Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ubiles's knee an issue

While Siena scored 99 points against Brown on Saturday, senior Edwin Ubiles struggled, only scoring four points on 2-for-9 shooting.

Ubiles has only scored 33 points in the last four games, after finishing with a game-high 26 in the home opener against Northeastern.

That's when Ubiles, who has been wearing a brace on his knee, said he hurt his right knee.

"I don't remember hurting it in the game because that whole game I was playing great," Ubiles said. "After that is when it just hit me."

Ubiles said he was stretching his hip, when he turned his knee and heard it crack, but kept playing through what apparently is tendonitis.

“That can be very painful depending on where it is and how severe it is,” said Siena coach Fran McCaffery. “We just have to treat it and take it day-by-day with him. It’s unfortunate because he’s not playing the way we all know he’s capable of playing and he’s as frustrated as anybody, so we’re just going to stay positive with him, keep treating it and hopefully it will get better.”

Ubiles said his knee is getting better and he dealt with a similar issue during his freshman season.

"It just got really weak at first," Ubiles said. It's gotten a lot better then when it first happened."

While the Saints pulled out the victory on Saturday, they are going to need Edwin at full strength when they face Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Wednesday.

"We keep going to him and telling him to shoot the ball because he's a great player," said senior point guard Ronald Moore.

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Siena 99, Brown 79

Siena trailed by five with 14:34 to go in the first half, but they got a 17-0 run and lead by 12 at halftime.

Ronald Moore has 11 points and at least six assists (we haven't received the stats yet).

Moore set up Alex Franklin for a terrific slam, where Franklin took of from the right paint line and thundered it home, while being fouled.

Franklin has 12 points to lead all scorers.

Andrew McCarthy and Matt Mullery have 10 points apiece to lead Brown.


Siena got big games from Franklin, Moore and Clarence Jackson, who finished with a team-high 23 points in the big victory.

Jackson scored 18 points in the second half.

The Saints came one point away from cracking the 100-point mark for the first time since they defeated Saint Peter’s 100-69 on March 1, 2003.

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Moore seems fine

PHILADELPHIA - Siena just finished their warm-ups as we're about 35 minutes before the start of today's Siena vs. Brown game at The Palestra.

Senior point guard Ronald Moore went through all of the drills and looked fine on that right ankle that he rolled late in Friday's game against St. John's

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Silence says it all

PHILADELPHIA - Siena coach Fran McCaffery voiced his displeasure with the officiating at the end of the game Friday against St. John's by not saying anything at all.

When asked about his team's shooting percentage in the second half, McCaffery responded.

“There’s a lot of reasons for that. None of which I can repeat right now.”

McCaffery went on to sit silent for three of the next four questions asked, none totally focused on the officiating.

In my opinion, it did seem late in the game as though St. John's got more of the calls and even though the fouls were even 17-17, it did look like one of the officials that will go nameless was trying to goad McCaffery into a technical foul (which was never called).

The Red Storm turned a 5-point halftime deficit into an 9-point victory, thanks in large part to their transition game.

“Our defensive intensity let down,” said senior Alex Franklin. “We weren’t getting back in transition defense. They were getting quick shots and getting lay-ups.”

St. John's shot 63 percent (17-27) in the second half.

“They definitely outhustled us,” said junior forward Ryan Rossiter. “They ran on us all night. We like to run, but we have to know that we have to get back defensively.”

Rossiter scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

“He’s terrific,” said St. John's coach Norm Roberts. “He’s exactly what he told our guys he was. He doesn’t make mistakes, he makes lay-ups, he always around the ball, he’s got terrific hands. He’s a big time player.”

While Rossiter was good, nobody else for Siena really had a good game.

“Everyone else has to be able to follow (Rossiter) and get on the scoreboard as well,” said point guard Ronald Moore.

Moore rolled his ankle with 2:2o to go, when he stepped on the foot of a Red Storm defender.

He told me it didn't feel too good after the game, but McCaffery said he was okay.

Roberts gave Siena a ton of credit saying this is the type of game his team will face night in and night out in the Big East.

“These are the types of battles we’re going to have every single night in the Big East and that’s one of the reasons why we tried to up our non-conference schedule,” he said.

Roberts called it a "terrific" win.

“Give Siena a lot of credit, they’re a terrific team,” Roberts said. “They get it up so fast, they get it up and down the court so quick. They have a lot of guys that can make plays.”

The Saints have to come out playing better tomorrow as they take on Brown.

“Hopefully we can make a quick turnaround and make the corrections by tomorrow at 4 o’clock,” said Moore.

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St. John's 77, Siena 68, final

Siena led for all but 20 seconds of the first half and take a 5-point lead to halftime.

Ryan Rossiter leads the way for Siena with 14 points, while Alex Franklin and Ronald Moore each added six points.

It looked like Franklin cut his right wrist when fouling D.J. Kennedy early in the first half, but it didn't seem to bother him once it was wrapped up.


The Red Storm played a good second half, getting a big effort from Kennedy to pull away and post a 9-point victory.

Rossiter finished with a career-high 24 points in the loss and St. John's took the lead for good with him off the court as they went on a 11-2 run after he picked up his third foul to take a 52-49 edge.

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In Philly

Brown just defeated University of the Science in Philadelphia and the Siena/St. John's game is less than an hour away.

Come back here for observations during the game and a postgame wrap-up.

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Headed for Philly

Happy Thanksgiving goes out to anyone reading this.

