Saturday, March 28, 2009

BU contacts McCaffery

Boston University followed up a move of firing Dennis Wolff following this season, by contacting Siena coach Fran McCaffery, according to the Boston Globe.

Here's the link.

It would be pretty silly to think McCaffery would even consider making this move, even though Boston University does have a good program and was voted the No. 1 America East team the last two preseasons.

According to the article, McCaffery's response was....

"They contacted me last week by e-mail," McCaffery said yesterday. "They wanted me to come to Boston and talk. I told them that [they] had to ask permission from my athletic director. They didn't seem willing to do that."

While McCaffery is clearly one of the hottest names in the coaching business right now because of Siena's success, I'm almost 100 percent postive he wouldn't leave unless it was for a BCS school, in a pefrect situation.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hasbrouck looks back/ahead

"I’m proud to say that I’m a Siena Saint.”

That was one of the quotes that stuck out to me when talking to senior Kenny Hasbrouck on Tuesday.

Hasbrouck has always been a great and honest interview and a player that I will truly miss covering because of the way he conducted himself on and off of the court.

Look for more on Hasbrouck as he reflects on his career and looks ahead to the Siena team of 2009-10 in Wednesday's paper.

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CBS Hasbrouck Feature

In case you were in Dayton or just missed it, here is a link to the four-minute feature that CBS ran on Siena senior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck and his family during halftime of Sunday's Syracuse/Arizona Sate game.

I'll have more on Hasbrouck and the rest of the Saints in Wednesday's paper.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Francesa: Siena could be the next Gonzaga

On Monday's Mike Francesa show, Siena coach Fran McCaffery was on as a guest, one day after his team ended their season in a spirited effort against the top seed in the tournament, Lousiville. 

Francesa said McCaffery has the Siena program on the verge of becoming the Gonzaga of the East and this is how McCaffery responded.  

"I would welcome that challenge."

McCaffery has two years left on his contract, but Francesa said the success will bring callers about McCaffery services. 

"His phone rings now, that's how it works and then he makes a decision," Francesa said. "That team is in a good place. That's not a place where you need to run to get out of. He's got that thing where they're getting close (John Minko), that they could become like your Butler team."

"Butler, Western Kentucky and Siena are trying to be that next Gonzaga, where they get in the tournament no matter what," Francesa said. 

Francesa gave a lot of credit to McCaffery and the Siena program. 

"America will like what they saw and if they hadn't seen a lot of Siena, now two years in a row, you've gone in and made a lot of noise in the NCAA Tournament," Francesa said. "It's a tremendous achievement for your program and for you. You should be congratulated and you should be very proud of yourself and your program both Friday night, in hostile territory and then yesterday, against a team, that who knows could win a national championship this year."  

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Moore's shot

(Sports Illustrated)

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Saints win in double overtime

Ronald Moore hits big 3-pointers to push the team into double overtime and then the game-winner to give Siena a 74-72 victory and their second straight year with an NCAA Tournament win.

The Saints will face top-seed Louisville on Sunday.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

SI: Franklin and Siena one to foul

In the newest addition of Sports Illustrated, there is a NCAA tournament preview and one of the sections focuses on free throw shooting. 

Siena and junior forward Alex Franklin are listed negatively as one of the teams that will struggle down the stretch and Franklin as a player to go after in a close game. 

As a team, Siena shoots 66.2 percent (484-731), which is shown in the SI as the ninth worst team in the field of 65. 

Franklin shoots 61.2 percent (126-206) and is on a list of 10 players who you should foul at the end of the game. 

"I shoot a lot of free throws by myself to get the repetition down," said Franklin before the team left for Dayton, Ohio where they will take on Ohio State on Friday. "I think we're going to be all right. Especially in games like this, in tournament situations, free throws are going to be key, so I'm going to do my job, what I can do and I know the rest of the team is going to do the same thing."

By no way is Franklin anywhere near the top guy on the list. Syracuse's Arinze Onuaku is 30 percent (36-120) shooter.

Siena's foul shooting has been an issue all season, but it really hasn't cost them any games, except maybe the Wichita State or Oklahoma State games in the Old Spice Classic in November. 

The funny thing is most of the Siena players are pretty good shooters and practice it every day, which is why coach Fran McCaffery said he hasn't been overly concerned about it during the season.  

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Raffa receives release

I'll post this straight from the email I received from the University at Albany. 

