Basketball: Danes vying for playoff position

With time running out in the regular season, University at Albany’s primary goal is to finish as hig

With time running out in the regular season, University at Albany’s primary goal is to finish as high as possible in the America East Conference standings.

The fourth-place Danes (6-7, 13-15), who have three conference games left, travel to Binghamton’s Events Center today at 3 to renew their rivalry with the Bearcats, who are finally healthy.

“Our last three games are coming quickly,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “The conference tournament is right around the corner, and we are in a unique situation where we can determine our own destiny. We don’t want any help from the other teams in the league. We want to help ourselves. We have a realistic opportunity to finish as high as third, but we don’t want to finish any lower than fourth. That’s why this game is so big for us.”

Albany and Binghamton (4-9, 7-19) are meeting for the 87th time and the second time this season. The Great Danes won the first meeting, 76-37, in January in their most lopsided victory of their Div­ision I era. But Binghamton is much improved from that first meeting. Greer Wright, a 6-foot-8 forward, averages 12.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He missed the first six games of the season with an

ankle injury, and is just now rounding into form. The Bearcats snapped a nine-game losing skid with a 77-47 win over Hartford Wednesday night.

“With Greer Wright healthy, Binghamton is a much better team,” said Brown. “They are a talented, senior-dominated team.”

Mahamoud Jabbi is another key player for the Bearcats. He averages 10.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game. Moussa Camara contributes 10.2 ppg.

Brown said he is most pleased with his team’s improvement on defense this season, and is counting on that side of the ball to carry the team through the conference tournament.

“This team is eager to be successful, and I am most proud of their energy and focus on defense,” he said. “This is a new defense for us. It’s hard to believe, but we’ve played 28 games, and we’re still learning it. It’s not just a zone. It’s a matchup zone with man-to-man tendencies, and it’s not easy for a young team to learn. We’ve had some lulls in transition, but when it comes to halfcourt defense, we’ve done a great job this season.”

Senior Tim Ambrose, who poured in 22 points in Albany’s victory over Stony Brook Monday night, is the fifth-leading scorer in program history with 1,516 career points. He averages a team-best 16 ppg. Logan Aronhalt (14 ppg) and Michael Black (11 ppg) are also double-figurer scorers, while freshman forward Luke Devlin has been named the conference rookie of the week four times.

Categories: College Sports

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