I'm headed down to Philadelphia to catch Siena's game against St. John's and I'll check in when I get to The Palestra.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Siena shows depth in blowout victory

ALBANY - Starters 51, Bench 39.

Clarence Jackson and Ronald Moore: 2 points. Just-in'Love Smith and Conner Fenlon: 6 points.

That clearly won't happen every night, but it showed just how much of a team victory Tuesday's 90-56 victory over Delaware really was.

Every player played at least two minutes and everyone took at least one shot for Siena.

“It feels good to see everyone in motion and everyone in the rhythm of the game,” said sophomore Kyle Downey.

While coach Fran McCaffery said he doesn't consider Downey and fellow soph Owen Wignot young anymore, he was pleased with his freshmen's play, for the most part.

Denzel (Yard) and Jon (Breeden) in particular were up and down like a lot of freshmen will be and they have to take better care of the basketball,” McCaffery said. “I’m not happy about that at all.”

McCaffery was very happy with O.D. Anosike's 10 rebounds, something he pointed out in the postgame talk to the team.

“I knew I was grabbing some, but I was surprised when (McCaffery) told me I had double digits,” said Anosike, who also had three points and two steals.

Everyone seemed pleased with the young guys' effort.

“They played well,” said senior Alex Franklin. “They stay composed, they did what they were capable of doing, they stuck to their strengths and I thought they really played hard.”

“As you can see, they can contribute,” Moore said. “They put a lot of hard work in at practice and for everybody to get in and contribute is a good thing.”

Downey was happy to get back on track as he scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds on 4-for-7 shooting.

“I think it was just more of a confidence booster for me,” said Downey.

With their next three games on the road, it was a solid team win.

“It’s always good to have a team win for reliance on the road, so we don’t depend on Ron and Eddie (Ubiles) and Alex and Clarence, just those guys,” Downey said. “It’s good to get our whole team involved.”

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Siena clobbers Delaware

The Saints went into the Thanksgiving break with a huge victory, 90-56, over Delaware.

Ryan Rossiter had 22 points and seven rebounds and Owen Wignot added 10 for the Saints.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Metcalf earns AE honor

University at Albany freshman Blake Metcalf earned America East Rookie of the Week honors for helping the Great Danes go 2-1 in the subregional of the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at home this weekend.

Metcalf had two very good games, going for nine points and five rebounds Sunday against Robert Morris and finishing with six points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists in the victory over Alcorn State.

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Downey trying to pick things up

Siena sophomore Kyle Downey's name came up Monday when coach Fran McCaffery was asked about his team's depth.

"I will say this, we have to get Kyle Downey going," McCaffery said. "(Owen) Wignot and (OD) Anosike are fine. Downey, who had a ton of points (in the scrimmage) against Rutgers, is struggling offensively and he's letting it affect him. He's too good of a player, so I'm confident he's going to be fine."

Downey has high expectations after a good freshman year that saw him be a constant contributor off of the bench and an offensive force when really needed.

This year, however, he's shooting just 33 percent (4-12) from the field and 0-for-7 from 3-point distance.

McCaffery said that he knows Downey will come around, but he's letting the slow start affect him too much.

"He's a very consciousness person by nature," McCaffery said. "The thing that he has to remember is he was injured in April, when the season ended, he got hurt, so he didn't play from April to almost the end of September. I think he has an expectation level for himself to be in mid-season form and I think it's unfair for me to expect that and it's unfair of him to expect of himself, despite the fact that he's a perfectionist by nature.

A cause for the slow start could be the fact that Downey fractured the two lower vertebrae in his back in April and now is wearing a protective brace during games.

In the Temple game, Downey was 0-for-1 from the field in nine minutes.

"What he can't do is jack a three that's contested because that will get him sideways," McCaffery said. "He's got to come in and make a couple plays."

Downey also fumbled a pass late when Siena was trying to tie the game, but McCaffery was confident with him on the floor at that point.

"I think in that situation you put your best shooters on the floor," said McCaffery.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Metcalf chips in for Danes

Blake Metcalf caught the ball at the top of the key, turned and let it fly.

In what seemed like an eternity, the ball floated through the air and came down hitting nothing but net at the shot clock expiring.

That shot gave UAlbany a 12-point lead with 8:36 remaining and proved to put the cap on a good night for the 6-foot-9 freshman.

"I've been heckled a little bit for being too passive down low," said Metcalf, who finished with nine points. "It felt good to be a little aggressive, show everyone I can be aggressive and be a threat in the post.

That buzzer-beating shot was nowhere near the post though.

"I just looked at the clock from the other side, shot it, and was praying to god that it hit the rim and gave us a chance for something and it went in," said Metcalf.

It was by far Metcalf's most productive game and I wasn't the only one who like what they saw.

"I thought Blake Metcalf was tremendous tonight," said UAlbany coach Will Brown.

Metcalf got more of a chance on Sunday because senior Brett Gifford picked up two early fouls.

"Every game I know that my number can be called any second, so I'm ready," Metcalf said. "I saw Brett get two quick (fouls), so I was ready to go."

UAlbany plays the next eight games away from SEFCU Arena, so Brown said it was important to start playing better on the road.

"We struggled on the road last year, so we have to get mentally tough and physically tough," said Brown.

Both Brown and Robert Morris coach Mike Rice got a lot out of playing in this 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic subregional.

"I'm playing to tact my weaknesses," Rice said. "I can show film and have things to draw upon when we practice and get better from that."

