Friday, December 28, 2012

Jacob Iati's career night leads UAlbany

ANNAPOLIS, Md.Jacob Iati’s health was a question mark heading into Friday evening’s game.

Iati scored a career-high 26 points, despite being nagged by a sore right calf and Achilles, as the University at Albany downed Navy, 71-61, at Alumni Hall.   

The Great Danes (10-3) have now won 10 non-conference games for the first time in the program’s 14-year Division I history.

“Any time you win on the road, you take it and move on to the next one,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown.

Iati was coming off of a season-low scoring peroframance, finishing with just five points in the team’s loss against Quinnipiac before Christmas. He bounced back strong, with a large contingent of his friends and family in the crowd, making the trip from nearby York, Pa.

“Anytime we’re in the state of Maryland, Iati’s going to play well,” said Brown.

Iati, one of the nation’s leaders in 3-pointers made, knocked down six treys and helped carry the UAlbany offense.

The Midshipmen (6-8) kept it close and when Brandon Venturini hit a 3-pointer, with eight minutes to play, the lead was trimmed to eight, 51-43.

Iati responded with a 3-pointer of his own and then junior Luke Devlin knocked down a triple to put the Great Danes back up by 10, 57-47.

“The one good thing is Navy plays extremely hard and physical and they play well in this building,” Brown said. “I’m proud of my guys.”

Iati’s two free throws in the final minute gave him a career-high. His previous high of 24 came against the University of Missouri-Kansas City, earlier this season.

UAlbany got a great contribution from Devlin, who finished with a season-high 13 points.

“It was nice,” Brown said. “We got the old Luke tonight. He played terrific and I couldn’t be happier for a better kid.”

The Great Danes also got six points off the bench from Chris Page.

“I thought Chris did a good job,” Brown said. “This was the perfect opportunity to get him some minutes.”

Tilman Dunbar led Navy with 17 points.

UAlbany closes out the non-conference portion of the schedule, besides the BracketBusters game, when they host Brown on New Year’s Eve at 4 p.m.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

UAlbany falls to Quinnipiac, 59-57

UAlbany saw its 6-game winning streak snapped on Friday evening, with a 59-57 loss to Quinnipiac.

The Great Danes also lost for the first time this season at SEFCU Arena (4-1).

Here is a link to the game story, which appeared in Saturday's paper. 

Jeff Couch - The Record

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Friday, December 21, 2012

UAlbany honors victims of Sandy Hook

ALBANY - Before Friday's game against Quinnipiac, the University at Albany men's basketball team warmed up in t-shirts honoring the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, which happened one week ago.

There was a 26-second moment of silence to honor each of the victims of the tragedy.

Below are Reece Williams and John Puk with the shirts on. The back of the t-shirt read, "Newtown, CT."

Quinnipiac is from Hamden, Conn., which is only about 30 miles from Newtown.

The Bobcats coaching staff was wearing ribbons on their suits to honor the victims of the shooting. 

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Lionel Gomis leaves Siena

LOUDONVILLE - Siena sophomore Lionel Gomis has left the program, the school announced on Friday.

Gomis recently informed coach Mitch Buonaguro of his desire to leave the program for family reasons.

"We're sorry to see Lionel go, but respect his decision," Buonaguro said.

Gomis appeared in just one game so far for the Saints, playing two minutes in the season-opening loss to Vermont.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

VIDEO: Blake Metcalf talks Quinnipiac

The University at Albany takes on Quinnipiac, on Friday, at SEFCU Arena.

The Great Danes (9-2) are ranked No. 21 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25, and have won six consecutive games.

Below, senior captain Blake Metcalf talks about the game.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

UAlbany releases CAA football schedule

UAlbany released its first CAA football schedule on Tuesday.

The Great Danes will open conference play, on Bob Ford Field, against Rhode Island, on Sept. 14.

Below is a look at the entire CAA schedule for the 2013 season. 

Sept. 14
vs. Rhode Island
Oct. 5
at James Madison
Oct. 12
at Delaware
Oct. 19
vs. Towson
Nov. 2
at Richmond
Nov. 9
vs. Maine
Nov. 16
vs. New Hampshire
Nov. 23
at Stony Brook

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

VIDEO: UAlbany 70, South Carolina State 61

Below, University at Albany guards Mike Black and Jacob Iati talk about the team's 70-61 victory over South Carolina State. The Great Danes (9-2) have now won six straight games.

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Jacob Iati now nation's 3-point leader

ALBANY - University at Albany guard Jacob Iati is on some kind of tear right now.

Iati has been good all season for the Great Danes, who improved to 9-2 with Wednesday's 70-61 victory over South Carolina State, but he's been dynamite lately.

Iati has hit 17 3-pointers in the past three games, all victories, and now he leads the nation in 3-pointers, following a 7-trey night.

