The Albany Patroons aren’t looking for a particular “first” on Wednesday – mainly their first loss in Washington Avenue Armory this season.
Because if that happens, it would be the end of the TBL season. So for Game 2 of the TBL Championship Series at 7 p.m., Albany wants what it has always managed to produce this season: a win at home.
The Patroons are 18-0 at home this year, and to get their 19th victory, they’ll need to overcome a hot-shooting opponent in Shreveport and a series-ending injury to starting guard Mike Williams suffered early in Game 1. Williams, a 2018 Rutgers graduate, was the third-leading scorer on the team at 14.3 points per game and added a team-high 1.5 steals per game.
Albany has shown throughout the playoffs that it has the necessary depth to overcome Williams’ absence, but those players need to commit to defense first if Albany is to win Wednesday or, should they win, on Thursday in Game 3. Shreveport won Game 1 Saturday, 123-115, primarily on the strength of its 3-point shooting. The Mavericks were 17 of 28 (60%) from beyond the arc. Bernard Parks led the way, going 7 for 12 on 3s, en route to a game-high 33 points.
It wasn’t as if Albany didn’t shoot well, itself, making 47 of 83 shots for a 56% mark from the field, but it went just 7 of 20 on 3-pointers, so its 2s ultimately couldn’t keep pace with Shreveport’s 3s.
One thing Patroons coach Will Brown has said all season is that his team doesn’t try to match up to opponents, instead making opponents deal with the fact that he starts 6-foot-10 Jared Sam and 6-9 Anthony Moe. On paper, Shreveport seemed to deal with that just fine. While Albany did have 60 points in the paint to Shreveport’s 36, the Mavericks outrebounded Albany 40-36.
Moe led Albany in scoring Game 1 with 24 points. He also had eight rebounds. Sam had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Davon Dillard and Kameron Williams each added 18 points.