"Anthony Raffa, a freshman on the University at Albany basketball team, was granted a permission to speak release today with regard to transferring to another institution and potentially participating in men's basketball. Raffa personally received the document from the compliance office at 1 p.m." 

If I can figure this out, it looks as if Raffa will be able to look elsewhere beginning today. 

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Glens Falls native Fredette on

I had a chance to cover Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette a couple of times during his high school career.

It's great that he is doing so well at BYU in his sophomore season.

Fredette and the Cougars will kick off NCAA Tournament coverage tomorrow when they take on ninth-seed Texas A&M at 12:30.

The story also mentions former Section II standout and current Penn State guard Talor Battle and the Albany City Rocks.

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Report: Raffa leaving UAlbany

The Wildwood (N.J.) Leader is reporting as fact that Anthony Raffa has been granted a release from his scholarship at the University at Albany

That would be a big blow to the Great Danes because Raffa started 25 games as a freshman and averaged 9.7 points per game before a toe injury really slowed him down at the end of the year. 

An email from UAlbany Sports Information Director said that the report is speculation at this time. 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Super sophomores key to Siena's success

From Tuesday's Print Edition

LOUDONVILLE Ryan Rossiter remembers a conversation he had with his father after the 2007 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship game.

Rossiter had signed to join the Saints the next season, but had just watched Siena fall to Niagara and the Purple Eagles punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

On the drive home from Bridgeport, Conn., to his home on Staten Island, Steve Rossiter told his son the loss could be a good thing for him.

“We were talking about how intense of a game it was and I remember my father saying, ‘it might hurt for them, but it might be a good thing for you because they’ll be hungrier next season,’” Ryan Rossiter said.

Steve then told his youngest son that he would probably play in an NCAA Tournament and it could even be in his very first season.

“I think my dad saw what we had as a team and what we had coming back,” Ryan Rossiter said. “He knew how hard everyone was going to work, so it was definitely a reality and it worked out.”

Ryan played just 22 minutes and had only a single basket in Siena’s two NCAA Tournament games in 2008.

Now, as a sophomore, Ryan is one of the biggest reasons that this Saints squad earned the best seed in program history, a No. 9 and why this Siena team has something last year’s team was lacking; depth.

With Rossiter and fellow sophomore Clarence Jackson emerging into big-time players and the maturation of freshman Kyle Downey and Owen Wignot, this year’s Siena team can go nine players deep.

“I think we can definitely go deeper on the bench (than last season),” Rossiter said. “Josh (Duell) is back, so that will help us down low and I think more guys can contribute at any moment this year.”

Rossiter has posted nine double-doubles this season and leads the team, averaging 7.8 rebounds per game, while Jackson, who earned MAAC Sixth Player of the Year honors, has posted double-digit scoring efforts nine times, including a career-high 28 points against Saint Joseph’s.

“Ryan really got it going early on,” Jackson said. “Then, I fell into it in midseason. Coach (Fran McCaffery) just lets us go out there and play. I think he sees stuff in us and playing is only going to make us both better players.”

Jackson has done a good job filling the role of graduated senior Tay Fisher, who was instant offense off the bench, especially in the huge upset of Vanderbilt.

“You think about his production per minute played and he might be number one in the country,” McCaffery said. “Eight points per game in 14 minutes, I don’t know if anybody does that.”

If Jackson played 31 minutes, or the average of the Siena starters this season, he’d be averaging more than 17 points per game.

“We only lost Tay last year and we got more scorers with me and Kyle and Josh coming off the bench,” Jackson said. “We’re a very deep team. There’s no selfishness, everyone is able to gel and we’re able to be successful.”

Downey and Wignot have both had good games already this year and showed they’re capable of contributing in big situations.

Downey practically won the game at Marist back in January, with a career-high 15 points and two huge 3-pointers in the final 47 seconds of regulation, while Wignot didn’t miss a shot (6-6) in the three games at the MAAC Tournament.

“I don’t know if you can prepare yourself for what they’re walking into,” said McCaffery about his freshman playing in the NCAA Tournament. “You want them to enjoy it, but understand that we need both of them on Friday night.”

The Saints won’t be flying under the radar this time around after what happened last March in Tampa, Fla., but the added depth should help them out against their first round opponent Ohio State.

