Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jason Thompson = The Real Deal

Rider's Jason Thompson helped make Saturday's matchup with Siena that much bigger on Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-11 (yup, you read right) 6-11 senior went for 20 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and four assists as the Broncs defeated Marist 79-65 at the McCann Center Wednesday night.

Thompson was one of only three other players last year to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, as a junior. The other two: Well, you may have heard of Kevin Durant and the other was, Nevada's Nick Fazekas.

This season, Thompson is averaging 19.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.


The Saints (8-2, 13-7) and Broncs (9-2, 16-6) will tangle for first place in the MAAC on Saturday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2.

Here's what Siena coach Fran McCaffery said about Thompson on Monday at his weekly media luncheon.

"He works really hard. He's arguably the most talented player in the league, but he works hard. He plays hard, he competes. Having recruited him in high school, he's gotten better every year, so he obviously works at his game. A lot of guys level off, but I haven't seen that with him and that's why I think he's going to play in the pros."

Thompson is currently ranked No. 67 in the ESPN Top 100 Draft Tracker.

"As good as he is, he still as upside and you know he's willing to work," McCaffery said. "He's one of the better running big men I've ever coached against. He continually runs hard down the floor, beats other team's big men down the floor. He can play in traffic. He's tremendous handling the basketball."

Thompson's brother Ryan also plays for Rider, and he is the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 15.3 points per game as a sophomore.

Coming from the southern part of New Jersey, Rider seemed like an obvious choice for Thompson, but McCaffery thought he had a chance at landing a steal in the big man, when he coached back at UNC-Greensboro.

"I remember going up there to watch him play," McCaffery said. "He was 6-9, 6-10 and he's dribbling the ball like a guard, banging three's. Everyone said he couldn't go inside, he could go inside. He was skinny, but he could go inside and make baskets and he had a post-game. No qustion in my mind, I think he's a first round draft pick. I don't think he's a second round pick, I think he's a first round pick."

Siena's defense will be in for it on Saturday afternoon. It should be a good one.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Siena Backs By Iona

Siena sophomore Alex Franklin came off the bench in Sunday's matchup against Iona, but that didn't stop him from making a huge impact.

29 minutes, a game-high 17 points and tying for team-highs with steals (4) and rebounds (5), while dishing out a team-high four assists.

Siena coach Fran McCaffery said he might not start Franklin the rest of the year.

"I didn’t start him and I may not start him the rest of the year," McCaffery said. "Simply because he’s sort of day-to-day with his back. He feels good today, he has a great game. The other night, he couldn’t move."

Franklin said it was a mutual decision between he and McCaffery to have him come off of the bench because of the sore back that caused him to miss five games earlier this season.

"I told Coach that it probably would be better to come off the bench because it would relieve some of the pressure," Franklin said.

Siena had a great crowd at the Hynes Center today and by the end of the game, the Saints fans were making more noise then Iona fans.
"It seems like everywhere we go, we have a really good following," junior Josh Duell said. "I can’t say enough about the community we play in. I’ve been fortunate to grow up in it and see how loyal they can be. We had almost more (fans) than they did today and that really helped us out."

Duell said he's making the adjustment to playing with the mouth guard he must wear after breaking the bone in his mouth, a few weeks ago.

"It really dried out my mouth," Duell said. "I just have to get more used to that."

Here are some of the postgame quotes that you won't see in Monday's print edition.

Siena coach Fran McCaffery on how his team did better rebounding compared to the first time these teams met
"(Gary) Springer and (Devon) Clarke had their way last time and today wasn’t like that. That’s important. You give this team second-chance opportunities and then start fouling them when they put it to the deck, you’re going to have problems."

Siena sophomore Edwin Ubiles on how the start of the game was similar to the Loyola game
"That’s what caught our minds when we got down 14-2. We knew we couldn’t have another game like last one."
Sophomore Alex Franklin on how the start of the Loyola game was similar to this one
"It was like deja-vu all over again. It was scary at first because we started pretty slow and nothing was going for us, but we remained focused and we overcame that start."

Franklin on how a two-game losing streak would have been bad for the team
"It would have been a bad loss, if we would have lost this game. Coming off that Loyola loss, we needed something to get us back going."

