DRAGON QUEST NO MATCH FOR DANES
ALBANY N.Y. — The University at Albany men’s basketball team routed the Oneonta Red Dragons 97-56 in their home opener in front of a crowd of 3,163 on hand at SEFCU Arena Wednesday.
After upsetting Penn State and losing to Cincinnati by 23, the Great Danes “balanced” their schedule and came home to host a lesser Division III opponent. No one expected the Red Dragons to compete after last year’s debacle when Albany handed them a 92-49 loss. This year was no different, but the Dragons did manage to have a lead… 1:23 into the game.
The Danes had the luxury of getting all 12 players on the roster quality minutes and letting some guys that have been shouldering most of the load get a little R and R.
“It was nice to see the guys that haven’t been playing that much to get a chance,” said Sophomore guard Joe Cremo after the game. “I thought a lot of our guys played really well tonight.”
Senior forward Mike Rowley, who extended his rebounding streak to 69 games and scoring streak to 52 games, led the Danes’ balanced attack with 16 points and five boards. He and six of his teammates scored in double figures including Sophomore guard David Nichols, who shot seven of ten from the field and contributed 15 points.
Albany owned the paint scoring 62 of their 92 points near the rim. They also out-rebounded the Red Dragons 69-31 with 23 second chance points.
Oneonta hung in the game for the first 10 minutes or so only trailing Albany by 6 points with 9:37 remaining in the 1st half. The route was on from there as Albany manhandled their undersized counterpart scoring and rebounding at will.
Even though it was a blowout the crowd stayed and were loud for most of the game. It helped when Great Dane Junior guard Costa Anderson hit a half court buzzer beater extending the Albany lead to 23 heading into the break.
“Their bigger, faster, stronger than us,” said Oneonta Head Coach Cameron Conover after the game. “And they have more depth,” he added.
Conover firmly believed that his team could have won and hopes to play Albany again next season.
As for the Danes it doesn’t look like they’re going to pencil in the Red Dragons quite yet taking flak from their crosstown rivals for playing a Division III opponent. In a radio interview this week Siena Head Coach Jimmy Patsos blasted UAlbany for scheduling the Red Dragons and took shots at the program.
Patsos also commented on the Albany Cup game against UAlbany coming up on Sunday November 27th saying that it would be the very last time that he and his team would play the game at SEFCU arena. Patsos didn’t think it was fair that a game that normally draws 10,000 fans be played at an Arena that only holds about half of that.
Will Brown responded after Wednesday’s game citing every series should be a one and one. Meaning every other year, you play home and away. For the past 15 season the Albany Cup has been held at the Times Union Center, where the Saints have enjoyed a home court advantage.
“For about 10 years I’ve been pushing for a home and home and we finally made it happen,” said Brown. “I love the fact that the other coach likes to go on the radio and thinks he’s being funny.”
“Tell me one other series in the country where it’s a true series where one team just continues to go to the other team’s building and plays?” He continued, “Our fans, our community and our people deserve this game.”
Brown’s response from the Patsos radio interview just added a little more fuel to the crosstown rivalry’s fire, but the Danes have to focus on their matchup this weekend before they can move on to Siena.
This weekend the Danes travel to Mohegan Sun and pick up their play in the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament. They will have their hands full Saturday when they face the Grand Canyon ‘Lopes, a team that won 27 games last season and returned most of their starters. That game tips off at 8 p.m. and will be on ESPN 3 and on ESPN radio 10.45.
On Sunday they have their second game in as many days at Mohegan Sun against Brown University where their participation in the Naismith Tip-Off will conclude. That game starts at 8 p.m. and will also be one ESPN 3 and ESPN radio 10.45. After that the team has a week to rest and prepare for the Albany Cup and the Siena Saints.
Brown and his team are looking forward to hosing the Albany Cup for the first time in school history, “It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere.”