“With the emergence of Clarence, myself coming off the bench as a senior and some good freshman that are ready to play at any moment, I think that helps us a lot,” said Duell, a senior co-captain.

Rossiter, who has moved into Duell’s starting role this season, is trying to make sure he doesn’t take both he and his teams successes for granted.

“Not too many people get a chance to play in one NCAA Tournament, but to play in two in a row is great,” said Rossiter

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Ohio State player's blog

Mark Titus is a junior on the Ohio State basketball team and he keeps a blog.

Here is the link in case you want to check it out.

First off, Titus has only played two minutes this season and intially joined the team as the team manager for the 2006-07 season before then joining the team as a walk-on.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta says he is the best shooter on the team.

The Buckeyes will play Siena on Friday in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ohio State it is

If you look at my post below, I actually predicted that Siena would get Ohio State.

Okay, I didn't get either seed correct or the location, but I think I'm going to get a lotto ticket tonight.

More on the Buckeyes and the site later.

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One last prediction

It's a little more than three hours before the Selection Show begins and Joe Lunardi's has his last Bracketology out. 

He predicts Siena will garner a No. 9 seed and play against Butler in Dayton, with the winner to meet Pittsburgh or Morehead State

First off, I would like to point out that would pit two mid-majors against each other, which is something I personally don't really like. Butler and Siena both could make runs in this tournament, that's what makes the NCAA Tournament so great is that teams most people don't know can make a name for themselves. 

To pit them against each other makes sure that one will be eliminated in the first round. 

While the Saints could really be playing anywhere against anyone and have a seed from 9-12, I'll give it a wing here.

I have Siena as a 10th-seed, playing No. 7 Ohio State in Greensboro

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Saints play Bracketologists

LOUDONVILLE - The Siena Saints must wait until Sunday to find out where they will head for the NCAA Tournament, but before Friday's practice I gave a chance to let them sound off about where they'd like to be.

“I would like to play in Philly,” junior point guard Ronald Moore said. “If not Philly, somewhere warm.”

Moore is from just outside the Philadelphia area and is just one of the many Siena ties to the city of Brotherly Love.

“I’d be so happy for Ronald Moore and Clarence Jackson in particular, but all of our guys who live close to Philly,” Siena coach Fran McCaffery said. “But I think more importantly for our fans and our students. If you get an NCAA site that’s in driving distance, everyone goes. If we’re in Boise, we’ll have a substantial amount of people, but it won’t be as many.”

It would be a big crowd, one that Moore would enjoy, but have a tough time dealing with ticket requests.

“I think I would just shut off my phone,” Moore said.

McCaffery said the ticket requests wouldn't be a problem.

“It won’t be a problem,” said McCaffery, who said he would turn the duties over to his brother Jack. “I’ll have a limited number that I’ll take care of who I can.”

While Philadelphia would be nice, some of the other Saints wanted to go further south.

“I can’t lie, Miami would be great, get back to Florida,” sophomore Ryan Rossiter said.

Regardless of where they play, the Saints feel they deserve a better seed than last year's 13.

“Absolutely,” McCaffery said.

“Our RPI this year is Top 30, our strength of schedule, out of conference is one or two, we have 26 wins and we’re not afraid to play anyone, anywhere,” Rossiter said. “I think that should be taken into consideration, but it’s not up to us, so whatever the committee feels is right, I’m okay with.”

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One picture says it all

(Kenny Hasbrouck kisses the 2009 MAAC Trophy - AP)

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Siena goes back-to-back

The Saints used a big second half to defeat Niagara 77-70, win their second consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship and punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament on Monday night. 

"I wasn't going to lose," said senior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck, who played through a calf injury to score a team-high 19 points. 

It's will be the program's fifth trip to the "Big Dance."

"I'm so happy for them," said former Siena player Tay Fisher, who added that he would try to make the trip to the NCAA Tournament. 

The Saints will find out their dancing partner this Sunday. 

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Hasbrouck: I'm going to start

You heard it correctly, right from the source. 

"You can tell everybody but Niagara," said Hasbrouck, when asked if he was going to start in tonight's MAAC Championship game at 9 p.m. 

Hasbrouck said the pain has decreased significantly since last night. 

"It went from (on a scale) an eight to a four," Hasbrouck said. "It's increasingly getting better and I hope I can keep putting more pressure on it before the game starts, so I can have more confidence going into the game."

