Sunday, February 22, 2009

Danes get "team" win

UAlbany coach Will Brown said it was truly a "team" victory on Sunday as the Great Danes snapped a five-game losing skid.

“These guys really executed the gameplan, the scout and played hard," Brown said.

Without Anthony Raffa (toe) or Louis Barraza (Achilles) and with Will Harris having one of his quieter league games this season, others stepped up.

“Every guy that was playing and the guys that weren’t playing were in the game, cheering us on and we left everything on the floor," sophomore Tim Ambrose said.

Jerel Hastings, Mike Johnson, Billy Allen and Jimmie Covington all played more that 15 minutes and contributed.

Hastings had a game and career-highs with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Johnson stepped up with Raffa out and had six assists to just one turnover and as Brown said afterwards, he's the closest thing UAlbany has to a true point guard.

“I think these guys know when Mike has the ball, there’s a good chance they’re going to get it, especially if they run in transition or he penetrates,” Brown said. “He’s always looking for guys and that’s something that this team needs.”

Brown even sang the praises of Allen, who didn't score, but had five assists.

“He’s our best passer against zones,” Brown said. “The problem is he’s a much better shooter than what he showed this year, he’s just letting it get to his head. I thought he gave us a lift in Will’s absence tonight.”

Brown also said it was the hard work in the week of practice before this game that allowed them to get the win.

“We need to realize that we won this game on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, what’s today, Sunday, so I’ll keep going Saturday,” Brown said. “We need to win this New Hampshire game on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”

While UAlbany avoided what could have been a disastrous loss and fallen into eighth place in the conference standings, Brown hopes they can climb a little higher than where they are now, tied for fifth.

“We’re looking at fifth,” Brown said. “We think if we win the next two, we’re guaranteed fifth.”

One note on Maine senior Philippe Tchekane-Bofia, who played prep ball at Redemption Christian Academy in Troy.

Tchekane-Bofia's career is over according to Maine coach Ted Woodward, who said he couldn't discuss the injury that is keeping him out this season and the rest of his career.

“He’s medically unable,” Woodward said.

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