When I asked Brown, what grade he would give his team for the 2-1 effort over the three days, this was his response.

"It's all about winning game, but it's so early in the year that I don't want to over-grade or under-grade this team," Brown said. "I think I'll do what a lot of college kids do when they take a class they know they're going to struggle in and we'll take it pass/fail, so we passed this weekend."

Brown also wanted to thank a lot of the people that made hosting the tournament at UAlbany possible.

UAlbany 71, Robert Morris 66

Robert Morris made 13 3-pointers to make it very exciting at the end, but UAlbany played well and evened their record to 3-3.

Will Harris led the way with 22 points for the Great Danes.

2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Subregional All Tournament Team

Xavier Keeling, Detroit
Jonathan Boyd, Alcorn State
Mezie Nwigwe, Robert Morris
Will Harris, UAlbany
MVP: Eli Holman, Detroit

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Late to film

Derrek Tartt, who played so well on Friday night and Mike Black were both suspended for the first half by UAlbany coach Will Brown.

That hurt the Great Danes in two ways, it forced Mike Johnson to play all 20 minutes of the first half and it kept the two young guards in their seats.

“Now this guy (pointing to Johnson) has to play all 20 minutes at the point in the first half and we don’t get a chance to play him and Tartt together,” said Brown.

Johnson played 31 minutes in the game and it'll be interesting how much he'll be able to play on Sunday against Robert Morris.

“Later in the game, I didn’t feel like I had the explosiveness that I should have had,” said Johnson, who scored nine points and dished out three assists.

Brown said that one of the two freshmen was three minutes late for the 5:30 p.m. film and the other was five minutes late.

“If I were those kids, I’d sleep in the locker room tonight,” said Brown, who usually wants his players to be 15 minutes early to things in what he calls "Albany time."
Brown was impressed with Detroit and thinks they'll do well this year in the Horizon League.

“They’d win our league,” Brown said. “They’re going to win a ton of games this year.”

Brown said his team will pick back up and be ready for Sunday's game.

“We’re not down,” Brown said. “We lost to a good team.”

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UAlbany falls to Detroit

The Great Danes didn't play very well in the second half and lost to Detroit on Saturday night 66-54.

UAlbany scored just 21 points in the second half.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

A sweet Tartt and a nice bath

Okay, I couldn't resist with the title, but UAlbany freshman Derrek Tartt had clearly his best performance of the year in Friday's 71-55 victory over Alcorn St at SEFCU Arena.

“When he plays hard, he’s very good,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown. “When he’s in chill mode, he’s just okay.”

In fact, he had so many points (13) that senior Will Harris was pointing it out to him in the box score before they both spoke to the media, following the game.

“I was looking at the points, but I wasn’t looking at my points, I was looking at his points,” said Harris, who also chipped in with a team-high 15. “I thought that he was aggressive and making shots and it makes me happy because everyday in practice, I’m in his ear, 'You have to be aggressive' and he came out tonight and he was aggressive, so that makes me happy. It makes me feel like a proud uncle.”

Tartt has a nice lanky frame at 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds and Brown likes him as a perimeter defender and may also consider playing him more at the two or three as opposed to the point guard position.

“I think he’s much more comfortable as a wing and being a secondary ball handler,” Brown said. “When he’s played at the point, he looses his aggressiveness. When he plays on the wing, he’s more in attack mode and he’s more aggressive.”

While Brown was happy with the win, he wasn't totally thrilled that the game got close in the second half.

“The difference between a 15-point win and a 25-point win is executing the scouting report and not helping off (Jonathan) Boyd at all,” Brown said. “We left him a couple of times which is disappointing.”

Brown said that Mike Johnson left Boyd, who hit four 3-pointers, to help on defense, when the report was to stick with him.

"He's trying to be aggressive and trying to be a good team defender, but we needed him to be a smart team defender," said Brown.

Brown also wasn't happy with the team's 21 turnovers.

Alcorn State committed 19 turnovers, which didn't thrill their coach, Larry Smith.

“We have to play mistake-free basketball, for the most part,” said Smith. “We can’t continue to turn the ball over. We're averaging more than 20 turnovers a game and that’s killing us. We have to value the ball more.”

This is the first of three straight games and Brown tried to limit some players minutes so that they would stay fresh throughout the weekend.

Harris said he has his own measures to stay relaxed and refreshed - bubble baths.

Harris said he has some salts to put in the bath and he will be taking a nice soak tonight, I'm sure while reading the scouting report prepared by assistant Jeremy Friel on Detroit.

“That’s what I’m going to be doing,” said Harris about taking a bath. “I have to take care of these legs.”

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UAlbany 71, Alcorn St. 55

The Great Danes improve to 2-2, getting 13 points from freshman Derrek Tartt and senior Will Harris added 15.

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Detroit 71, Robert Morris 59

That's a final from the SEFCU Arena in the first game of the night.

From what I saw (which was just the last 13 minutes or so) both of these teams will prove stern tests for UAlbany.

The Great Danes tip with Alcorn State in 10 minutes.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Battle scores 1,000th point

Penn State junior Talor Battle became the 29th player in school history to surpass the 1,000-point mark for his career on Thursday, but the Nittany Lions fell to UNC-Wilmington in the first round of the Charleston Classic.

Battle was The Record's Boys' Basketball Player of the Year in 2007 after leading Bishop Maginn High School to the Class AA New York State title game.

Battle, who averaged 26.7 points per game in his senior season with the Golden Griffins, was a first team All-Big Ten selection last season and is a first team preseason pick this year.

