Brimming with confidence after compiling the best non-conference record in its Division I program history, University at Albany begins the most important part of its schedule tonight when the Great Danes host Hartford in their America East Conference opener at 7 in SEFCU Arena.
UAlbany salvaged a two-game road swing to the state of Maryland with a 65-64 victory over Mount Saint Mary’s Saturday afternoon. That win, sparked by Gerardo
Suero’s first career double-double of 28 points and 10 rebounds, gave the Great Danes an 8-6 record heading into conference play.
“I’m looking forward to league play,” said Suero, whose three-point play in the final minute clinched Saturday’s come-from-behind win. “[Today] we begin our road to the championship.”
Junior swingman Logan Aronhalt said from here on out, every game is important.
“We have to continue to improve,” he said. “I’m excited about finally playing some league games. I know our new guys will enjoy it. Now, we play three or four times a week.”
Aronhalt said there is a big difference between non-conference games and America East Conference matchups.
“I think the biggest thing is that in the league, we all know each other, and we all know the different arenas. We play each other twice, and we really get to know the players on the other team. The difference becomes how hard you play in every game.
“Everyone gets a fresh start now. As far as I’m concerned, we have a chance to win every game on our league schedule as long as we come to play night after night,” Aronhalt said before the Danes
began their practice session Sunday afternoon.
Suero added that the Great Danes won’t take any team — even the winless (0-12) Hawks — lightly.
“We will respect everybody and treat them like they are No. 1,” he said UAlbany head coach Will Brown admitted that he raised his voice during Saturday’s game at Mount Saint Mary’s, and it seemed to motivate his team after a lackluster first half. He doesn’t think he will have to resort to such methods during the first few America East Conference games.
“We had eight non-conference wins, and I think we had a solid non-conference schedule where we were fairly successful,” he said. “Every game matters now. We need to get off to a good start.”
Brown said his team won’t take the winless Hawks for granted.
“We don’t talk records in our scouting report, but I would be naïve to think that the players don’t know what Hartford’s record is, especially since all the kids are always on the internet looking everything up,” Brown said. “Our players know Hartford’s record, but Hartford has always caused us problems, because it’s all about matchups. They spread you out and shoot a ton of threes.”
Suero, who is fourth nationally in scoring (22.0 ppg) teams with Aronhalt (15.0 ppg) as the highest-scoring backcourt tandem in the conference. The Danes are averaging 72.3 ppg. UAlbany has won 15 of the 25 previous meetings.
Other projected starters include 6-foot-9 junior center Blake Metcalf, 6-0 junior point guard Mike Black and 6-8 sophomore forward Luke Devlin.
Hartford, which allows 73 ppg and scores just over 60 ppg, is paced by guards Wes Cole, a three-point specialist, and Andrew Torres at 10.6 ppg, as well as by 6-foot-6 freshman forward Nate Skima
(10 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
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Categories: College Sports