There is no way to figure out this University at Albany basketball team.
After scoring 89 points and routing Yale in the Great Danes’ last game Sunday, it appeared they were ready to open up their America East Conference schedule on a winning note.
Defending champion Binghamton had other ideas.
The Bearcats, despite being picked last in the preseason coaches’ poll, held off Albany, 62-57, Thursday night at SEFCU Arena. Although the Bearcats were considered one of the weakest teams in the league after losing six players — including their top three — because of various unspecified reasons in the offseason, they showed their toughness and dominated the Danes for most of the game.
Binghamton outrebounded Albany, 41-28, and held the Danes to just 34.5 percent shooting from the floor.
“It was a great game,” said Binghamton interim head coach Mark Macon. “They had me scared for a long time. Albany has been known as a team that likes to crash the boards, and our guys did a great job of keeping them off the boards tonight. We sent everyone to the glass. That’s what they were supposed to do.”
Along with dominating the boards, the Bearcats also got a career-high 24 points from Moussa Camara, who was averaging just 7.7 points per game. “We are the defending champions. I had a lot of confidence tonight,” said Camara.
Binghamton (1-0, 6-10) played like it had something to prove against an Albany team that looked uninspired.
“Nobody likes to be spat on,” said Macon.
“We wanted to prove people wrong,” added Binghamton point guard Chretien Lukusa.
Despite opening up an early 7-2 lead, the Danes went flat. The Bearcats went on a 26-4 run to grab a 17-point lead. Albany charged back behind freshman point guard Mike Black, who scored 10 of his career-high 18 points in the first 20 minutes. The Danes pulled within seven,
31-24, with 1:54 to go until intermission, but Binghamton then went on another run to close out the half with a 36-25 cushion.
Binghamton led by as many as 15, 51-36, when Camara canned a three-pointer with 7:23 to go. Albany made the game much closer than it deserved to be by hitting four three-pointers in the final 1:41. Senior forward Will Harris, who scored seven points in the first half, didn’t score again until he made three three-pointers in the final two minutes. Black also hit a triple with 6.7 seconds left. Binghamton made seven of 13 free throws in the final 3:26 to barely hang on.
“I wasn’t surprised by how hard Binghamton hit the boards, but I was surprised by how poorly we blocked out. Rebounding is toughness. You need to be a ball-getter,” said Albany head coach Will Brown. “That’s just poor effort and energy. We’re playing the defending champions in our league opener on our home court and you don’t respond. We got outworked tonight.”
Brown said he was thinking about perhaps adding sophomore Billy Allen to the list of team captains. Currently, Harris, Tim Ambrose and Brett Gifford are tri-captains.
“We need some leadership,” said Brown.
“The captain thing is just a title,” said Allen, who is the son of a coach. “It’s what you do that counts. It doesn’t matter what Coach Brown does. I’ll still play hard and try to be a leader.”
“At times, we’re tough, but we have to show toughness every game,” said Black.
Harris finished with 16 points for the 0-1, 5-11 Great Danes. Scotty McRae chipped in with 11 rebounds.
The Great Danes host Vermont Sunday at 4 p.m.
Wright 3-9 5-7 11, Peten 0-1 2-2 2, Guillaume 1-4 1-1 3, Camara 7-12 5-8 24, Lukusa 3-10 3-6 9, Johnston 0-0 0-0 0, Gray 1-1 0-0 3, Jabbi 4-8 2-4 10, Sutton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-45 18-28 62.
Harris 6-14 0-0 16, McRae 1-9 5-7 7, Gifford 1-2 0-0 2, Black 6-8 2-2 18, Ambrose 2-8 1-2 5, Aronhalt 1-6 1-2 4, Urli 2-3 1-2 5, Tartt 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Metcalf 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 0-5 0-0 0. Totals: 19-55 10-15 57.
Halftime: Binghamton 36-25. Three-point goals: Binghamton 6-14 (Wright 0-2, Camara 5-9, Lukusa 0-2, Gray 1-1), Albany 9-24 (Harris 4-8, McRae 0-1, Black 4-5, Ambrose 0-2, Aronhalt 1-3, Allen 0-5). Rebounds: Binghamton 41 (Wright 11), Albany 28 (McRae 11). Assists: Binghamton 11 (Wright 7), Albany 12 (Black 4). Personal fouls: Binghamton 18, Albany 22. Fouled out: Ambrose. Officials: Bill Laubensgein, Jeffrey Anderson, D.J. Carstensen. Attendance: 2,458.
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Categories: College Sports