“He's got serious range," said South Carolina coach Tim Carter.

Iati came into Wednesday fifth in the country and the top four players did not play.

Here is what the top five currently looks like.

1. Jacob Iati (UAlbany), 41
2. Travis Bader (Oakland), 40
3. Rotnei Clark (Butler), 36
T4. Ian Clark (Belmont), 35
T4. Parker Smith (North Florida), 35

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

UAlbany ready for next test

The University at Albany is riding a 5-game winning streak and they continue to play well to start the 2012-13 season.

The win streak is the longest since Nov. 19-Dec. 1, 2008.

If they can beat South Carolina State, they will extend past five games for the first time since Jan. 15-Feb. 7, 2007, which was an 8-game winning streak during a 23-10 season that saw them punch a trip to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.

UAlbany has already defeated South Carolina State, 83-55, earlier in the year.

Since the Great Danes won at Colgate, on Saturday, a lot has happened.

Mike Black, who turned 22 on Sunday, was named America East Player of the Week. I also wrote a feature story about him that appeared in Sunday's paper.

Also, UAlbany jumped to No. 22 in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 poll, the highest the program has ever been ranked.

Below, coach Will Brown talks about the game.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rakeem Brookins back on the practice floor

J.S. Carras/The Record
ALBANY - The Siena men's basketball team got a lift today, when sophomore Rakeem Brookins returned to the practice floor.

Brookins, who hadn't done anything since reaggravating a back injury against Maine, on Nov. 25, practiced on Thursday.

“It’s definitely a good sign for all of us," he said.

Brookins hurt his back on a hustle play, when he collided with a Maine player. He said that the doctors told him he can participate in team activities, as long as he feels okay.
The school had announced the sophomore, who missed all of last season with back issues, wouldn't play until at least Dec. 29, in the game against La Salle. Now, he's listed as questionable for Friday evening's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener against Rider.

Brookins' return to the floor seemed to give his teammates a little lift.

“I think we need a little bit more offense," said senior O.D. Anosike. "I think getting Rahk back soon will help alleviate some of that."

Brookins said he won't change  his game just because of the injury and he will try not to worry about it, once he returns.

“I’m not going to adjust my game for any reason because I have to play how I have to play," he said.

 In the six games without Brookins, the Saints (2-7) are averaging 55.5 points and are just 1-5.

 “It’s been a little struggle, but it’s still early in the season," Brookins said. "We’re going to get it together.”

Brookins averaged 11.7 points per game in the three games he's played this season, so his return would give this team some much needed offensive help.

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VIDEO: Rob Poole talks Siena/Rider

Siena sophomore Rob Poole talks about the team's struggles and what they have to do to be successful in the first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game against Rider.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

UAlbany keeps rolling, wins fourth straight

ALBANY - It's getting harder and hard to not believe in this University at Albany men's basketball team.

The Great Danes won their fourth straight game and are now 7-2 on the season, following a 77-73 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn.

Senior point guard Mike Black scored a matched game-high honors with 21 points, while Jacob Iati added 20 for UAlbany, which next plays at Colgate, on Saturday.

The Great Danes are getting solid contributions, on a nightly basis, from a lot of different players and that's what's making them so tough to beat.

On this night, Blake Metcalf grabbed 13 rebounds, while Peter Hooley scored nine points and dished out four assists off the bench and Jayson Guerrier had six points and four rebounds in only 12 minutes. D.J. Evans also chipped in with eight points and two assists in 10 minutes.

Below, Black talks about the game.

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Siena to retire Fred Shear's No. 50

The Siena men's basketball program will soon be hanging another number from the rafters.

The school announced today that Fred Shear (Class of 1973) will have his No. 50 retired, on Dec. 29, at halftime of the Saints game vs. La Salle.

Shear will join Marc Brown (#4), Billy Harrell (#10) and Kenny Hasbourck (#41) as the four players to have their jersey retired by Siena.

"Clearly this is a great individual honor and one that I most graciously accept," Shear said. "It is also a tremendous team honor. It speaks volumes about the type of teammates and coaches I had from 1969-73."

Shear is a graduate of Waterford-Halfmoon High School and holds the second highest career scoring average (20.3 ppg) in program history and the fifth career rebounding average (9.5 rpg). Shear was the first two-time All-American in Siena history, earning Associated Press Honorable Mention recognition in both 1972 and 1973.

Shear played only three varsity season (due to the NCAA freshman rule), but still ranks 12th all-time, with 1,400 career points and 15th all-time with 658 rebounds. He held the career scoring record for 14 years, prior to the introduction of the 3-point line.

Shear was the captain of Coach Bill Kirsch's first team at Siena. In addition to the Siena Hall of Fame, Shear is a member of the Waterford-Halfmoon High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Great Danes host Terriers on Wednesday

The University at Albany men's basketball team is off to its best start in the 14-year Division I program's history, at 6-2.

