Friday, January 15, 2010

Danes need a win

ALBANY - University at Albany senior Will Harris made no bones about saying how important Saturday's game is to get off the America East schneid.

"We need to win every single game that we have left," said Harris, the Great Danes leading scorer. "We're o-fer right now and we're trying to bump that up one tomorrow night."

UAlbany (0-3, 5-13) has had an uncharacteristically bad start to conference play, losing their first three games - two of which were at home - and shooting less than 37 percent in all three.

"It's kind of frustrating knowing that we have talent and we have a lot of good things going for us," Harris said. "We just have to put it all together at once."

The Retrievers (0-3, 1-15) are off to an even worse start.

After winning the conference in 2008 and then losing to Binghamton in the championship final last season, UMBC isn't used to this kind of start recently either.

The Retreivers are being led by a player familiar to the Capital District, Siena transfer Chris De La Rosa.

De La Rosa is tied for second in the conference in assists (4.8 per game) and is now averaging 10.4 points per game.

UAlbany is too busy looking for answers of their own to worry about what is ailing other teams.

"We're not good enough right now to get down 12, 13 points every game, fight back and sit there and say if we had another minute or two we'd be okay," said UAlbany coach Will Brown. "We have to get off to a better start. We have to sustain it and we have to make some shots."

The other thing the Great Danes will have to do is rebound.

UMBC is the worst rebounding team in the conference, while UAlbany is the toughest team in the league to rebound against.

"We have to exploit them, that's the biggest thing," said senior center Brett Gifford. "We have to hit the offensive boards hard, get easy baskets."

While Coach Brown has said he hasn't stressed any game as being "must-win," they can't allow themselves to lose too many league games out of the gate.

"The biggest thing we can control is our effort," Gifford said. "I feel like if we bring that the entire game, we'll be fine."

Despite the fact that this UMBC team is the one that ended UAlbany's season last year at SEFCU Arena, Brown said his guys would and should be already motivated enough.

"I think the fact that we're 0-3 in league is all the motivation that these guys need," he said.

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