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UAlbany/Wagner football on TW3

If you're not making the trip to Staten Island and want to watch the UAlbany football game against Wagner, it will be on Time Warner 3 at 1 p.m.

Paul Dottino, the New York Giants game day reporter for WFAN/Giants Radio Network will handle the play-by-play, while Matt Harmon will provide the color commentary.

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Urli could play Friday for Danes

The UAlbany fans and coach Will Brown have both been hoping to see more of junior college transfer Fran Urli, especially after Brown's high praise during the preseason.

That hasn't been the case though as the 6-foot-8 forward played just 21 minutes against No. 25 Syracuse before coming out with a bad ankle.

Brown said Thursday that he is hoping to play Urli, who hasn't played in the last two games, tomorrow night against Alcorn State in the 2K Sports, Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at SEFCU Arena at 7:30 p.m.

“We need him to be effective because he gives us scoring on the low blocks,” said Brown.

Even if Urli can play tomorrow night, Brown said he'd be "shocked" if he can play in all three games this weekend.

“If he can play tomorrow, Saturday (vs. Detroit) and Sunday (vs. Robert Morris), I’d be shocked,” Brown said. “I don’t know how much he can help us.”

The first day that Urli has run in practice since the Syracuse game was yesterday.

Meanwhile, junior Louis Barraza still needs a few more days, according to Brown.

Brown is hoping the team will be fully healthy for the Florida trip, when the team takes on Central Florida (Nov. 28) and Florida Atlantic (Nov. 30).

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rossiter comes alive late

ALBANY - Siena junior forward Ryan Rossiter didn't have any points for the first 25 minutes of Monday's game.

He finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

“In my opinion, he’s an all-league player,” said Siena coach Fran McCaffery. “He was voted that in the preseason and I think he’s proving that today, that’s what he’s going to be.”

While Rossiter wasn't struggling (he was only 0-for-2), he credited McCaffery for keeping him on the floor.

“I think Coach McCaffery does a great job of letting us play through it,” Rossiter said. “I know his confidence is always in me, so it makes my job a lot easier. I just have to go out there and play hard and eventually the shots are going to fall.”

Rossiter's ability to bring great offense is something that makes Siena a very tough team.

“I think Ryan Rossiter makes them extremely difficult to prepare for,” said Northeastern coach Bill Coen said. “He seems to outwork every big man he faces.”

Rossiter said his mentality is that he will get every rebound, something his father Steve instilled in him.

“He and (Alex) Franklin are a formidable duo there on the glass and it allows our perimeter players to do what they do,” said McCaffery.

Rossiter even stepped out and knocked down what almost was a 3-pointer with 11:46 remaining in the game.

“He’s got a lot of offense in his game,” McCaffery said. “That jumper he hit, was not a surprise to me. He’s got a terrific stroke.”

Kenny Hasbrouck was at the game wearing a boot on his injured foot and he was on the bench acting like an assistant coach.

“He’s got a bright future,” said McCaffery.

McCaffery said Hasbrouck helped recognize that Northeastern guard Baptiste Bataille was pressuring point guard Ronald Moore, but then immediately backing off.

“That was a very good suggestion that he made and Ronald took advantage of it,” McCaffery said.

Hasbrouck was also encouraging the Siena players when the team was down in the first half.

“He loves the game of basketball and is eager to get out there and play, but having him on the sideline and giving us some words of wisdom is really helpful," said Moore.

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Siena 59, Northeastern 53 (final)

In case you're stuck at work and don't have a television, you didn't miss much in the first half.

Siena went nearly six minutes without a field goal at the beginning of the game after taking a 2-0 lead and found themselves down 20-6.

In fact 12:27 into the half the Saints had more turnovers (8) than points (6). At that point Siena was shooting 20 percent (3-15) from the field.

They roared back as Northeastern went six minutes of their own without any points.

Halftime score is 26-20 Northeastern. Edwin Ubiles leads all scorers with 13 points and it's hard to imagine where Siena would be without him.

Siena pulls away in the second half to win 59-53, thanks to their defense, the continued effort of Ubiles and a great second half from junio Ryan Rossiter, who scored all of his 13 points in the second half and finished with 14 rebounds.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

UAlbany vs. American (updates)

While I'm not in Washington, D.C., I'm listening to the game and will be sharing some of my thought here on my "night off."

UAlbany players and coach Will Brown said that when senior point guard Mike Johnson got back into the lineup things would be different as so far, it seems they were right.

Johnson scored the first five UAlbany points and the Great Danes hold a 14-10 lead.

Also, there are no live stats for the game, so I'll update the score as I go here.


The Eagles now lead 29-20 as they have controlled the middle part of this half.


The Great Danes made a nice little run there to cut the lead, but American still leads 31-27.


Halftime. 33-27 American.

UAlbany needs to pick up the play and perform like they did in the first five or six minutes or they will staring at 0-3.


Leading scorers - American, Stephen Lumpkins, 8 points. UAlbany - Mike Johnson, 7 points. (Danes committed just five turnovers).


Two turnovers to start the half for the Great Danes. McRae hits a three to cut the American lead to five, but the Eagles keep scoring and now lead 41-34.


Scotty McRae heating up. The senior has 12 and UAlbany trails just 41-39.


Tied at 41-41 with 11:47 to go.


47-43 UAlbany with 6:29 to play.

McRae gave the Danes their first lead in a long time and has a career-high 14 points.