Junior Josh Duell on Siena keeping their composure
"That was one thing that Coach (McCaffery) harped on all week. We kind of lost our composure at Loyola. We knew this was going to be a tough environment, they’re a great team at home and we knew we just had to come out and play."

Duell on the upcoming matchup against Rider (Saturday, Feb. 2)
"Now, we have a week to prepare for a really great team. Rider’s really hot right now. They have an NBA-caliber player in Jason Thompson. We have to come up with a gameplan for him and I’m sure we will."

Iona's Gary Springer on the Gales' rough second halves
"That’s been our biggest problem," Springer said. "We play good in the first half and them come out in the second half flat."

Springer on how Iona fouled too much, allowing Siena to go the free throw line 33 times
"We fouled them a lot. We need to stop all of the tic-tac fouls and just play straight up."

Here are the up to date MAAC standings
Rider 8-2, 15-6
Marist 8-2, 14-7
Siena 8-2, 13-7
Niagara 7-3, 13-6
Loyola 7-3, 11-10
Fairfield 5-5, 7-13
Iona 3-7, 7-15
Manhattan 2-8, 8-12
Saint Peter's 1-9, 4-16
Canisius 1-9, 3-17

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mollie Danahy - Liberty League Rookie of the Week

Former Troy High standout and William Smith freshman Mollie Danahy has been named Liberty League Rookie of the Week for the second time in this young season.

Danahy averaged 10.3 points, 2.7 steals and 1.7 assists in a three-win week for the No. 21 ranked Herons (2-0, 11-1).

Danahy topped the week with a career-high 18 points in Troy against Rensselaer in a 92-68 victory. The 5-foot-5 guard shot 5-for-7 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line in the big win. She scored the last nine points of the half for William Smith, with three consecutive three's.

The following day, Danahy scored 11 points and made four steals in a 69-36 win at Vassar.

For the season, Mollie is averaging 6.8 points and 1.8 steals off of the bench in 16.2 minutes per game.

UAlbany has a Bear of a Game; Martin Plays Briefly

The University at Albany men's hoop team doesn't have a basketball game for a week.

Before Wednesday's game against Maine that may have been looked at as a good thing.

Now, I'm not so sure.

The Great Danes let another game slip through their grasp, turning a 12-point lead with 11 minutes to go into a 11-point deficit.

UAlbany coach Will Brown said he would send his team a message by making them start Friday's practice by running one suicide sprint for every percent the Black Bears shot over 40 percent.

Maine shot 22-for-34 or 64.7%. By my math, that's 25 suicide sprints - to begin practice.


The loss made for consecutive home league losses for the first time since January of 2005 when the Great Danes lost to Boston University and Northeastern (no longer in the America East).

Anyway, UAlbany better be ready next Wednesday because they're traveling to first place University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

One thing that was a positive for the Great Danes was that freshman point guard Josh Martin played 2:53 of the first half, while wearing a big purple knee brace.

Here's what Brown had to say about Martin.
"I just wanted to get him in. I wasn't going to play him, that was my initial reaction. He had asked me if I would play him and he said he felt good. Our training staff said that if I could get him in, it might be good. I put him in for a couple minutes, he was winded right away. I didn't want to put him in a bad position. The game was tight, it was a struggle, we weren't playing well and the kids not 100% and I just didn't want to put him in a position where he would be exposed or we would need to rely on him at all. I thought he was okay for the three minutes he was in there."

Brown told the media that Martin told Assistant Coach Jeremy Friel at halftime that he felt good and wanted to play in the second half, but Brown elected not to play him.

The week off should be good for Martin and give him some time to get ready for next week's game.

The week off better be good for the rest of the players since the season has been as Brown compared it, a roller-coaster ride and the the ups and down have left some of the UAlbany players feeling sick at times.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Home Swagger, Big Purple Growl Update

For the majority of the season the University at Albany basketball team has been trying to figure out how to play well on the road.

On Wednesday night, they'll be trying to regain their "swagger" at SEFCU Arena.

"We've got to get that swagger back at home," said UAlbany coach Will Brown after Tuesday's practice. "I think we'll play well against Maine tomorrow night."

The Great Danes try to remain on top (in the four-way heat) for first place in the America East when they host the Black Bears tonight.

