This was a wasted opportunity for the University at Albany.
Key mistakes late in regulation hurt the Great Danes, who eventually lost to Central Connecticut State in overtime, 70-68, Saturday in a non-conference game at Detrick Gym.
A driving layup by Tim Ambrose and a layup by Will Harris off a feed from Ambrose with 59 seconds left in regulation gave Albany what appeared to be a comfortable 60-56 lead, but the Blue Devils weren’t done.
Robby Ptacek was fouled and made both ends of a one-and-one with 50.7 seconds left to slice the deficit to 60-58.
Freshman guard Derrek Tartt then had a chance to increase the Albany lead with a one-and-one of his own, but he missed the front end with 43.3 seconds to go.
CCSU immediately turned the ball over, and the Great Danes had a golden opportunity to put the game away when Tartt went in for an uncontested dunk, but the ball caromed off the back of the rim.
Shemik Thompson then drove the lane into Albany center Brett Gifford, who didn’t budge. But Gifford was called for the foul, and Thompson made both free throws to tie the score at 60-60 and send the game into overtime.
The Blue Devils built a six-point lead (69-63) in the extra session, but the Danes charged back when Ambrose converted a three-point play and Scotty McRae turned a steal into a dunk with 5.7 seconds left.
CCSU had difficulty on the inbounds play and called a timeout. Then Joe Seymore made one of two free throws with 4.6 seconds on the clock. Ambrose missed a running one-hander off the glass at the buzzer.
“I thought we had the game when we missed that dunk,” said Albany head coach Will Brown. “We didn’t need to dunk the ball at that point, but he’s a freshman, and we’ve been telling him to be more aggressive. He was more aggressive, but he just missed the shot. Then, we hung our heads at the beginning of overtime and got down by six. At least we made it a one-possession game at the end.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win the game,” Brown said. “I told Derrek that we didn’t lose the game because of him. His eyes got big, and he was looking to dunk the ball and celebrate, but we needed to walk away with two points. I’m not going to yell at him for shooting the ball. He didn’t miss the dunk on purpose. But we gave them new life in overtime. This was a tough one to swallow.”
“I just tried to throw it down as hard as I could, and I ended up missing it,” said Tartt. “Coach told me I didn’t lose the game. I still would have tried to dunk it, but I’ll be more careful next time. I think we will bounce back from that.”
Albany center Brett Gifford, who scored a career-best 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots, said the Danes need to forget about this loss quickly.
“We’re a little down right now, but we gave it a real effort,” he said. “We told [Tartt] to keep his head in the game and that it wasn’t his fault that we lost. He can make that play 99 times out of 100.”
CCSU head coach Howie Dickenman agreed that the missed dunk gave his team new life.
“If he makes that basket, Albany is up four with 21 seconds left, and it would have been hard to come back from that,” he said. “We fought hard, though, and we battled back. I think we took away Albany’s momentum, and we made some free throws at the end.”
CCSU (3-5) was paced by Vince Rosario with 17 points, Thompson with 16, Ptacek with 12 and Simmons with 11 points and 16 rebounds.
Albany (4-7), in the middle of an eight-game road trip, got 16 from Ambrose, 12 from Mike Johnson and 10 from Fran Urli.
“We outrebounded them and held them to 35 percent from the floor, yet we still lost,” said Brown. “At least I saw some good things. We got some production out of more players than just Tim Ambrose and Will Harris.”
Harris 2-6 4-6 8, Johnson 4-11 3-3 12, McRae 3-6 0-0 6, Ambrose 6-9 4-5 16, Gifford 4-6 2-2 10, Urli 3-5 4-7 10, Tartt 1-4 2-3 4, Metcalf 0-0 0-0 0, Lindfors 0-1 0-0 0, Allen 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 24-53 19-26 68.
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT (70)
Thompson 6-14 4-4 16, Efese 0-2 2-2 2, Bailey 2-6 0-2 5, Simmons 3-5 5-6 11, Seymour 1-5 3-4 5, Deans 0-1 0-0 0, Rosario 6-12 0-0 17, Tull 0-1 0-0 0, Ptacek 2-9 8-8 12, Baskerville 0-0 0-0 0, Pentland 0-1 2-2 2. Totals: 20-56 24-28 70.
Halftime: Albany 32-31. Three-point goals: Albany 1-11 (Harris 0-3, Johnson 1-3, Tartt 0-1, Lindfors 0-1, Allen 0-3), CCSU 6-23 (Thompson 0-5, Bailey 1-2, Seymore 0-4, Rosario 5-10, Ptacek 0-2). Rebounds: Albany 36 (Harris 8, Gifford 8), CCSU (Simmons 16). Assists: Albany 11 (Ambrose 3, Tartt 3); CCSU 13 (Thompson 4, Ptacek 4). Personal fouls: Albany 25, CCSU 20. Fouled out: Johnson. Officials: Gary Prager, Wally Rutecki, Dick Hecker. Attendance: 1,816.
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Categories: College Sports