Junior Tim Ambrose put UAlbany back up and he has 10 points.


49-47 UAlbany

American has just two field goals in more than the last 10 minutes, but still the game up for grabs.


50-49 American. Daniel Munoz scores and was fouled - hits the free throw to give the Eagles a 1-point lead with 2:23 to go.

51-50 UAlbany as Ambrose follows a McRae miss with a hoop.


51-50 UAlbany. 28 seconds to go - American turn the ball over.

11 seconds to go.....


51-50 UAlbany wins. Ambrose misses the front end of a 1 + 1 with 10 seconds remaining, American rebounds, but Munoz rims out at the buzzer.

Here are some things that Brown said in the postgame interview.

"switch to matchup zone was huge"
defense looked better at the end of the game

"11 turnovers is progress"
team played better with Johnson in the lineup

"get (Fran) Urli back on Friday"
Brown keeps saying Urli has played well in the preseason

"found a way to win"
big to get a win on the road and the first win of the season

High Scorers: AU - Lumpkins 12 points. UA - McRae 14 career-high points (7 rebounds).

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Basabe offically to Siena

Siena received their second letter of intent from Melsahn Basabe, a 6-foot-7 forward from Glen Cove, N.Y.

Basabe will join Trenity Burdine, a 6-6 swingman from Reading, Pa., as the first two Saints commites for the 2010-11 season.

Siena still has one scholarship left for next year.

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Albany Cup Tickets go on sale

Tickets for the annual crosstown rivalry between Siena and UAlbany went on sale today.

Tickets can be purchased at the Times Union Center box office, select Price Chopper locations or online at

The men's and women's doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5.

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Saints just outside Top 25

In the latest AP Poll Siena is No. 26 or the top team receiving votes.

In the ESPN poll, Siena is second, behind Maryland, for teams outside the Top 25 that are receiving votes.

Siena hosts Northeastern at noon tomorrow in the team's season opener on ESPN.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Brown: "Johnson most improved in my nine years"

ALBANY - The high praise continues for one of the UAlbany players who hasn't even hit the floor yet.

Senior point guard Mike Johnson made a poor choice during the offseason and has had to pay for it, sitting out the Great Danes' two scrimmages and the first two games of the 2009-10 season.

Still, that hasn't stopped coach Will Brown from singing the highest of praise for the Brooklyn native.

"We'll be a different team, just by having Mike Johnson," said Brown, who handed down the two-game suspension back in August. "I've been impressed with him, what he did on the sidelines at Syracuse, the sidelines tonight, how he's practiced, how he's led the team. He takes pressure of (Tim Ambrose) and Will (Harris). He's the most improved player I've had in my nine years here, especially shooting the basketball. He's our best perimeter defender."

Johnson has stepped up as a leader.

Brown pointed to one situation during the Syracuse game when Scotty McRae should have taken the ball to the basket strong and after he came out of the game, Johnson got on him, telling him just that.

"He appreciates the opportunity that he has right now and he appreciates the opportunity that I've given him to continue to be a part of this and I think he's embraced it," said Brown.

Both Harris and Ambrose agreed when asked if Johnson's insertion back into the lineup for Monday's game at American will make that big of a difference.

"It'll be a different team," said Ambrose.

Brown has been preaching about this improvement since media day and we're just days away from seeing it.

"He's not the same player as last year," Brown said. "It's not even close."

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UAlbany falls to Morgan State

The Great Danes played all right in an exciting game, but fell 69-65.

UAlbany had some bad possessions late in the game, not getting shots off and giving the ball away.

The Great Danes get their next chance for a win Monday at American.

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Barraza out, Urli dressed

Louis Barraza is not dressed for tonight's game tonight.

Fran Urli warned up, but has since left the floor and might still play.

Jake Lindfors is in the starting lineup in place of Urli.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey Abbott

Troy native Marisa Abbott has helped propel High Point University into the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers are taking on national power North Carolina on Friday night.

Abbott, a senior, helped High Point win the Big South Tournament by not allowing any goals in three games.

In the championship game against Winthrop, Abbott, a former player for Tamarac High ('06), stopped two penalty kicks and was then named the tournament's MVP.

Below is Abbott making one of her big saves.

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Aronholt's return

You can't fault UAlbany freshman Logan Aronholt for being a little nervous when put in front of the media this afternoon before the team's weight training.

Without diving into it too much, Aronholt took a couple takes to get going, but hey, it's been 18 months (before the Syracuse game) since he's even played.

“It was definitely exciting playing there,” said Aronholt about playing at the Carrier Dome on Monday. “I’m really excited to play here at home.”

The 6-foot-3 Zanesville, Ohio, product, who will be in the mix tonight when UAlbany opens up their home season against Morgan State, said he was quite nervous stepping on the floor in front of 15,000 people.

“It was nerve-racking,” Aronholt said. “I was so nervous, but I went out there and I thought I played hard. I wanted to be aggressive because I didn’t think we were aggressive enough in the first half.”

Arnoholt has endured a series of issues with his foot since arriving at UAlbany and it was tough on him missing an entire season.

“The toughest thing was watching guys and thinking, I can do this," Aronholt said. "I thought I could really help the team last year, but I didn’t get the chance.”

Aronholt was expected to play a role last year as a freshman, but the injuries have set him so far back that UAlbany coach Will Brown is just hoping he'll be back in the swing by conference time.

“He did some nice things (against Syracuse), but he still has a ways to go,” Brown said. “He realizes that, we understand that. My goal all along was for him to get himself back into the swing of things by conference play.”