Hasbrouck said from the get-go he was not going to participate in the walk-through. 

"I didn't want to do anything to mess it up before the game," Hasbrouck said. 

Still, Kenny says even if he's not 100 percent, he will be in the game and making an impact. 

"It's going to be good enough to help my team out," Hasbrouck said.  

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Nearly 8,000 tickets sold

As of 3:15 p.m., 7,743 tickets have been sold to tonight's championship game between Siena and Niagara, according to the MAAC figures. 

Last year's championship game between Siena and Rider drew 9,279 according to the box score on the Siena web site. 

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Saints shoot, Hasbrouck sits

I just arrived at the Siena shootaround before tonight's championship game. 

The Saints are shooting and walking through things, even Josh Duell, who has a Niagara purple colored bruise on his entire left leg. 

Apparently Duell will be ready to go tonight and he's participating, but fellow captain Kenny Hasbrouck is not. 

Hasbrouck is wearing a t-shirt and sweat pants and sitting in the bench area, watching his team go through drills. 

When I got here he had his right leg elevated on another seat, but now he's got two feet on the ground. 

I'll have more on Hasbrouck around 4:15 after the practice is complete. 

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Purple Eagles and Saints for it all

Niagara pulled out an exciting double overtime victory against Rider to set up a matchup worthy of seeing Monday night. 

The Purple Eagles and Saints split the regular season series, with each team winning on their home floor and both teams are very good. 

I assume Kenny Hasbrouck, who sustained a calf injury with 17 minutes to go will play, but here's what Siena coach Fran McCaffery said about him not. 

"We'll have to use our bench a little more," McCaffery said. "I thought Clarence (Jackson) was very good tonight. We know what we can get out of Kyle Downey. We can move Eddie (Ubiles) back there. We can play Owen Wignot. We have some options."

Hasbrouck has played and started all 126 games of Siena career. 

The Siena players seemed pretty confident that their teammate will play. 

"I have full confidence in Kenny," said Jackson, who led the team with 16 points against Fairfield. "He's going to try to do anything he can (to play)."

McCaffery still seemed uncertain though. 

"I don't think I would have been concerned if they brought him back out and said he's ready to go," McCaffery said. 

The Saints have a shoot-around scheduled for 3-4 p.m. in downtown Albany and I'll try to post an update on Hasbrouck. 

Here's what a couple of the Saints thought about playing Niagara, before they knew it would be the Purple Eagles in the title game. 

"We owe them both a game," said Hasbrouck, referring to the face that Rider and Niagara each dealt Siena on of their two conference losses on the year. 

"I think the next game is going to be real tough," added sophomore Ryan Rossiter

Siena has won 20 games in a row at home and they will be tough to knock off in front of what should be a tremendous crowd tomorrow, but if any team could, it would be Niagara. 

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

UAlbany's season ends in semis

It was definitely interesting covering UAlbany this season. 

They had a lot of ups and downs and were like a different team at home where they were 10-4. 

UAlbany coach Will Brown had a somewhat difficult time taking about his seniors after the game because they won't be suiting up for him again. 

It shows you that when they aren't playing basketball, they are still very close because they are all teammates. 

"I got calls yesterday from Jamar Wilson, who's over in Belgium, Jason Siggers from Switzerland, Brent Wilson drove up today, Brian Lillis sends me a nice text, 'Tell the seniors not to choke today,' because that's the relationship he has with those guys," said Brown following the game. 

With that being said, I'll post a quote here from both Brian Connelly and Jimmie Covington. 

"When I came here I was a kid," Connelly said. "I got to play basketball and that was the only thing going on in my life. Now, that chapter is closed and I've got to move on."

"It hurts," Covington said. "I've been here for four years and this is like my family."

Junior Will Harris was asked what he wants to do next season. 

"I feel like I have to have a better season next year," Harris responded.

Harris was then asked in what way could he get better. 

"In every way, making it to the championship," Harris said. "It's about winning games and winning championships and that's what I look forward to doing next year."

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UMBC returns to AE Title Game

The University of Maryland-Baltimore County got a game-high 29 points from senior Jay Greene to advance back to the America East championship game by defeating the University at Albany 64-58 at SEFCU Arena on Sunday afternoon. 

The Retrievers (15-16) will meet the winner of today's second semifinal between Binghamton and New Hampshire, next Saturday at 11 a.m. 

