UAlbany vs. Binghamton: Rivalry to close season

Binghamton avoided a winless regular season when the Bearcats upset Vermont, 57-53, Tuesday night. B

The pressure is off — sort of.

Binghamton avoided a winless regular season when the Bearcats upset Vermont, 57-53, Tuesday night. Binghamton was the only Division I men’s program without a victory, and it makes tonight’s game against the University at Albany at the Events Center in Vestal a little less dramatic for the Great Danes, who didn’t want to make “SportsCenter” headlines for being the first team to lose to their old SUNYAC rivals.

“Honestly, I’m glad Binghamton won,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “Binghamton hasn’t stopped playing hard all season. I’m glad for their kids that they won, and I sent a text message to [Binghamton head coach] Mark Macon congratulating him.”

But Brown pointed out that the Great Danes weren’t going to take Binghamton lightly, no matter what the Bearcats’ record is.

“Our guys won’t be overconfident because we stunk the first time we played them,” said Brown, pointing to the Danes’ 74-68 come-from-behind victory in January at SEFCU Arena.

“I know Binghamton will be playing with a lot of confidence after their win over Vermont. I’m sure they’re thinking that if they just beat the best team in the league, why can’t they beat UAlbany? But our players will be ready,” Brown said.

“We realize we can’t take them lightly,” said UAlbany junior co-captain Blake Metcalf. “They weren’t blown out by virtually anybody all season, and they finally got a win the other night. I’m sure for them, they want to prove that game wasn’t a fluke. For us, I’m sure people have been saying that the Rider game [a 70-61 UAlbany win Saturday night in the Bracketbusters] was no big deal because it was a meaningless game for us. This is a big game for us.”

The Great Danes (8-7, 17-13) have several question marks about their injury-depleted lineup. Junior guard Logan Aronhalt, the team’s second-leading scorer at 14.6 ppg, is extremely doubtful for tonight’s game because of an injured knee that has kept him out of the last couple of games. If he doesn’t play against Binghamton, the Great Danes may shut him down for the season.

“This is very frustrating, not knowing if my season is over,” said Aronhalt. “I’ve struggled for the last few weeks. I’ll probably call it a season if I can’t practice or play against Binghamton. The knee has been hurting quite a bit.”

Meanwhile, Gerardo Suero, the fifth-leading scorer in the nation at 22 ppg, is back from a bout with shingles, but his endurance isn’t at 100 percent. Brown expects him to start, however, and Suero said he needs plenty of minutes to shake off the rust.

“I’m feeling great, but I’m a little out of shape,” he admitted.

Sarting forward Luke Devlin, who has a bruised knee, and backup guard Ralph Watts, who hurt his hamstring, are also doubtful for tonight’s game, although Brown said their chances of playing are a lot better than Aronhalt’s.

The Great Danes have been getting plenty of production out of backups Jacob Iati and Jayson Guerrier, who combined for 35 points against Rider. Both are expected to start against the Bearcats.

Binghamton is paced by Robert Mansell, who has started every conference game and is averaging 14.4 points per game.

Categories: College Sports

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