Aronholt says his foot feels better and he is wearing orthotics in his shoe, but still may have to miss a practice every once in a while, if there is any pain.

Scott Aronholt, Logan's father and high school coach at Zanseville High, east of Columbus, was able to travel the nearly eight hours to the Carrier Dome, along with some of his assistant coaches.

“That was pretty exciting for him to be there for my first real college game,” Aronholt said.

It's been difficult for Aronholt this year, between trying to prove himself to his teammates and earning playing minutes, but he's still enjoying himself.

“I’m working for time against the veterans and against the new guys,” Aronholt said. “It’s hard being out there every day, but it’s a lot of fun.”

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Barraza out, Urli unlikely for Friday

Stopped by UAlbany today to get some stuff for tomorrow's home opener against Morgan State, defending MEAC Champions.

The word from coach Will Brown is that Louis Barraza is dealing with a virus and will be unable to play and that Fran Urli can barely walk after injuring his ankle in the Syracuse game.

Barraza and Urli haven't practiced and Brown said that Barraza is unlikely to play Monday at American.

Here's a little more from Brown.

"We've just got to get out and play again. I think our guys felt probably a little bit better after watching Syracuse play against last night and realizing that they're pretty good. I think it made them feel a little bit better. I didn't make me feel any better. We've got work to do, but we've practiced well since the Syracuse game."

I'll have more on redshirt-freshman Logan Aronholt tonight.

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Siena hoops preview

The Siena basketball team takes to the floor on Friday to start their much anticipated 2009-10 season.

Here are some stories from Thursday's preview.

McCaffery's message - stay focused

Siena's super sub to start

The team leaves for Nashville today.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bracketology: Siena No. 9

Joe Lunardi, ESPN's resident bracketologist has come out of hiding as we are underway with the college hoops season.

Lunardi has Siena as a No. 9 against No. 8 Pitt, with No. 1 Michigan State looming in the second round.

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Moore a Cousy finalist

Siena senior point guard Ronald Moore is again a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's top point guard.

Moore, who was a second team All-MAAC selection last year, is a first team preseason selection this season.

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Catching up with Tay

Nice story in our sister paper The Daily Freeman today about former Siena guard Tay Fisher and his life with the Harlem Globetrotters

Here's the link.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ubiles playing with a purpose

Siena senior Edwin Ubiles will be playing with more pressure this season.

Not only is the 6-foot-6 forward one of the "Big 3" and a new father of twin girls, but he will be playing all year under the scrutiny of NBA scouts.

Fran McCaffery said Monday at his weekly media luncheon that representative from the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs were at practice last week and he thinks that will continue throughout the year.

"He's slotted to be a second round pick and then he can determine, based on his play, does he move into the first round or does he move out of the second round," McCaffery said. "So, there's a lot of pressure on him and I addressed that with him and he's handled it really well."

McCaffery says Ubiles has been playing much better lately after shaking off an early shoulder injury that gave him trouble in the preseason and carried over to a lackluster performance in the scrimmage against Princeton.

"Since then, he's been spectacular," McCaffery said. "He's great in practice every day, which is the key for him, every day and he played really well against Rutgers."

Kenny Hasbrouck went thought some similar treatment last year as a senior and McCaffery said he thought Kenny was the best at blocking out that type of pressure as any player he's ever seen, but thinks Ubiles can do it too.

"I think Eddie has the personality that can handle it," McCaffery said. "We're going to help him through it. The thing he does is, he really understands how to play. He never forces anything."

McCaffery said he expects a good consistency from Ubiles throughout the year.

"I think what you'll see is a consistent Edwin Ubiles in terms of his numbers," McCaffery said. "I think the beauty of his game is not necessarily that he's going to score 25, but he's going to score 17 and rebounds and pass and not turn it over and make his free throws at the end of the game and defend and help you win."

Here's Coach McCaffery's assessment on his rotation at this point.

"You look at the last scrimmage and the starters played extremely well and then (Owen) Wignot and (Kyle) Downey looked really, really solid coming off the bench. O.D. Anosike played great against Princeton and had a phenomenal week of practice, he did not play against Rutgers, but he looks like he's really moved into that position. Steven Priestley, I think, has established himself as a guy that's going to play and deservedly so. So the next question becomes, who is the next guard to come in, whether it's Denzel Yard or Jon Breeden and do I try to work both of them in. That puts us at 10 and then Davis Martens becomes eligible and then Kyle Griffin, so that's 12 and the reality is you can't play 12. I don't care how many guys try to do it, you can't play 12.

Anosike broke his nose, but McCaffery said he is expecting the 6-foot-7 freshman to play Friday night at Tennessee State.

While players and coaches aren't allowed to talk about scrimmages, McCaffery dropped this nugget when asked about the play of junior center Ryan Rossiter, saying he scored 19 points against Rutgers in the first 15-minute segment.

"He can score," McCaffery said. He was making post moves, he was getting fouled, he was running the floor."

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The phone's ringing and it's Derrick Coleman.....

So UAlbany didn't play well tonight and it showed as Syracuse hammered them 75-43.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim picked up win No. 800 and as the clock was running out, he said Derrick Coleman was ringing his cell phone.

“He probably figured that I was going to answer it,” Boeheim joked after the game.

That was about the only joke from this game as UAlbany coach Will Brown said his team must take the day off tomorrow (well, I guess technically today) because of NCAA rules, but vowed they would play better on Friday against Morgan State.

