the lane and a free throw to complete a three-point play and a three-pointer. He added another three a few minutes later to help the Danes build a 34-28 lead. They led, 36-28, at the half.

Albany scored the first seven points of the second half, with Harris ending the run with a convincing slam dunk with 16:15 left in the game. Albany expanded its advantage to 49-31 on an offensive rebound basket by freshman Blake Metcalf, who led the Danes with seven caroms.

Alcorn State eventually cut the deficit back to eight, but the Danes pulled away in the final six minutes.

Alcorn State (0-4), coached by former NBA standout Larry Smith, had seven freshmen on its roster, and it showed. The Braves, from Claiborne County, Miss., committed 19 turnovers and shot 35.1 percent from the floor. Their shot selection wasn’t exemplary.

“They [the Great Danes] did some things to us,” said Smith. “They made all the hustle plays, and we didn’t make any shots. We are averaging more than 20 turnovers a game, and we’ve got to value the ball more. I think their depth hurt us. We have a lot of freshmen on this team, and we’re going to have some growing pains, but I think a tournament like this will help, because you don’t have much time to think about the loss. You have to play another game the next day.”

Boyd led the Braves with 16 points.

ALCORN STATE (55)

Boyd 6-10 0-0 16, Searcy 3-8 3-4 9, Savannah 0-3 0-0 0, Anthony 0-0 0-0 0, Ingram 0-1 0-0 0, Holt 2-15 2-4 6, Rogers 4-6 0-0 10, Francis 1-5 0-0 2, Eackles 1-2 1-1 3, Starks 0-0 2-4 2, Martin 1-2 0-0 2, Ragland 2-5 0-0 5. Totals: 20-57 8-13 55.

ALBANY (71)

Harris 6-8 1-2 15, Lindfors 3-5 0-0 7, Gifford 1-2 0-0 2, Johnson 3-9 0-0 6, Ambrose 2-10 4-5 8, Aronhalt 1-3 0-0 2, Urli 0-2 2-2 2, Tartt 4-5 3-3 13, Black 1-2 0-0 3, McRae 2-5 2-5 7, Metcalf 3-4 0-2 6, Allen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-56 12-19 71.

Halftime: Albany 36-28. Three-point goals: Alcorn State 7-14 (Boyd 4-7, Ingram 0-1, Rogers 2-3, Eackles 0-1, Ragland 1-2), Albany 7-17 (Harris 2-3, Lindfors 1-2, Johnson 0-2, Ambrose 0-3, Aronhalt 0-1, Tartt 2-2, Black 1-1, McRae 1-2, Allen 0-1). Rebounds: Alcorn State 30 (Holt 9), Albany 45 (Metcalf 7). Assists: Alcorn State 7 (Searcy 3), Albany 21 (Johnson 7, Ambrose 7). Personal foulus: Alcorn State 19, Albany 17. Officials: Jeffry Bryant, Gary Tracy, Bob Testa. Attendance: 2,824.

DETROIT (71)

Keeling 2-4 9-12 13, Kennedy 6-14 6-7 19, Holman 6-12 2-4 14, Simon 5-18 0-0 12, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Foster 1-1 0-0 3, Payne 1-2 3-3 5, Stephens 0-1 2-2 2, Blue 0-0 3-4 3, Hoskins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-52 25-32 71.

ROBERT MORRIS (59)

Robinson 7-11 0-2 14, Green 1-4 3-4 5, Nwigwe 2-5 0-0 4, Jones 1-4 0-0 2, Langhurst 4-8 0-1 10, Abraham 2-1 4-4 9, Wallace 1-5 1-2 3, Piehl 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 4-9 1-1 9, Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Whitehead 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 22-59 11-16 59.

Halftime: Detroit 39-31. Three-point goals: Detroit 4-17 (Keeling 0-1, Kennedy 1-6, Simon 2-8, Foster 1-1, Stephens 0-1); Robert Morris 4-14 (Nwigwe 1-1, Jones 0-1, Langhurst 2-5, Abraham 1-6, Johnson 0-1. Rebounds: Detroit 37 (Holman 8), Robert Morris 39 (Johnson 8, Green 8); Assists Detroit 11 (Simon 7), Robert Morris 9 (Nwigwe 2, Abraham 2, Johnson 2). Personal fouls: Detroit 21, Robert Morris 22. Fouled out: Robinson. Officials: Jack Sweeney, Don McEvoy, Kennety Jayne.

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