"In the beginning of the season we were playing really well at home," junior forward Brian Connelly said. "It's comfortable for us to play here, we practice here, so we're used to it. On Wednesday, since the students are back, hopefully we'll get some good fan support."

Tuesday's practice marked the first time in a couple of weeks that the team has been able to practice with a full five on five during drills.

"It's helpful, but the tough thing is we don't have any guys getting any rest or any breaks because we don't have anybody to sub in," Brown said.

Freshman guard Josh Martin, who is working his way back after spraining his medial collateral ligament, participated in some of practice on Monday and Tuesday and may see some action on Wednesday.

Since UAlbany has a week off after the game against Maine before a road date with UMBC, I would expect Brown will have Martin wait to get the extra week of practice before bringing him back into the rotation.

Brown said Tuesday that senior reserve Jon Iati has a small fracture in his toe after getting x-rays back on Monday and he won't practice the rest of the season.

The 11th Big Purple Growl is set for Saturday, Feb. 2. The women will take on Stony Brook at 4:30 p.m. and the men will take on the Seawolves at 7 p.m.

UAlbany Sports Information Director Brian DePasquale said Tuesday there were only 500 tickets still available, not including the 1,000 that are set aside for students.

Act fast if you want to be part of the Growl. It will be my first one, so I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Saints Roll; Break a Turnover Record?

Siena rolled to a 77-49 victory on Monday night over Canisius, their second 28-point victory over the Golden Griffins in the last eight days.

While there were a lot of impressive numbers - 10 players that scored, 50% (14-for-28) shooting in the first half and 13 steals, but it was the number 4 that stood out.

The Saints only committed four turnovers through the entire 40 minutes. That's one turnover every 10 minutes.

Ironically enough the first thing Siena did was turn the ball over when Ronald Moore gave the ball away, 17 seconds into the game.

In the second half, the Saints only gave the ball away once.

I've been looking to see if this stat - 4 turnovers in a game - is anywhere near a record.

The record for fewest turnovers in an NBA game came in 2006 when the Milwaukee Bucks only turned the ball over twice in a April 1 game against Indiana.

Before that three turnovers had been accomplished seven times.

As for a college record, I'm having a little more trouble. I have found out four turnovers is not a record.

In the 2004 SEC Tournament Vanderbilt had only three turnovers against Florida, but I couldn't find anything lower, although with all of the different colleges and number of games, I would assume it is lower.

I will continue to look for it and update once I know or what I can find out.

Siena looked pretty good and with the win, the Saints remained on top of the MAAC.

There were some other big decisions Monday evening. Rider moved into a tie for second place with a 5-point win over Iona and how about Marist laying a 19-point decision to Niagara. Suddenly, the Purple Eagles have lost two in a row and look somewhat shaky.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Griffins Fans Storm the Court

Upset Alert.....Upset Alert

No, I'm not talking about Monday's game between Siena and Canisius, at least, not yet.

Saints be warned the Golden Griffins are coming off of their best win of the season, a 70-62 victory over long-time rival Niagara.

Yup, the team that Siena only beat by 10 points and was in first place after Siena lost to Fairfield, Niagara, dropped a game to a team that was previously winless in the league.

What I was surprised about while looking at coverage from The Buffalo News of Friday's game at the Koessler Center was that the fans stormed the court after the eight-point win.

Now, first let me say I'm all for students backing their teams.

While covering both UAlbany and Siena this past month, the crowds have been anything but raucous and that's because the students have been on Winter Vacation.

The student aspect makes the college game more exciting and is what makes it different from say, the NBA.

On top of the big win, this was also a rivalry matchup, so I understand whatever the records are, a win over a hated rival is almost enough to excuse any behavior.

But we have to keep in mind this was a Canisius team that was 2-14 and 0-6 in the MAAC.

Come on folks, it's a good win, but you better have more wins than the average student's GPA, if you're going to storm the court.

Again, I don't mean to take anything from a much-needed win and possibly the biggest win in coach Tom Parrotta's two years or the storybook ending where walk-on Bob Bevilacqua, who scored 10 points, is carried off of the court for hitting a big shot down the stretch, but let's keep some sense of a level head.