UAlbany got 21 points from Tim Ambrose and 14 more from Will Harris. 

The Great Danes (15-16) had a chance to tie the game with less than 30 seconds to go, but Louis Barraza's 3-pointer from the right side was off the mark. 

Greene scored UMBC's last eight points, including five shots from the free throw line. 

"Jay Greene was due," UAlbany coach Will Brown said. "Unfortunately, we were the team on the receiving end."

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UMBC up 30-24 at half

UAlbany led by as many as 11 in the first half before a momentum-turning play that involved Brett Gifford and Chauncey Gilliam

The Retrievers ended the half on a 18-4 run. 

One of these teams is 20 minutes from the championship game. 

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saints and Stags: MAAC Semifinal

ALBANY - Kenny Hasbrouck said he airballed the first two shots in warmup, saying he wasn't quite used to seeing no curtain covering part of the upper deck of the arena in downtown Albany, but that certainly didn't slow him once the game started. 

Hasbrouck made his first shot, a deep 3-pointer and from there scored 16 points in helping to lead the Saints into the semifinals. 

"Once we put the ball in his hands, he got real aggressive offensively," said Siena coach Fran McCaffery. 

Hasbrouck played a lot at the point in the first half because of the foul trouble of Ronald Moore, but ran the offense effectively. 

While McCaffery was quick to praise the defense, Hasbrouck wouldn't go as far to say that all of the worries were taken care of because of this one good performance. 

"If we do it two days in a row, I think it would," Hasbrouck said. "We have to keep it up."

If you thought you saw mohawks on Alex Franklin and Clarence Jackson, you were correct. 

"I just wanted to try something different," said Franklin, whose mohawk wasn't affected by the hard foul from Robert Goldsberry. "(Jackson) and I were the only ones who followed through with it though."

Neither McCaffery nor a Siena player would come right out and say their play was different after the hard foul, but here was there responses. 

"A little bit," said McCaffery when asked if the hard foul provided any kind of a spark to his team. 

"A little bit," echoed Franklin only moments later. 

Siena beat Fairfield both times this season, but McCaffery was quick to praise both the Stags head coach Ed Cooley and their players, following the win. 

"I think Ed Cooley has done as fine of a coaching job as there is in the country," McCaffery said. 

Cooley has had to deal with losing preseason first team selection Jonathan Han and also with an assortment of injuries. 

"I give a lot of credit to their players for continuing to believe when it would have been real easy to pack it in," McCaffery continued. 

There's no doubt Siena will be focused and prepared to return to the championship game. 

"They played us hard both games and we just have to come out and do what we have to do to get the job done," said freshman Owen Wignot

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Siena wins big

Siena defeats Canisius 77-52 and they will advance to take on No. 5 Fairfield tomorrow at 6 p.m. 

Edwin Ubiles led all scorers with 18 points, but he had just two points at the half. 

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Danes excited for AE Semifinal

UAlbany (15-15) will take on UMBC (14-16) in an improbable semifinal on Sunday at SEFCU Arena. 

The Great Danes were obviously ecstatic about the win. 

"I knew we had our hands full, so it was a great effort from our kids," UAlbany coach Will Brown said. 

Both Brown and senior co-captain Brian Connelly took a second to say something to Vermont all-conference senior Mike Trimboli following the game. 

Trimboli never made it to the NCAA Tournament in his four years at Vermont and UAlbany was a big reason why. 

"I just wanted to let him know how I felt about his talent and his desire to compete," Connelly said. 

Trimboli's status for the tournament was uncertain because of a viral infection that kept him out of the regular season finale. 

"He's had a great career, he's a fierce competitor and there has been a huge rivalry between us in our time here," Connelly said. "Luckily for me, we came out on top, but that shouldn't take anything away from him."

UAlbany was helped by a big-time hometown crowd. 

"I felt we gave the crowd energy and then the crowd responded and helped us," Connelly said. "That's how Albany fans are, they are great at responding like that and they helped us out with their energy."


One of Vermont's best chances to win the game came when Trimboli stripped Mike Johnson and tapped the ball to Marqus Blakely

Blakely, a regular customer on SportsCenter for his highlight reel dunks, dribbled the ball off of his leg very uncharacteristically. 

"When you see Blakely taking off with the ball, you think SportsCenter, so thank god he dribbled off his knee," Brown said. 


