Monday, December 8, 2008

Game 9: UAlbany vs. Lehigh

Overview: The Mountain Hawks have had some strange results so far this season, including beating Rutgers, losing by one point to Rider and then losing Friday night to Stony Brook by 19 after they had a nine-point lead with 14 minutes to go.

Junior point guard Marquis Hall
is the team's leading scorer at 14.8 points per game, he's second in rebounding at 6.3 per game and tops in assists at 4.6 assists per game.

He scored 28 in the program's first victory over a Big East school since 1990 and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds.

Hall was also nominated for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's top point guard. Siena's Ronald Moore was also a nominee.

Lehigh has a scorer coming off the bench in sophomore Prentice Small and a 7-footer in senior John Gourley.

UAlbany lost their first game against a team from outside of the Big East on Saturday night when they fell to crosstown rival Siena.

Sophomore Tim Ambrose
has scored in double figures for six straight games for the Great Danes.

UAlbany coach Will Brown
said this game wasn't originally scheduled for this date, but he tried to accommodate Lehigh, who said they were getting a guarantee game later in the month (I'm assuming Dec. 23 at Washington).

UAlbany 5-3. Lehigh 5-3

The Series:
The Great Danes lead the series 3-2, including a win last year at SEFCU Arena.

Player to Watch: Anthony Raffa, freshman UAlbany.
On top of scoring and distributing, Raffa may also earn the task of guarding Marquis Hall, who is the same height as him. I was really impressed with Raffa's demeanor after the Siena game. He was already focused on getting over the rivalry loss and looking ahead to Lehigh. I've also been the most impressed with Raffa of any of UAlbany's new players. He's been fearless at the point, but also has been responsible with the ball.

X-factor: First Half Performance.
In all three of UAlbany's losses, all on the road, they've gotten behind early. In Saturday's game, all of the Great Danes I spoke to said they lacked intensity early and that was the difference. UAlbany is actually +5 in their three losses in the second half. In the first half of those games, the Great Danes are -41.

Injury Report: Lehigh senior Phil Anderson
has missed the last two games with an unspecified injury. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 9.8 points and 5.7 rebounds through the first six games.

Prediction: UAlbany 68, Lehigh 61
(My record is 7-1)

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