With that said, Siena look out....Canisius is riding their third one-game winning streak of the season and Saints coach Fran McCaffery said a few weeks ago when Fairfield came to town, he feels a team is most overconfident when, after beating a team on the road, they come to your arena.

The Saints won by 28 on Sunday, Jan. 13 and I expect this game to be closer.

Here are the MAAC Standings coming into Monday's game
Siena 6-1, 11-6
Niagara 5-2, 11-5
Rider 5-2, 12-6
Marist 5-2, 11-7
Loyola 5-3, 9-10
Iona 3-4, 7-12
Fairfield 3-4, 5-12
Manhattan 2-6, 8-10
Saint Peter's 1-6, 4-13
Canisius 1-6, 3-14

Saturday, January 19, 2008

UAlbany - the New Road Warriors??

The Great Danes have won two consecutive league road games after losing six of their first seven road matchups.

UAlbany dropped their first league game to New Hampshire, but since has defeated Stony Brook and preseason league favorite Boston University on the road.

"When you win a game or two on the road, all of a sudden, you start getting more confident and more comfortable," said UAlbany coach Will Brown after Friday's practice.

"I think getting some good wins on the road will do that for you," senior guard Jon Iati said. "We're starting to feel more and more comfortable on the road. I know earlier, it really felt like we were struggling and we really wanted to just get one win and once we did that, we thought it'd be a lot easier for us."

The Great Danes take on Hartford tonight on the road in a game that was supposed to be played at 2 p.m., but was moved to 7 p.m., earlier this week.

Brown got a call asking if they could change the game to later in the evening and he agreed since the they said there'd be more people in the crowd.

"I said let's do it," Brown said. "I know the makeup of my team and the mentality of my team, the more people in the facility, the better. I think that's why we played with so much energy against Boston U. I don't agree with it, but kids are kids and I think our guys would rather play in front of a packed house on the road even if it means a couple thousand people cheering against us."

Freshman Josh Martin had practice clothes on at Friday's shootaround, but he didn't participate, only shot by himself and Brown is hoping he can start practicing sometime next week.

Brown also said he's planning on sending Iati to get x-rays on his toe after tonight's game against the Hawks and that senior Brent Wilson is suffering through a stomach flu and was hooked up to an IV on Thursday evening.

Saint Rose vs. No. 1

The Golden Knights of The College of Saint Rose men's basketball team will take on Bentley, the top-ranked team in the country at the Division II level today at 3:30.

This will be the third time in the history of the program that they will attempt to knock of No. 1, but the first time in 13 years.

The Golden Knights lost twice to Philadelphia University during the 1993-94 season.

Saint Rose hasn't beaten Bentley in four years and the talented senior trio of Steve Dagostino, Will Monica and Shanty Robinson has never beat the Falcons.

Even more, of Bentley's last five wins over the Golden Knights, three of them have come by a single point.

In today's paper, we showed Capital District teams at the Division I and II level against the top team in many different sports.

The last time a team from Division I or II defeated the top team was back in 1996 when RPI men's hockey defeated Vermont.

It should be a great game because these are the top two teams in the Northeast-10 Conference and it's the only time they play this year during the regular season.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Saints Handle Jaspers

While the 13-point margin of victory made the game seem close, Siena put away Manhattan on Thursday night with a 18-2 run in the middle of the first half, sparked by sophomore Alex Franklin, who was playing his first game at home since returning from a bad back, and junior Josh Duell, who was returning from missing three games with a broken bone in his mouth.

The Saints won 69-56, but they led by 27 with six and a half minutes to go as the Jaspers went on an 18-4 run to close.

Here are some postgame quotes that were not in today's article.

Siena coach Fran McCaffery on his team's play early in the game
"Kenny’s struggling in the first half, Ronald was struggling in the first half and Chris De La Rosa comes off the bench and give us great minutes. That’s when start to feel like your team is coming together."

Junior Forward Josh Duell on coming off a three-game absence
"When I was sitting on the bench, I was a little nervous. Once I got into the game, you don’t really think about it."

Duell on his big 3-pointers that ignited the 18-2 first half run
"We have a team full of guys that can come out and do that. It was my night to get it started and they just kept it going. It was just a great all-around team effort."

Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen on Siena
"They are a very good basketball team. I really tip my hat to Coach McCaffery and their staff. They’ve put together a very solid, well-balanced and good basketball team."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Duell Back, Franklin Back in Starting Lineup?

Junior Josh Duell showed off his new mouthpiece at Wednesday's practice, which he said he will have to wear for the rest of his career.

That's not the only new addition to his mouth. Duell said he had a titanium rod put in as well as a temporary tooth.

He also said he's lost some weight adding he can't eat hard foods yet, but Siena coach Fran McCaffery was happy with how Duell looked. He should be back in the mix against Manhattan tomorrow.

Sophomore Alex Franklin played in both games this past weekend and said before Thursday's practice, he's around 90%.

"I'm ready to give a full contribution to the team now, said Franklin, who scored 12 points against Niagara and nine against Canisius.

McCaffery said the sophomore forward will not start on Thursday, but will return to the lineup, meaning either senior Tay Fisher or freshman Ryan Rossiter will have to return to the bench, something Fisher said wouldn't be a problem.

"I'm happy to have him back first of all," Fisher said. "Ryan and I, we've both been playing really well, but if Alex comes back in, it doesn't really matter to us, especially to me because I know Alex is one of our best players."

An interesting note on one of the Jaspers players, freshman guard Chris Smith is the brother of J.R. Smith of the Denver Nuggets.

The Millstone, N.J. native is averaging 8.8 points off of the bench in six games this season.

"He's real athletic," said junior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck, who will likely cover Smith on the floor. "He can jump out of the gym, he's a driver."

One interesting visitor to Wednesday's practice was Saratoga Springs junior Jordan Stevens. Stevens has a broken hand and is missing about one more month, but is one of the top players in Section II and is actively being pursued by UAlbany as well as some other pretty big Division I schools.

A Quick Break From Hoops

A quick break away from hoops just to report the All-State selections for football.

Class B, C and D selections came out last week, but the AA and A came out today and the biggest accolade in Section II went to Lansingburgh senior and The Record's 2007 Co-Offensive Player of the Year Kenny Youngs, who was named New York State Class A Player of the Year.

Youngs is joined on the Class A first team by fellow senior Chris Sawyer.

NyQuan McGirt, one of the Knights other rushing threats was named to the third team.

In Class AA, La Salle junior Marquis Terrell was named to the fourth team after an spectacular year where he helped the Cadets win the Class AA Super Bowl.

Here are the rest of the All-State selections.

Class AA
Second Team Defense
Andrew Smith, Guilderland
Third Team Offense
Gary Chrys, Niskayuna
Devan Van Auken, Guilderland
Third Team Defense
Jim Schwendtner, Shenendehowa
Marquis Terrell, La Salle
Fourth Team Defense
Peter Stanish, Guilderland
Class A
First Team Offense
Kenny Youngs, Lansingburgh
First Team Defense
Chris Sawyer, Lansingburgh
Vinnie Nicosia, Amsterdam
Second Team Defense
Alex Palkovic, Burnt Hills
Joe Flint, Amsterdam
Third Team Offense
Jeremy Jordan, Burnt Hills
NyQuan McGirt, Lansingburgh
Third Team Defense
Bunduka Kargbo, Bishop Maginn
Class B
Second Team Offense
Jimmer Bennett, Albany Academy
Second Team Defense
Brian Paeglow, Ravena
Third Team Offense
Kevin Duffy, Cobleskill
Kevin Hanson, Fonda
Mike Hayes, Broadalbin-Perth
Third Team Defense
Chad Brust, Cobleskill
Jared Thurber, Broadalbin-Perth
Aaron Christman, Cobleskill
Andrew Bartholomew, Cobleskill
Class C
First Team Offense
Sean Patrick, Schuylerville
First Team Defense
Henry Evans, Stillwater
Zach Kraham, Chatham
Sean Kenny, Chatham
Second Team Offense
Cameron Herrington, Cambridge
Second Team Defense
Abe Andrew, Cambridge
Dylan Stout, Greenwich
Third Team Offense
Zayquan DuPree, Catholic Central
Sean Fitzmaurice, Voorheesville
Quinten Herrington, Cambridge
Pat Jones, Voorheesville
Third Team Defense
Brandon Chrysler, Chatham
Chris Bouchard, Catholic Central
Class D
First Team Offense
Matt Thibodeau, Fort Edward
First Team Defense
Vinnie D'Angelo, Fort Edward
Second Team Offense
Alex Quigan, Warrensburg
Damian Tyler, Fort Edward
Second Team Defense
Ray Renzi, Canajoharie
Tony Breeyear, Fort Edward