UAlbany and UMBC split the season series, with both teams winning on their home floors. 

The game in Baltimore was just seven days ago and the Retrievers won 68-64. 

"I think they have a great chance to win tomorrow," said Vermont coach Mike Lonergan, before knowing who the Great Danes would play. 


Connelly joked about how long the second half felt, as the Great Danes lost the lead, regained it and then had to play overtime. 

"That was the longest second half ever," Connelly said. "I looked up at the clock and it said four (minutes) and then what felt like three hours later, it said 3:30."  

UAlbany won this game with grit and determination and as Brown said by making it a "slugfest."

"I think this time of year you win defending, you win pounding the glass and you find way to score," Brown said. 

The Great Danes will be trying to cook up that formula again tomorrow. 

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UAlbany advances in OT

The Great Danes survived, getting five Mike Johnson free throws down the stretch to defeat second-seed Vermont 56-52 in overtime. 

UAlbany will play the winner of UMBC/Boston University at 2 p.m. tomorrow for a spot in the America East Championship game. 

I'll have more, including what Brian Connelly said to Mike Trimboli following the game in a little bit. 

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Danes dealing early

We've reached halftime at the SEFCU Arena

The crowd is alive and great for both sides. 

UAlbany had the lead as big as 15 and lead 33-19 at halftime. 

Vermont got seven points from Marqus Blakely and four from Mike Trimboli. 

The Great Danes shot 60 percent (15-25) from the field and got 11 points from the suddenly resurgent Will Harris

The defense from UAlbany is the first half was absolutely incredible. They played like a different team than the one that ended the season losers of seven of their last eight. 

They really frustrated Blakely, who was arguing with the officials on more than one occasion, and finished the first half with four turnovers. 

Tim Ambrose had a couple of silly fouls again, but he was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. 

It will be interesting to see if the Great Danes can hold onto to this momentum. 

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Where are the students?

The quarterfinal game between Vermont and UAlbany is less than three minutes away and the crowd is terrific except for one thing. 

Where are the students?

The two end zones are scarcely packed with students. 

This should be a great game and it may even be a sellout already, with not everyone actually here, but it's too bad many of the students will be missing out on this one. 

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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Lights are on

Following Canisius' 74-68 victory over Loyola (Md.) in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament, Frank Turner said he would be ready for the meeting with top-seed Siena. 

Turner said he updated his facebook status before the MAAC Tournament to say "When the lights are on, it's time to perform." 

Turner performed Friday with a game-high 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists. 

Turner and the Golden Griffins gave the Saints quite a scare last Sunday, when Siena escaped from Buffalo with a 78-74 victory. 

"They have our full attention," said Siena coach Fran McCaffery, who was watching the game courtside. 

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Siena vs. Canisius

The Saints will have a rematch with No. 9 Canisius after the Golden Griffins defeated Loyola 74-68 on Friday evening. 

AE Quarterfinals - UAlbany vs. Vermont

I'm still in downtown Albany, watching game five of six at the MAAC Tournament

Siena coach Fran McCaffery and his staff are sitting just off to my right, waiting to see who they will play, Loyola (Md.) or Canisius

The Great Danes kick things off tomorrow at SEFCU Arena, in about 15 hours. 

Here's a little bit more about the Great Danes' matchup with the Catamounts. 

UAlbany is 6-5 in their seven seasons in the America East Tournament. 

The Great Danes are 2-1 against the Catamounts, winning the titles in 2006 and 2007 and losing in the 2003 quarterfinals as a seven-seed (the same seeds the teams are for this matchup). 

No. 7 seeds are 0-23 all-time in the tournament against the No. 2. 

"We're not projected to win, but it could go either way," sophomore guard Tim Ambrose said. "It's going to be a great game between us."

UAlbany is clearly the underdog, something that hasn't been the case recently in this tournament. 

"We've beaten the three best teams in our league," senior co-captain Brian Connelly said. "There's no reason why we can't do it again."

As far as Mike Trimboli, Vermont's senior all-conference guard who is questionable with a viral infection, UAlbany is preparing for him to play. 

"I'd be shocked if he's not in uniform and does not start," said UAlbany coach Will Brown

While the Great Danes may be the heavy underdog on paper, things like the homecourt even the playing field considerably. 

