Great Danes Slay Dragons
By Andrew Hughes
The University at Albany Great Danes men’s basketball team handled Division III Oneonta State at SEFCU Arena Saturday blowing out the Red Dragons 92-49. This was the first time UAlbany played the Red Dragons as a member of the Division I America East Conference, and the first time they have faced a non-division 1 opponent since the 2000-2001 season.
The Great Danes kept the lead the entire game Saturday in what turned out to be a thorough drubbing. Oneonta kept it close during the first half, trailing by as little as five 12 minutes into the game before the Great Danes blew it open with a 27-14 run to take a 50-32 lead into halftime. The Danes completely slayed the Dragons in the second half, outscoring Oneonta 42-17.
The Great Danes were a heavy favorite going into the game and matched up. They exploited the undersized Oneonta front-court. They had little problem forcing the action in the paint, getting to the free throw line 37 times, compared to just 15 times for Oneonta. Mike Rowley dominated the boards for the Great Danes, grabbing five offensive rebounds in the first half alone. Rowley was one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring a game high of 13 points.
The one-sided nature of the contest gave coach Will Brown the chance to give his bench some minutes. Travis Charles and Jamir Andrews each chipped in 10 points, while RJ Peters scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Brown lauded his team’s effort though he recognized his team wasn’t playing their best.
“I liked our energy in the second half,” Brown said. “I though we were flat in the first half, especially defensively.”
When asked if it was tough to be get up for a game against a Division III program, Brown’s players were on the same page as him.
“We’re going to play as hard as we can no matter who we’re playing,” said guard Peter Hooley.
“Whether its DI, DII, DIII, its just a chance to play a basketball game,” said Senior Evan Singletary.
Oneonta head coach Vince Medici returned to familiar territory having graduated from Shaker High school and growing up in Latham. Medici came into this game with every intention of upsetting the three-time defending America East champions.
“It doesn’t matter if it was Duke out there, we come into every game looking to win.” Medici pinpointed his team’s shortcomings while also noting the differences between Division I and Division III talent.
“You’re not going to win games no matter who you play when you shoot 30 percent,” Medici said. “We just couldn’t match their size, you see the difference between Division I and Division III. We just couldn’t match their strength, size and speed.”
The game counted on Albany’s schedule, though it only counted as an exhibition for Oneonta. Following the win the Great Danes improve to 2-2 on the season, with both wins coming at home and both losses coming on the road. The Great Danes play the University of South Florida on Tuesday in Tampa Bay on ESPN3.