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UAlbany heads to Boston - Martin Update

University of Albany coach Will Brown returned from Blockbuster to meet with the media just before the team departed for Boston on Tuesday afternoon.

He said the choices were Old School, Superbad and Hot Rod, movies that the players like and keep the coaches amused for their short bus ride.

Back to business though and that's what the Danes are hoping will happen Wednesday night.

Brown called his team soft after Saturday's loss to Binghamton and he used the last two days after giving them Sunday off to harden them up a little bit, which is tough with a number of injuries that the team is working through. Because of injuries, Brown said that assistant coach Jeremy Friel has been practicing to give the team a full 5 on 5 practice session.

Brown is also hoping that freshman guard Josh Martin will start practicing early next week.
"That will be good if we can get him back on the floor on Monday doing some light work," Brown said.
Martin injured his medial collateral ligament last Friday and was expected to be out almost a month.

On another note, the game scheduled for this Saturday Jan. 19, at Hartford has been moved from an originially scheduled 2 p.m. tip to a 7 p.m. start.

Saints Find Offense....Defense and Other Notes

Coming off of one of the worst offensive games of the year, a 53-52 loss to Fairfield, Siena was looking to get back in the offensive swing of things as the headed to western New York.

They did just that on Friday with a 94-84 victory over previously MAAC unbeaten Niagara, a win that coach Fran McCaffery called without question, "the best offensive performance of the year," on Monday.

Then, on Saturday the Saints looked to their defense after a slow start against Canisius in a 72-44 victory.

Sophomore Alex Franklin played in both games, a big step on his road to full recovery. and contributed in both games.

McCaffery said that after Sunday's game Franklin was gassed, but it was big that he could play two games with only one day off in between.

Junior Josh Duell was cleared to begin practicing this week and McCaffery said will either play with a mouthpiece or even a mask, but he should be back in the mix Thursday against Manhattan.

In Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology update on Monday, Siena is the MAAC representative and Lunardi has them headed to Tampa as the 12th seed to matchup against Vanderbilt (16-1) from the SEC.

Obviously this depends on Siena winning the MAAC, but they are currently tied with Niagara and Marist at 5-1.

Lunardi also has some of Siena's opponents in the big dance, most notably Memphis (15-0), who is pegged as a 1-seed, and Stanford (13-3), who Lunardi has selected as a 6-seed.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Saints Head West

Siena heads west Thursday morning for two games in three days, Niagara on Friday and Canisius on Sunday.

The Saints have grouped these games together in the recent years and it's a good way to knock out what would be two of the longer trips if they were done separately.

Still, some of the players aren't too thrilled about the long trip.

"I dislike the distance and I dislike the snow," joked junior captain Kenny Hasbrouck before Wednesday's practice. "That's all I can say about it."

Unfortunately for Hasbrouck, rain/snow is in the forecast for Buffalo on Friday and Sunday, but what they are looking forward to is another shot at Niagara.

The Purple Eagles defeated Siena 83-79 in the MAAC championship game and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

This year, Niagara boasts a perfect conference record (4-0) and just received one vote in this week's Top 25 rankings. Charron Fisher, the nation's leading scorer is also on the Purple Eagles and will be goal No. 1 for the Saints defensively.

The game will be televised on ESPN U (channel 606 on Time Warner) and will be made ever larger by the fact that Siena sophomore Alex Franklin is expected to return to the lineup.

After suiting up for Tuesday's game against Fairfield, but telling coach Fran McCaffery he didn't feel well enough to play, he said on Wednesday, he would assume he's 85%.

"I'm excited to get back in there and contribute to the team," Franklin said. "It was really tough watching (Tuesday), especially because I had my uniform on and I wanted to go in, but I knew I couldn't."

