Albany County

Busy Division I basketball Saturday in Capital Region; UAlbany men & Siena women play home games, UAlbany women travel to NJIT

University at Albany's Jamel Horton handles the ball next to Ayinde Hikim and John Hall of UMass Lowell Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

University at Albany's Jamel Horton handles the ball next to Ayinde Hikim and John Hall of UMass Lowell Wednesday, January 12, 2022.

UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings said that De’Vondre Perry, the Great Danes’ leading scorer on the season, could miss Saturday’s 4 p.m. America East Conference game against NJIT at SEFCU Arena.

Killings said Perry is questionable for the contest after exiting early from the Great Danes’ win Wednesday against UMass Lowell. Perry is averaging 12.8 points per game this season, but missed all 10 shots he took Wednesday and scored just one point in a game that saw him limp off the court to end his night.

After Wednesday’s game, Killings had said that Perry might have suffered a knee injury. During a teleconference Friday with media members, though, Killings seemed to suggest that Perry — as he has at other points this season — was mostly dealing with fatigue.

“I think just the amount of minutes he’s played, the amount of basketball he’s played, you know, his body wears on him really quickly,” Killings said of the graduate student.

UAlbany (1-2 America East, 5-10 overall) could be without reserves Tairi Ketner and Justin Neely, too, as both players missed last game due to health-and-safety protocols. Killings, as he has multiple times since the Great Danes returned to playing following a pandemic-related disruption in their schedule, said he wasn’t going to comment regarding players involved in health-and-safety protocols, only offering that “we’ll see exactly where they’re at . . . on game day.”

All season, though, UAlbany has dealt with its roster not being at full strength. Three players are out for the season, and UAlbany has rarely had the rest of its roster all available for a game this season. Against an NJIT (3-1, 8-6) squad off to a strong start in conference play, Jamel Horton said the Great Danes will continue to carry with them their next-man-up mentality.

“I think it’s about staying ready, right?” said Horton, a 6-foot-4 point guard who is UAlbany’s second-leading scorer and leader in assists. “When these things occur, you never know what your role might be in the next game, never know how many minutes you’ll get, you never know who is available — so you’ve got to be ready for anything. Who knows, if all of our bigs get hurt, I might play the 5; I’ve got to be ready for it.”

NJIT had started conference play with three consecutive wins before losing Wednesday by 20 points against UMBC. Leading NJIT on the season in scoring are Dylan O’Hearn and Miles Coleman who average 16 and 15.9 points per game, respectively.

COOPER STEPPING UP

Head coach Colleen Mullen said the UAlbany women’s basketball team “definitely won’t have” starting forward Ellen Hahne and that the status of starting center Lucia Decortes was unclear for Saturday’s 2 p.m. game at NJIT.

If neither Decortes nor Hahne can play again, as was the case Wednesday at UMass Lowell, it makes for a tough hand dealt to the Great Danes — but sophomore Kayla Cooper’s recent play has helped UAlbany keep winning, anyway.

Despite only starting two games this season, Cooper’s scoring average is up to 10.7 points per game, which ranks second on the Great Danes behind Helene Haegerstrand’s 11.6. Cooper has scored eight or more points in her last nine games, and the 6-foot-0 player has averaged 17.7 points per game in her last three contests.

“Offensively, her game has gone to a different level,” Mullen said. “She’s so athletic, so explosive, and she really is a mismatch nightmare.”

Cooper’s recent play has helped UAlbany (2-0 America East, 9-4 overall) keep rolling as it gets set to play an NJIT (4-0, 9-6) squad that’s off to a surprisingly good start in league play. NJIT was picked to finish eighth — three spots lower than UAlbany — in the league’s preseason poll, and the matchup between the Great Danes and Highlanders includes two teams on winning streaks. UAlbany has won six games in a row, while NJIT has won its last five.

Against NJIT, Cooper said what’s most important for the Great Danes is to continue to play strong team basketball.

“I think the reason why we keep winning and we’re doing so well is because we always stay together,” Cooper said. “We never stray away from each other.”

JASPERS VISIT SAINTS

After 10 consecutive losses to start its season, the Siena women’s basketball team is seeking its third win in a row when it plays host at 2 p.m. Saturday to Manhattan at UHY Center in Loudonville.

Siena (2-2 MAAC, 2-10 overall) outscored Marist 45-24 in the second half of Thursday’s 69-53 win in Poughkeepsie. The victory against Marist, the MAAC’s reigning champion, was the Saints’ first in nearly four years against the Red Foxes.

Manhattan (4-1, 9-5) has won its last four games. Dee Dee Davis leads the Jaspers in scoring at 16.7 points per game, while Brazil Harvey-Carr averages 13.3.

For Siena, Rayshel Brown leads in scoring at 13.6 points per game. Brown scored 16 points in the Saints’ win against Marist, with all her points scored after halftime.

Margo Peterson added 15 points in Thursday’s Siena win, while Selena Philoxy narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. 

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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