“I’m very disappointed,” Brown said. “I’ve got a very disappointed team in that locker room.”

The Great Danes had a tough time getting inside the Orange's 2-3 zone.

“They stretch it out so far it basically becomes like a 2-2-1,” Brown said. “It really bothered us. We don’t have the personnel to consistently score at the rim against them.”

In fact, Brown said he got a chuckle from this exchange with his freshman point guard.

"I said to Mike Black, 'Mike, you have to get the ball to the high post,' and he said, 'Coach, I can't see the high post," said Brown.

The good news is UAlbany won't see a team this big for quite a while, if ever this season.

The bad news is they have to take some positives out of this game and get better before playing Morgan State, a team that made the NCAA Tournament last year.

"We know what we have to work on in practice and we know what we have to do to get better," said senior center Brett Gifford. "We have to be tougher with the ball and mentally tougher."

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Monday, November 9, 2009

UAlbany vs. Syracuse (updates coming)

Now that baseball season is over, ESPN obviously gave some people some time off and deservedly so.

Both Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark are in attendance tonight at the Carrier Dome with their daughters, who I'm told are enrolled at Syracuse.

There are a few rows behind the Syracuse bench if you are watching at home.

15:42 to go: Syracuse 9-4. Will Brown has already lost his jacket. It may have been after one of the I think four UAlbany turnovers in the first two minutes. Nerves are clearly a factor.

The Orange are controlling the inside with Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku. Fran Urli's first career basket comes on a nice rebound and put back.

11:21 to go: Syracuse 18-10. The Orange are exploiting the fast break points, but making a few errors trying to run out. Some very athletic slams from Onuaku and Kris Joseph.

Tim Ambrose hits a big three to stop a 9-0 Syracuse run.

9:59 to go. Syracuse 22-10. UAlbany already has 10 turnovers due to the pressure and Syracuse is shooting 61.5 percent (8-13) from the field.

7:57 to go. Syracuse 24-14. The Dome was the loudest it's been when Onuaku hit both of his free throws, after airballing his first free throw of the night.

Ambrose keeping his team in it with a couple of 3-pointers, but I'm not sure how much longer UAlbany can rely on that.

3:38 to go. Syracuse 34-16. The Orange really starting to take command. UAlbany doesn't look confident with the ball against the 2-3 zone. When Syracuse showed full court press on one inbounds, the Great Danes didn't look good either.

UAlbany will need to drastically limit their turnovers for the rest of the game because Syracuse is killing them with steals that lead to lay-ins.

Halftime. Syracuse 38-20. The Great Danes looked a little bit better in the last two minutes. Mike Black got his first two points of his career, with two free throws.

The bigger story though is the sloppy play. I know it's the first night, but UAlbany has 20 turnovers and Syracuse is not much further behind with 14.

Ambrose and Onuaku both have 10 points to lead all scorers.

The problem for UAlbany is that no one else has more than three points.

Stat of Halftime. UAlbany 20 points. UAlbany 20 turnovers. Also saw former UAlbany player Lucious Jordan during intermission.

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Here in Syracuse

The Capital District college hoops season starts in about 90 minutes.

I just made it to the Carrier Dome and am waiting to kick things off between UAlbany and Syracuse.

If you haven't heard, Orange men coach Jim Boeheim is going for win No. 800.

Stay tuned to my blog for updates throughout the game and if you can stay up late enough, a recap afterward.

For you Siena fans, stopped by there before practice and I'll give you just a tidbit from junior center Ryan Rossiter about practices being closed to fans and to the media (a rarity for Siena).

"The focus has been much better. I think in the scrimmages we didn't play too well and it was a real wake up call for us. We're much more focused in practice and it's really showed."

There will be plenty more on the Saints in Thursday's paper as they kick things off Friday at Tennessee State.

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UAlbany Hoops Preview

The University at Albany kicks off the college basketball season, both locally and nationally tonight against Syracuse on ESPNU at 9 p.m.

Ambrose: UAlbany's Mr. Excitement

Great Danes open with major test

There's more in Monday's edition of The Record.

Also, look for more on the Monday's game leading up to and during as I will be blogging live from Syracuse tonight.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

UAlbany picked third or sixth???

When speaking with UAlbany coach Will Brown during media day, a question was asked about Tim Ambrose being picked for the All-America East preseason first team.

Brown responded that he doesn't put much stock in those selections, especially since the last two seasons, the champions hasn't been picked in the top four.

"We did the (America East) poll in April and we were picked sixth," Brown said. "What happened between April and October, besides (the) Binghamton (catastrophe), so if you slide them down to last and everybody moves a slot, so we should be moved to fifth and now we're third. I don't know."

The Great Danes were picked third behind Boston University at Vermont.

With some teams, this may not be difficult and UAlbany only lost two starters, but they still have a number of question marks of who will play where and for how long.

I'll give you my starting five in a second, but first let's look back at last year's starting five for the Nov. 14 game at Villanova.

F Will Harris
F Brian Connelly
C Brett Gifford
G Anthony Raffa
G Tim Ambrose

Here's how I think things will line up on Monday against Syracuse.

F Will Harris
F Fran Urli
C Brett Gifford
G Louis Barraza
G Tim Ambrose

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

McRae back in the fold; injuries already for Danes

ALBANY - Senior forward Scotty McRae didn't even make it to the end of the 2008-09 season as he was kicked off of the University at Albany men's basketball team.

This year, after gaining his spot back on the team, McRae is ready to try and make some significant contributions.

