UALBANY – Marcus Jackson and Jonathan Beagle have needed to grow up fast on an injury-riddled UAlbany men’s basketball team this season. That maturation process continued Wednesday night against Bryant, and while the two freshmen continued to blossom — both putting up career-high scoring totals — it wasn’t enough for the Great Danes to overcome their other issues.
Beagle scored 21 points and Jackson scored 15, but Bryant’s duo of Antwan Walker and Charles Pride was even better, with Walker scoring a career-high 33 points and Pride pouring in 28 for the Bulldogs in an 86-69 victory at Chace Athletic Center in Smithfield, Rhode Island.
“They got a hold of the momentum and ran with it,” Beagle said. “I think it’s up to us in terms of stopping it. That’s what we can work on, it’s something you can look at on film and see what got them the momentum and how they kept it, and work from there.”
UAlbany, having already lost Justin Neely (knee) and Ny’Mire Little (hip) for the season due to injury and with both Malik Edmead (finger) and Will Amica (hip) still on the shelf, was even more shorthanded than usual Wednesday night. The Great Danes had just eight players active for the game, as sophomore wing Aaron Reddish — coming off a 21-point performance in Sunday’s win over UMass Lowell, did not dress for the game after head coach Dwayne Killings said Reddish did not meet “certain standards for our program that we’ve got to hold everybody to.”
“I thought last year, I let a couple things slide, and you just can’t do that with kids,” Killings said. “There’s just certain program standards you’ve got to live [up] to. I think Aaron’s really, really talented and I think he’s a really, really good person. I think if we hold the standard pretty high, and if he meets that, he’s got a chance to win a lot of games, to be a very productive citizen, and I think he’s got a chance to make a lot of money playing basketball.”
UAlbany (1-3 America East, 7-13 overall) only used seven of the eight active players, as forward Tairi Ketner dressed but did not play due to a coach’s decision.
Bryant (2-2, 11-6) exploited UAlbany’s lack of depth early and often. The Bulldogs, who entered Tuesday averaging 83.4 points per game, hit their first four shots — including a trio of 3-pointers — to streak to an early 11-0 lead.
The top two scorers for head coach Jared Grasso’s squad, Sherif Gross-Bllock and Earl Timberlake, combined for just 12 points, but that hardly mattered considering the torrid pace set by Walker and Pride.
Walker shot 14 of 21 from the field and 4 of 8 from 3-point range while also grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds, and Pride was electric from beyond the arc, draining 8 of 13 attempts
“I think that’s where the absence of Justin really, really shows,” Killings said. “Because we need an athlete — a physical, mobile guy — to guard that position.”
“In the scout, there’s a couple players that we didn’t know were going to shoot that well, but they’re definitely capable,” Beagle said. “That’s on us — definitely me. The guy I was guarding at the beginning of the game got a lot of 3s off that I shouldn’t have let happen.”
UAlbany kept things relatively close, trailing 44-36 at the half and getting as close as six points early in the second, thanks to impressive play from the Great Danes’ two freshmen.
Beagle was 9 of 15 from the field, with the Hudson Falls native scoring in double figures for the 12th time in the last 15 games. Jackson, whose collegiate career scoring high was six points prior to Wednesday night, was a perfect 6 of 6 from the field and made both of his 3-point attempts after the Amsterdam native entered the game just 1 of 5 from long range for the season.
“My team is trusting me to knock down the shots that I had that they gave me,” Jackson said. “I think my coaches did a did a good job of preparing me for what shots I might get in the game.”
Sarju Patel added 12 points on a night where UAlbany’s leading’s scorer, Gerald Drumgoole Jr., was limited to six points on 2 of 12 shooting — including 0 of 6 from beyond the arc — while playing all 40 minutes for the second straight game.
The Great Danes are still yet to win consecutive games this season. They’ll attempt to get things right Saturday when they travel to Newark, New Jersey to face an NJIT team that fell to 4-12 overall and 1-2 in conference play with a 72-71 overtime loss to Binghamton on Wednesday.
“Once we get our full team back,” Jackson said, “I think we’re going to be a very scary group to go against.”
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected]t. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Shinder.
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Categories: College Sports, Sports, Sports, UAlbany