To kick off our coverage of conference play in America East basketball, the Sixth Man series will be running over the next few weeks. We reached out to the student media at each of our nine institutions for guest posts on men's and women's basketball. Today, we have Jaquam Bodden, Sports Director at Albany campus radio station 90.9 FM WCDB, writing about the Albany men's basketball team. A big thanks to Jaquam for participating!
The Great Danes will begin America East Play tonight with an 11-3 record and standing at first-place in the conference. Let us take a recap on how they got there.
|Mike Black takes the ball up the floor.|
The Great Danes started their season with a 69-66 victory over Duquesne on Nov. 9. The Danes used a great team effort to hold off the Dukes from pulling off a comeback late in the second half. John Puk came up big in the victory. The 6’10” center posted 14 points on seven of seven shooting from the field and also grabbed eight rebounds. After starting their season with a win at home, the Great Danes went on a road trip beginning in Columbus, Ohio vs Ohio State. The Great Danes played hard for majority of the game until the Buckeyes made a huge run in the second half. The Danes ended up losing that game 82-60, however senior guard Mike Black shined in that game. Mike Black Scored 20 points in the game in the Danes’ loss.
Next, the great Danes traveled to Seattle where they would play reigning Pac-12 regular season champion Washington. This game turned out to be one of the biggest victories in school’s history and it came down to the wire. The Great Danes battled hard and took advantage of Washington’s poor play down the stretch. Mike Black came up big in that game scoring 22 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing six assists. His heroics also included the game winning layup with 3.7 seconds left to lead the Great Danes to a 63-62 victory over Washington. In this game the Great Danes shot better from the free-throw line shooting 62.5 percent compared to Washington’s 57 percent. Jacob Iati had a huge game as well, scoring 20 points including six three-pointers.
The Great Danes continued their road trip going 1-1 at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. The Great Danes squeaked past UMKC with a 62-59 win and lost to Loyola (Md.) 67-64. The Great Danes finished off November strong with an 83-55 win over South Carolina St. and a 66-63 win over Wagner. In the win over South Carolina St. the Great Danes shot 51 percent from three-point range.
The final stretch of the non-conference slate started with a battle versus crosstown rival Siena. The Great Danes wanted revenge for their last loss to Siena as well as bragging rights as the best college basketball team in the capital district. With a huge run in the second half, the Great Danes claimed the Albany Cup and defeated Siena 69-56. After beating their crosstown rival, the Great Danes entered CollegeInsider.com’s Mid-Major poll at No. 25. Making the Mid-Major poll is a huge confidence builder for the Danes and it motivated them to play even better going forward.
The Great Danes finished the 2012 winning six of their last seven games in December. Here are some things to consider going into conference play for the Great Danes. The Great Danes are ranked No. 20 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll. Jacob Iati is one of the top shooters in the America East as well as in the country. Iati shoots 46 percent from three-point range – that’s third in conference and 78th in the country according to ESPN.com.
With the Great Danes strong non-conference play the question remains is will they exceed expectations and win the conference? We will see tonight, as they will face the UMBC Retrievers at 7 p.m. at SEFCU Arena.
The Albany men had a great start to their season, but the team knows the importance of conference play.
The Bangor Daily News talked to Maine men's basketball coach Ted Woodward about the keys to today's conference opener versus Boston U.
From Newsday, a look at Jameel Warney's learning process as Stony Brook begins conference play.
The newest Inside Wildcat Country features New Hampshire women's basketball coach Maureen Magarity.
It's officially that time of year again and America East Conference play gets under way tonight! Here's what's in store:
Binghamton at Hartford, 7 p.m.
Boston U. at Maine, 7 p.m.
UMBC at Albany, 7 p.m.
Vermont at New Hampshire, 7 p.m.
Albany at UMBC, 7 p.m.
Boston U. at Stony Brook, 7 p.m.
Hartford at Binghamton, 7 p.m.
New Hampshire at Vermont, 7 p.m.