The Great Danes look to make it 3-0 at home on Wednesday, when they host the Terriers of St. Francis (N.Y.).

Here is a link to my game preview, which ran in Wednesday's paper.

Below, coach Will Brown talks about the matchup.

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Saints slide hits five in loss to Bonnies

OLEAN — The Siena offense has been tough to watch this season.

On Tuesday evening, the offensive woes went to a whole new level.

The Saints scored just five points in the final 12:22, as St. Bonaventure posted a 58-43 victory at the Reilly Center, on Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro’s 59th birthday.

St. Bonaventure (5-2) keeps possession of the Franciscan Cup, which they have now won in the
first three years. The previous two meetings were won by the Bonnies by only a combined nine points and the team are scheduled to meet next season in Albany. 

Siena (2-7) has still never won at the Reilly Center and have not defeated St. Bonaventure since 1998-99 season.

The Saints have now lost five straight games and the 43 points are the lowest in a game since a 61-40 loss to Manhattan, during the 1995-96 season.

The Saints scored 44 points twice last year, in losses at Georgia Tech and Saint Peter’s. The last five-game losing streak came last season, from Nov. 21-Dec. 3, and included a loss to St. Bonaventure and their first two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games.

Siena shot just 17-for-52 (33%) from the field, 4-for-15 (27%) from beyond the arc and only scored three points in the game’s final eight minutes.

The Bonnies held a 41-38 lead with 12:22 to play, but scored 17 of the game’s final 23 points.

The only Saints player who had a solid game was sophomore Trenity Burdine, who finished with a career-high 16 points.

Siena committed 17 turnovers, 13 of which came on the first half. The Saints were averaging 15 turnovers per game and now have committed 35 turnovers in their past two games.

St. Bonaventure cashed in on a big turnover, as Charlon Kloof collected a pass from Demetruis Conger and slammed it home to put the Bonnies up 43-38.

Matt Wright put the game away, with a three-point play that put St. Bonaventure up 48-40. 

Conger led the Bonnies with 14 points, while Marquise Simmons added 12 points.

Siena senior O.D. Anosike had his second straight game without a double-double, finishing with seven points and game-high 14 rebounds.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Siena looks for elusive win at St. Bonaventure

J.S. Carras/The Record
The Siena men's basketball team is getting any help from the schedule makers.

The Saints, who have lost four in a row, take on the Bonnies this evening, in Olean.

It is Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro's 59th birthday and the game is on national television, on NBC Sports Network. The game is a 9 p.m. tip.

Here is a link to my game preview. The game is the third in a four-game series and is for the Franciscan Cup, which has been won the past two years by St. Bonaventure.

Also, to add insult to injury, Yahoo! Sports writer Jeff Eisenberg has Siena as one of his early season disappointments.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

UAlbany captures Albany Cup

ALBANY - The University at Albany is currently the kings of the Capital District.

Just hours after the women's team defeated Siena handily, 65-48, the men's team came out and led for the entire second half on the way to a 69-56 win.

The Great Danes have now won two of the last three matchups, while the women's team has won three straight over Siena.

Mike Black scored 13 points, all of which came in the second half, while Jacob Iati added 13 of his own points for the Great Danes (6-2).

Rob Poole scored a game-high 19 points for the Saints (2-6).

Siena takes on St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, while UAlbany hosts St. Francis (NY) on Wednesday evening.

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UAlbany/Siena for Albany Cup

Today is the day.

The University at Albany and Siena College square off for Division I basketball supremacy.

The women tip at 5 p.m., and the men square off at 7 p.m.

Here is a preview of the women's game. Here is a link to the men's preview.

Below is more information about the men's matchup.

Siena College and the University at Albany have met 51 times on the basketball floor. The Saints hold a 32-19 lead in all-time meetings and have a 9-2 lead in meetings since the rivalry was renewed in 2001, when the teams were both at the Division I level. Since 2001, the game has averaged 11,004 fans in 11 meeting, a total of 121,048 fans, all in downtown Albany. Below are all of the scores from the Division I meetings.

Date    Score    Attendance
2011    Siena 64, UAlbany 60     8,252
2010     UAlbany 88, Siena 82 (OT)    10,753
2009     Siena 83, UAlbany 54     12,960
2008     Siena 71, UAlbany 64     13,251
2007     Siena 75, UAlbany 71     13,262
2006    Siena 76, UAlbany 75 (2OT)     11,271
2005    Siena 82, UAlbany 74 (OT)    8,641
2004     UAlbany 86, Siena 65     8,904
2003    Siena 71, UAlbany 50    11,797
2002     Siena 79, UAlbany 75     11,672
2001     Siena 60, UAlbany 48     10,285

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