"We know that we're good enough to compete with them," junior Will Harris said. "If we come out, play tough and do the right things, then we should be able to win the game, especially since it's at home."

Prediction: Vermont 74, UAlbany 65 (This game will be exciting, but I think the Catamounts will be too much) 

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America East Awards

I'm back in downtown Albany watching the Siena women's game after attending the America East banquet. 

Here are the awards. 

SEFCU All-Academic Team
Junior Bernal, Maine
Brian Connelly, UAlbany
Jaret Von Rosenberg, Hartford
Justin Fry, UMBC
Radar Onguetou, New Hampshire

All-Rookie Team
Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook
Bryan Dougher, Stony Brook
Gerald McLemore, Maine
Jake O'Brien, Boston University
Garvey Young, Vermont

All-Defensive Team
Marqus Blakely, Vermont
Marques Cox, Stony Brook
Reggie Fuller, Binghamton
Jerel Hastings, UAlbany
Matt Wolff, Boston University

Third Team
Tim Ambrose, UAlbany
Reggie Fuller, Binghamton
Will Harris, UAlbany
Colin McIntosh, Vermont
Jaret Von Rosenberg, Hartford

Second Team
Muhammad El-Amin, Stony Brook
Tyrece Gibbs, New Hampshire
Jay Greene, UMBC
Emanuel Mayben, Binghamton (Troy native)
D.J. Rivera, Binghamton

First Team
Marqus Blakely, Vermont
John Holland, Boston University
Corey Lowe, Boston University
Darryl Proctor, UMBC
Mike Trimboli, Vermont

Coach of the Year
Kevin Broadus, Binghamton

Rookie of the Year
Jake O'Brien, Boston University

Defensive Player of the Year
Marqus Blakely, Vermont

Kevin Roberson Player of the Year
Marqus Blakely, Vermont

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

More than 3,000 sold for UAlbany session

As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, 3,075 tickets have been sold for Saturday's first session of the America East Tournament which includes UAlbany vs. Vermont at 12 p.m. and Boston University vs. UMBC

In total, 8,295 seats have been sold for the first three sessions on Friday and Saturday. 

The SEFCU Arena holds 4,538 fans.

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MAAC Awards

The Siena men's team and Canisius women's squad took home most of the hardware on Thursday night. 

Here are the winners. 

Rookie of the Year
Kristina Ford, Iona
Scott Machado, Iona

Sixth Player of the Year
Ellie Radke, Canisius
Clarence Jackson, Siena

Defensive Player of the Year
Brittane Russell, Canisius
Tyrone Lewis, Niagara

Coach of the Year
Terry Zeh, Canisius
Fran McCaffery, Siena

Player of the Year 
Rachele Fitz, Marist
Kenny Hasbrouck, Siena

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MAAC Tournament - Day 1

I'm down here live and we're one for one with upsets as the tenth-seed Niagara women's team improved to 3-27 with a 71-67 victory over Rider (10-20). 

I was busy writing something for tomorrow's paper, but it was a very exciting game down the stretch. 

Shaunice Parker led all scorers with 20 points for the Broncs, while the Purple Eagles got 19 points apiece from Ali Morris and Jennifer McNamee

The second and final game of the day, Loyola (Md.) and Manhattan is just about to get started, but I have run up to UAlbany to talk to coach Will Brown about his team's first round matchup with Vermont

Later today, the MAAC Player of the Year and Coach of the Year will be announced. 

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trimboli's status uncertain

Vermont is certainly the favorite when the co-regular season champions take to the SEFCU Arena floor on Saturday to play the University at Albany, but the matchup might be getting much more favorable for the Great Danes. 

According to the Burlington Free Press, Vermont senior guard Mike Trimboli may miss the America East Conference Tournament because of a "undisclosed illness."

Trimboli is a likely First Team All-Conference selection after averaging a team-best 16.3 points, in addition to 4.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. 

Trimboli is also 32 points away from the 2,000-point mark for his career and before missing the season finale at Maine, had started 123 consecutive games. 

Vermont is still a very deep team (they scored 93 points and beat the Black Bears without Trimboli), but this would certainly help UAlbany. 

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Duell will play...Moore finally honored

Siena senior co-captain Josh Duell still has a large bruise on his left calf, but he seemed optimistic at the very least that he will play in this weekend's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. 

"If my legs not getting cut off, I'm going to play," Duell said. 

