One of the most difficult regular seasons in University at Albany’s Division I era concludes today at 4 when the Great Danes travel to West Hartford, Conn., to take on the Hartford Hawks.
UAlbany, 2-13 in the America East Conference and 7-23 overall, is locked into the play-in game for this week’s America East Conference Tournament, which begins Thursday night in Hartford’s Chase Arena at the Reich Family Pavilion. Albany takes on UMBC at 8:30 for the right to play top-seeded Stony Brook in the tourney quarterfinals.
If Albany wins today, the Danes, currently in last place, move up to eighth place because they own the tie-breaker with UMBC, which they defeated twice this season.
The Danes have played better during their last few of games, but when they haven’t shot the ball well — which has been their Achilles heel this season — their defense and rebounding have suffered, too.
Although Albany has shown signs of improvement, their overall numbers are dismal. The Great Danes already have equaled the program’s all-time record for most losses in a season, and their overall win total is their lowest since the 2002-03 season, when they finished 7-21. Their current victory total in conference play is their lowest since they joined the America East in the 2001-02 season.
Albany, which has shot less than 40 percent from the floor 14 times this year, is led by junior guard Tim Ambrose, who produces 12.9 points and 5.1 rebounds off the bench. He became the 30th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point mark and with 1,041 points is 24th on the team’s all-time scoring list.
Senior forward Will Harris is next on the scoring chart at 12.1 ppg, followed by freshman point guard Mike Black (6.6 ppg), who has scored in double digits nine times as a rookie, 6-8 senior Scotty McRae (6.2 ppg) and redshirt freshman Logan Aronhalt (6.0 ppg).
Albany, which has dropped 10 of its last 11 road games, has started two or three freshmen for more than half of the season.
Sixth-place Hartford (5-10, 7-21) is riding a five-game losing streak.
Junior guard Joe Zeglinski, who scored 21 points in the Hawks’ 64-62 victory the first time the teams played at SEFCU Arena in January, tops the Hawks at 16.6 points per game, which is fourth among the league’s top scorers. He is also second in three-pointer made with 91 and is eighth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,547 points.
Forward Morgan Sabia produces 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds, and he is also a three-point threat with 63 treys in 167 attempts.
Joel Barkers (9.0 ppg), a 6-6, 220-pound transfer from Kirkwood Community College, Milton Burton (9.2 ppg), a Panola College transfer, and Andres Torres (7.1 ppg) are other key players for the Hawks, who trail Albany in the all-time series, 14-8.