One player the Saints will likely not have is Josh Duell. The junior had surgery on a fractured bone in his mouth on Wednesday and McCaffery said he didn't expect Duell to be in the mix for either game.

Friday should be a good one.

2007 MAAC Standings (As of 1/9)
Niagara 4-0, 10-3
Marist 3-1, 9-6
Siena 3-1, 8-6
Fairfield 3-1, 5-9
Rider 2-2, 9-6
Loyola 2-2, 6-9
Manhattan 1-3, 7-7
Iona 1-3, 5-11
Saint Peter's 1-3, 4-10
Canisius 0-4, 2-12

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Martin Off Crutches; Lillis Honored

One of the first things I noticed from stopping by practice today to get some feel for the UAlbany game tomorrow against Stony Brook is that this was a team relaxed by a much-needed win.
The Great Danes seemed a little less tense and a lot more focused as they try to improve an embarsseing 1-7 road record.

Another positive for the team is that freshman point guard Josh Martin, who had snuck into the starting lineup before a injury Friday, is off of crutches.

Martin's injury is to his the medial collateral ligament in his right leg and even though he should be out for a few weeks, being off the crutches is a good sign.

He will travel with the team that actually, as I'm writing this, has already left for the game.

The accolades continue for senior Brian Lillis, whose 29-point, 7-assist, 7-rebounds game really propeled the Great Danes to the win Sunday against Vermont.
On Tuesday, Lillis was named the Baller of the Week.

Lillis not only hit the eventual game-winning shot against the Catamounts, but got a piece of Marqus Blakely's shot as the buzzer rang out to end the game.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Siena Cruises; Duell Dinged and Franklin Update

Siena defeated Saint Peter's 79-56 in a pretty easy win on Saturday evening.

Kenny Hasbrouck had 28 points and the Saints led by double digits for 29 of the 40 minutes.

The win wasn't all fun and games for junior Josh Duell. Duell got smacked a couple of times, the worst a elbow to the face in the second half that fractured a bone in his mouth above the teeth.

Duell had one stitch to repair the wound that was caused and will visit an oral surgeon on Monday to stabilize the bone.

Duell said he's still expecting to play on Tuesday when the Saints take on Fairfield, but we'll see how he feels tomorrow first.
I spoke with Alex Franklin after the game and he seems optimistic that he could play against the Stags, but it seems more likely that the sophomore forward would return for the western trip on Friday at Niagara.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Danes Win But Lose Martin

The University at Albany scored a huge, huge win on Saturday afternoon by defeating Vermont 80-79 in overtime.

Brian Lillis led the way with a career-high 29 points and really took the team on his back down the stretch.

Lillis said something that stuck out to me, "We've been saying the right things all year, but we needed someone to go out and do the right things."

This win ended a four-game losing streak, but the work doesn't end here. The Great Danes are 1-7 on the road and travel to Stony Brook on Wednesday.

Freshman point guard Josh Martin missed Saturday's game and will be out the next few weeks because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee that he suffered in Friday's practice.

This is too bad because Martin was really making progress in his first season and had broke into the starting lineup.

Martin may even miss the remainder of the year if he is forced to have surgery.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

UVM'S Blakely Cleared To Play

Vermont sophomore forward Marqus Blakely has been cleared to play in tomorrow's afternoon matchup against UAlbany.
Blakely, who missed two games earlier in the year, aggravated a foot injury while trying to complete an alley-oop on Thursday against Binghamton, but x-rays taken Friday showed no fractures.

Averaging 18.7 points, good for second best in the America East, Blakely hasn't practiced with the team for the past couple of weeks and has often been wearing a protective boot.

