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Danes begin AE play

Danes begin AE play

The UAlbany Great Danes will make their second trip to Durham today, although the atmosphere promise

The UAlbany Great Danes will make their second trip to Durham today, although the atmosphere promises to be a little more subdued this time.

The Great Danes lost to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., on Dec. 17; they’ll open the America East Conference season at 7 tonight in Durham, N.H., where they’ll face the University of New Hampshire Wildcats at

3,500-seat Lundholm Gym­nasium.

UAlbany beat New Hampshire three times last season, including a 64-47 victory in the America East tournament quarterfinals.

The two-time defending conference champion Great Danes are 5-7, and have lost six of their last seven after falling at Iowa State on Sunday, 76-64.

New Hampshire, picked tied for last with Maine in the America East preseason coaches poll, is having a tougher time of it, though.

The 3-8 Wildcats have lost seven straight. Five of those losses were by six points or less.

New Hampshire’s offense is about as balanced as it gets, with four players averaging between 11.9 and 12.9 points per game.

Tyrece Gibbs, a 6-foot-3,

205-pound guard from Brockton, Mass., leads the team in scoring, followed by Mike Christensen (12.4 ppg), a 6-8, 230-pound senior from Reston, Va., 6-0 guard Eric Gilchrese (12.0) and 6-2 guard

Alvin Abreu.

The Great Danes, picked to finish second in the America East in the preseason coaches poll, are balanced, too, as 6-5 senior Brian Lillis leads the team at 13.3 ppg, and Brian Connelly, Brent Wilson, Tim Ambrose and Jon Iati are all close to double figures.

New Hampshire is coming off a 49-46 loss to Colgate in which Gibbs missed a three-pointer with two seconds left.

Christensen, who was named to the 2005 America East all-rookie team, missed the second half of last season with a knee injury.

Gilchrese is a transfer from Lewis & Clark Community College, and is fourth in the league in assists (3.7) and steals (2.2) per game.

After starting the season at 4-1, UAlbany has just a 66-53 victory over St. Francis on Dec. 15 against six losses, the last three against teams from bigger conferences, Duke, Boise State and Iowa State.

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