Duell's basketball career is winding down and I can't see the Scotia native not getting out on the floor for his last few games. 

"I think Josh is going to play," Siena coach Fran McCaffery said. "I'm fairly certain. The question is how effective he'll be."

Duell said he's getting better every day, but wouldn't practice Tuesday and may not on Wednesday. 

I got a chance to ask junior point guard Ronald Moore what he thought about being named to the MAAC All-Conference Second Team. 

"It's definitely a great accomplishment for me to make the Second Team," Moore said. "Also having Edwin (Ubiles) and Kenny (Hasbrouck) being on the First Team it says a lot about our team. We have a lot of weapons and a lot of great players."

Despite being nominated for the Bob Cousy Award earlier this season, an award for the nation's top point guard, Moore hadn't been recognized in his first two years by the MAAC. 

I also had a chance to ask Moore about teammate Ryan Rossiter, who was the only starter on the Saints that was not named to a an all-conference team.  

"Ryan's not worried about it at all," Moore said. "He definitely wants to win the championship more than anything and that's how I looked my first two years as well."

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Monday, March 2, 2009

All-MAAC Teams

The All-MAAC teams were released today. 

Here's the men's teams 
Scott Machado, Iona
Anthony Winbush, Loyola
R.J. Hall, Marist
Novar Gadson, Rider
Kyle Downey, Siena

Third Team
Frank Turner, Canisius
Greg Nero, Fairfield
Gary Springer, Iona
Darryl Crawford, Manhattan 
Wesley Jenkins, Saint Peter's

Second Team
Jamal Barney, Loyola
Ryan Schneider, Marist
Benson Egemonye, Niagara
Alex Franklin, Siena
Ronald Moore, Siena

First Team
Bilal Benn, Niagara
Tyrone Lewis, Niagara
Ryan Thompson, Rider
Kenny Hasbrouck, Siena#
Edwin Ubiles, Siena#
# repeat First Team selection

Women's Teams
Stephanie MacDonald, Canisius
Desiree Pina, Fairfield
Kristina Ford, Iona
Alyssa Herrington, Manhattan 
Lindsey Loutsenhizer, Manhattan
Brandy Gag, Marist
Sarah Homan, Rider
Sakara House, Saint Peter's 

Third Team
Amanda Cavo, Canisius
Stephanie Geehan, Fairfield
Anda Ivkovic, Iona
Erica Allenspach, Marist
Liz Flooks, Niagara

Second Team
Brittane Russell, Canisius
Kelly Regan, Manhattan
Tammy Meyers, Rider
Tania Kennedy, Saint Peter's 
Heather Stec, Siena

First Team 
Marie Warner, Canisius
Baendu Lowenthal, Fairfield 
Thazina Cook, Iona
Rachele Fitz, Marist#
Julianne Viani, Marist
# repeat First Team selection

There was plenty of talent left off of the list, but did the MAAC coaches get it right? Let the discussions/arguments begin. 

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

UAlbany falls; face co-champion Vermont

The University at Albany fell 68-64 to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. 

Sophomore Tim Ambrose tied for game-high honors with 19 points, while both Jerel Hastings and Will Harris added 11 points apiece.  

The Great Danes (6-10, 14-15) will face co-champions of the regular season Vermont (13-3, 23-7)in the first round. 

Here are the other matchups for the America East Tournament.

No. 8 Maine vs. No. 9 Hartford, 7 p.m.  

No. 7 UAlbany vs. No 2 Vermont, 12 p.m. 
No. 6 UMBC vs. No. 3 Boston University, 2:30 p.m. 
Game 1 winner vs. No. 1 Binghamton, 6 p.m. 
No. 5 Stony Brook vs. No. 4 New Hampshire, 8:30 p.m. 

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Saints 16-2; face Loyola/Canisius winner

Siena wrapped up the season with a 78-74 victory over Canisius on Sunday. 

Senior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck scored a team-high 20 points, while Alex Franklin added 17 and Ronald Moore finished with 16. 

Siena finishes the season with two performances that certainly weren't their best, but they are 16-2 in conference play and 23-7 overall. 

The Saints become just the third team to win 16 MAAC games, matching La Salle, who went undefeated in 1989-90 and Manhattan in 2003-04. 

The Saints will play at 5 p.m. in their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference quarterfinals against the winner of No. 8 Loyola (Md.) and No. 9 Canisius

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