We will see if the injury slows Blakely tomorrow or if his effectiveness is minimized.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Saints Goal: No. 2

Tonight, 9 p.m.
Where: FedEx Forum (18,400), Memphis, Tenn.
Radio: WOFX - AM 590 (Robert Lee, Tom Huerter)
TV: Comcast Sports Southeast (Bob Neal, Richard Williams) will be aired on TW3 in Capital Region
2007-08 Records: Siena 7-4 overall (2-0 MAAC), Memphis 11-0 overall (0-0 Conference USA)
Last Meeting: Siena 72, Memphis 59, Washington Avenue Armory, Albany, Jan. 21, 1953
All-Time Series: Siena leads series 1-0
Siena Notes: The Saints are coming off of their biggest win in almost seven years, a 35-point victory over Dartmouth on Monday. This is the highest ranked opponent Siena has ever played, with the Tigers ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Saints are 3-3 all-time against teams from Conference USA, but this is only the second matchup since Siena started playing at the Division I level. The other, an 89-79 win over Tulane in the 1994 NIT before a school-record 15,727 at Knickerbocker Arena. Siena will again be without third leading scorer and leading rebounder Alex Franklin, who is suffering from a bulging disc in his back.
Memphis Notes: The Tigers are coming off of wins over No. 17 Arizona (Dec. 29) and No. 5 Georgetown (Dec. 22). Add to that, wins over Oklahoma, Connecticut and USC and many people believe Memphis should be ranked No. 1. Point guard Derrick Rose is ranked as one of the top freshman in the country, was a McDonald's All-American and has started all 11 of the Tigers games. Coach John Calipari has averaged 26 wins in his first seven seasons at Memphis and the Tigers went 16-0 in league play last season and then advanced all the way to the Elite 8 before losing to Ohio State.
No. Player Pos. Yr. Ht. Ppg.
12 Ryan Rossiter F Fr. 6-9 2.1
23 Edwin Ubiles F So. 6-7 17.1
41 Kenny Hasbrouck G Jr. 6-3 16.0
25 Ronald Moore G So. 5-11 11.0
4 Tay Fisher G Sr. 5-9 8.0
No. Player Pos. Yr. Ht. Ppg.
2 Robert Dozier F Jr. 6-9 10.7
3 Joey Dorsey F Sr. 6-9 7.9
14 Chris Douglas-Roberts G Jr. 6-7 17.4
5 Antonio Anderson G Jr. 6-6 7.0
23 Derrick Rose G Fr. 6-3 15.5

Great Danes Open League Play

When: Tonight, 7 p.m. Where: Lundholm Gymnasium (3,500), Durham, N.H.
Radio: WOFX - 980 AM (Roger Wyland, Greg Tobben)
2007-08 Records: UAlbany 5-7 overall (0-0 America East) New Hampshire 3-8 overall (0-0 America East)
Last Meeting: UAlbany 64, New Hampshire 47, Agganis Arena, Boston, Mass. (2007 America East Tournament)
All-Time Series: UAlbany lead series 15-5
UAlbany Notes: The Great Danes have a 3-3 record in America East Conference openers. UAlbany has won their last three season openers, including last year's 69-52 victory over New Hampshire at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes got off to their best Division I start this season at 4-1, but since have lost six of their last seven games. UAlbany is 4-2 all-time at Lundholm Gymnasium. In Sunday's game against Iowa State, Brent Wilson became the 28 th member of the 1,000 point club in school history.
New Hampshire Notes: The Wildcats have dropped seven straight following a 49-46 loss to Colgate on Dec. 30. Tri-captain Mike Christensen is back this year after missing the second half of last season and the senior is averaging 12.4 points per game. New Hampshire started the season 3-1 after wins over Suffolk, Central Connecticut State and Quinnipiac.
No. Player Pos. Yr. Ht. Ppg.
34 Brent Wilson F Sr. 6-8 9.4
33 Brian Connelly F Jr. 6-8 9.9
54 Brett Gifford C So. 6-11 1.7
21 Brian Lillis G Sr. 6-5 13.3
3 Josh Martin G Fr. 6-2 6.1
No. Player Pos. Yr. Ht. Ppg.
33 Mike Christensen F Sr. 6-8 12.4
1 Dane DiLiegro C Fr. 6-8 4.8
4 Tyrece Gibbs G Jr. 6-2 12.9
25 Alvin Abreu G Fr. 6-1 11.9
23 Eric Gilchrese G Jr. 6-1 12.0

2007 America East Preseason Poll
Team (First Place) (Votes)
1. Boston University (5) 61
2. UAlbany (4) 55
3. Vermont 50
4. Binghamton 45
5. UMBC 33
6. Hartford 31
7. Stony Brook 19
T8. Maine 15
T8. New Hampshire 15