The University at Albany feels it deserves more respect.
The Great Danes were picked eighth in the preseason America East Conference coaches’ poll, but they are out to prove they are not the same team that struggled to a 7-25 record a year ago.
Albany opened the conference season in style with a convincing 59-44 victory over the University of New Hampshire Sunday at
The win evened UAlbany’s overall record at 8-8, and dropped the Wildcats to 6-7. The Danes held the Wildcats to just 30.2 shooting from the floor, and connected on 51.2 percent of their own field-goal attempts. Although UNH grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, the Wildcats shot just 4-for-16 from the line.
Senior guard Tim Ambrose scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists, while freshman center John Puk played the best all-around game of his career with nine points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 22 minutes.
“We’re not trying to send a message to the league. We’re trying to send a message to ourselves,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “We won this game defensively. Tonight was a team effort.”
Brown admitted that the Danes believe they are much better than their preseason ranking.
“We talked about that poll before this game,” Brown said.
“Every time we step on the floor, it will be against someone who picked us eighth or ninth in the league. This is not last year’s team. This group desperately wants to be successful.”
“We know we were picked eighth. If the other teams in the league want to take us lightly, it will be on everyone’s mind in every game. The fact that we were picked eighth bothers everybody on this team. This is a good feeling. It feels great to start out 1-0.”
UNH head coach Bill Herrion noticed a big difference in this year’s version of the Great Danes.
“You’ve got to give them credit. Albany is much better than a year ago,” he said. “They are much improved, and they look more together. Ambrose took over the game in the second half, and when you have a senior who can score like that, it’s a big advantage. They’re definitely better. They have those three perimeter players, and they play hard. They also get contributions from their big guys. They know their roles. They are smart.”
Although sophomore guard Logon Aronhalt, the team’s second-leading scorer at better than 16 points per game, struggled with just six points, other players stepped up, including the freshmen up front, Puk and Luke Devlin, who added eight points and four rebounds.
“John did some nice things for us tonight,” praised Brown.”John is the nicest kid in our program, but for two hours, we need him to be the nastiest kid out there.”
Sophomore point guard Mike Black scored seven of his 11 points in the first six minutes to help the Great Danes roll out to an early
9-1 lead, but the Wildcats bounced back to eventually grab a 15-14 lead on a three-pointer by Scott Morris. The Danes took a 28-24 edge into intermission.
“We looked uninspired,” said Herrion. “Their zone defense hurt us, and our fours and fives didn’t give us enough offense. They need to be more versatile against a zone. It was a disappointing effort on our part.”
Tyrone Conley led the Wildcats with 15 points. Dane DiLiegro added 11 rebounds.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (44)
Benson 3-7 0-1 6, DiLiegro 2-2 1-4 5, Buckley 0-4 0-2 0, Rhoads -2 0-0 0, Conley 5-15 1-2 15, Bronner 0-2 0-0 0, Herrion 0-1 0-0 0, Valladares 0-0 0-0 0, Myrick 4-11 2-7 12, Morris 2-7 0-0 6, Nyanguila 0-1 0-0 0, Matagrano 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-53 4-16 44.
Devlin 2-4 2-2 8, Puk 4-4 1-3 9, Aronhalt
2-6 2-2 6, Black 3-8 4-4 11, Ambrose 7-15 1-4 16, Iati 0-0 0-0 0, Tartt 0-0 0-0 0, Metcalf 2-2 0-0 4, Watts 1-2 0-0 3, Lindfors 0-0 2-2 2, Allen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-41 12-17 59.
Halftime: Albany 28-24. Thee-point goals: New Hampshire 8-30 (Benson 0-1, Buckley 0-1, Rhoads 0-2, Conley 4-13, Bronner 0-1, Herrion 0-1, Myrick 2-6, Morris 2-5); Albany 5-10 (Devlin 2-4, Black 1-2, Ambrose 1-3, Watts 1-1). Rebounds: New Hanpshire 33 (DiLiegro 11), Albany 34 (Ambrose 9). Assists: New Hampshire 12 (Conley 3, Bronner 3), Albany 7 (Ambrose 5). Personal fouls: New Hampshire 14, Albany 20. Technical fouls: Albany bench. Officials: Robert
Adams, Earl Walton, Tim Kelly. Attendance: 1,730.
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Categories: College Sports