“Once you get accustom to something, it’s a lot easier, so I feel like I’m going to do a lot better this year,” said McRae, who averaged 4.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in 21 games last season.

McRae said coach Will Brown told him he has a clean slate this year and will be treated just like every other player.

The Eastern Wyoming transfer said that the team feels better this season with more players returning from last year.

“We have a lot of freshmen (this year) who are really attentive and listen to everything we say,” said McRae.

McRae also sounded very mature with his talking about this being his last collegiate season.

“Not only is it our last chance, it’s the end of our college careers,” McRae said. “No matter what happens after we leave Albany, this will be our last 31 or 32 games to play as Great Danes. That’s really important for all of us. It’s our last chance to play for Coach Brown and getting to play for this whole community, so it’s really important that we bring everything we have every single game because it’s not going to be promised to us anymore.”

The point guard position is very up in the air for the Monday's game against Syracuse.

Senior Mike Johnson is serving a team-imposed two-game suspension and freshmen Derrek Tartt and Mike Black are both suffering from injuries.

Tartt has a sore lower back, which was sustained during the team's first scrimmage and initially extended all the way down to his legs, not a good sign.

“I think any time you’re talking about lower back, it’s serious,” said Brown.

Black has what Brown called "severe tendinitis" in both of his knees.

UAlbany will be looking at junior Tim Ambrose or senior Louis Barraza (see below) playing significant minutes at point guard against the Orange on Monday.
Barraza has injury issues of his own.

The shooting specialist was wearing a brace on his right ring finger at Media Day on Wednesday.

Brown said the ligaments in that finger are shredded, but he hasn't taken a day off from practice yet, fighting through the pain.

“We’re banged up pretty good right now and I saw that with a smile because I guess if we’re going to be banged up, we want it to be now,” said Brown.

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Siena guard on ESPN's First Take

Siena walk-on Just-in'Love Smith to be featured on ESPN's First Take

From Siena College....

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Just-in’Love Smith, a senior walk-on for the Siena men’s basketball team who served a tour in Iraq while stationed in Alaska with the US Military from 2003-2007, will be featured on ESPN2’s First Take shortly after 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 5.

The 26-year old guard will tell his remarkable story in a four-minute interview. Smith, a Sacramento native, moved cross-country to live with his sister and brother-in-law following an eventful childhood. He graduated from Columbia High School, where he excelled in basketball and football, and later attended Hudson Valley Community College for a year where he was a member of their basketball team averaging nearly nine points during the 2002-03 season.

Smith aspires to be a state trooper and work for the military border patrol. He also is involved with the campus theater program and aspires to be a stand-up comedian.

First Take is hosted by former SportsCenter personality Dana Jacobson and Jay Crawford, both of whom came over from Cold Pizza. Skip Bayless and a rotating guest analyst are featured during the "1st and 10" segments with hosts Crawford and Jacobson.

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Danes react to Syracuse's loss

UAlbany held their basketball media day today and one of the hottest topics, and rightfully so, was Syracuse's loss to Le Moyne in a scrimmage on Tuesday.

“That’s a prime example of why we play close scrimmages against other Division I team,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown. “That type of game, where you’re playing a non Division I, I think that can go to a team’s psyche.”

That being said, Brown thinks the Orange's loss will make it tougher for them on Monday night in the season opener at the Carrier Dome as coach Jim Boeheim goes for his 800th victory.

“I think their No. 25 ranking is deserved and I think we’ll see a completely different team as Boeheim goes for 800 on Monday,” said Brown.

Brown said he expects to see a lot more of Syracuse's famous zone coverage on Monday. The Orange played mostly man coverage against Le Moyne.

UAlbany senior Will Harris said he knows exactly what the Syracuse players are going through.

Harris played at Virginia before coming to UAlbany and he said his team had some bad losses when he was there.

"When I was there, we took some losses that we shouldn't have," Harris said. "We had some long postgame talks. We had late night suicides, everything like that, so I can understand what those guys are going through right now."

For the other Great Danes players, it showed that anything can happen once you hit the floor.

"It just showed that any team can get beat on any given night," said junior guard Tim Ambrose.

I'll have more from media day in a little bit.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Le Moyne topples Syracuse

In the biggest upset on election day, No. 25 Syracuse didn't look good on Tuesday night and it cost them as the Orange fell to Division II Le Moyne 82-79 in an exhibition game at the Carrier Dome.

Le Moyne plays in the Northeast-10 Conference along with The College of Saint Rose.

Syracuse plays their first regular season game against the University at Albany on Monday night.

The game will be televised on ESPNU.

Do you think this gives the Great Danes a better chance against the Orange.

My feeling is that coach Jim Boeheim will be grinding it into his players heads for the next week.

Boeheim will be looking for his 800th victory on Monday.

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Basabe commits to Siena

The Siena College men’s basketball team received their second oral commitment for the 2010-11 season when St. Mark’s (Mass.) forward Melsahn Basabe committed to play for coach Fran McCaffery.

The 6-foot-7 Basabe, who is originally from Long Island, joins Reading Pa. native Trenity Burdine, who is 6-6, as the first two recruits for the 2010-11 year.

Basabe plays for St. Mark’s School is Southborough, Mass., but played AAU basketball for the New York Gauchos.

Basabe picked Siena over Drexel and Virginia Commonwealth, but bigger schools from the Big East were starting to show interest and some had even made scholarship offers.

Siena still has one scholarship for that season to give out.

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