Friday, November 29, 2013

Siena falls flat vs. Saint Joseph's at Old Spice

The Siena men's basketball team started way too slow on Friday evening, falling to Saint Joseph's 78-66, in the Old Spice Classic.

The Saints were down by 20 points at halftime and basically out of it.

"I thought we came out awful slow," assistant coach Greg Manning said on the radio postgame. "We were disappointed with the effort in the first half."

Here is link to the box score.

Freshman Lavon Long led the way for the Saints (2-6), with 13 points, while junior Rob Poole added 12.

The Hawks (3-2) were led by Langston Galloway, who scored a game-high 27 points. 

Siena will place in the 7th place game, on Sunday at 5 p.m., against Purdue. It will be a rematch of last Sunday's game (11/24), which the Boilermakers won 81-73.


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Dave Wiegmann's hard work helping UAlbany

ALBANY - Dave Wiegmann was all over the floor on Tuesday evening -- playing so well that coach Will Brown couldn't take him out of the game.

That wasn't the case last season, when Wiegmann (right, playing defense against Ohio State last year) had trouble getting out onto the court.

Continued hard work and determination have Wiegmann playing more than half the game (21.2 min/gm), on average. Currently, the 6-foot-8 forward is even in the starting lineup, as Gary Johnson deals with an ankle issue.

“He just refused to give up," said Brown, following Friday's practice.

Wiegmann is averaging 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. In the two starts, he's increased his production to 8.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest.

“I’m just trying to take advantage of the opportunities I’ve been given," he said. "Hopefully, I can continue to keep producing.” 

In the 70-59 victory over Rider, Wiegmann grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, in 37 minutes of action.

“I couldn’t take him off the floor the other day," Brown said. "He got every rebound.”

Wiegmann played just 49 TOTAL minutes last year, after transferring in from Southwestern Illinois Junior College. This year, he's already played 127 minutes, in just six games.

“I still think his best basketball is ahead of him," said Brown.

Wiegmann isn't concerned about maintaining a starting role, once Johnson returns. He just wants to keep helping this team keep pile up victories.

“In the end, it’s what’s most beneficial for the team," Wiegmann said. "Whatever the coaches ask, I’ll do to the best of my ability.”

Last season, Wiegmann just wasn't strong enough to battle inside with the post players, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. He would lift in the hotel room during road trips and put in as much extra work as he could.

“He always fought, worked and competed," said Brown.

Wiegmann would come to Brown routinely last season and ask what he needed to do better or what he should work on, so that he would see more playing time. 

"The one thing that he wants to be able to say is that 'I was a good, solid player and contributed to a team at the Division I level,'" said Brown.

Wiegmann is a great student and is currently looking at what medical school, he would like to attend next year. He could have just continued to work hard in practice and finished up his studies, but he wanted to work even harder to earn minutes and contribute during games this season.

“He should be an example for all kids of all ages," said Brown.

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Siena loses to No. 21 Memphis at Old Spice

The Siena men's basketball team started well, but No. 21 Memphis was far too good on Thanksgiving

The Tigers had just too much offense and size for the younger Saints, posting a 87-60 victory at the Old Spice Classic.

Coach Jimmy Patsos wasn't thrilled with the effort, especially in the middle of the game, saying, "I expect us to compete a little harder."

Memphis coach Josh Pastner had high praise for Patsos and the Saints.

"I think Siena should give him a lifetime contract," Pastner said to the AP. "He's the best. His teams play so hard. If I'm Siena's president, I would lock Coach Patsos up right now. I wouldn't wait. That program is going to get to where you're consistently going to the NCAA tournament."

The Saints play Saint Joseph's on Friday evening, at 8 p.m., on ESPNU.

Siena has already played two Atlantic 10 schools, losing at La Salle and defeated St. Bonaventuue, at home.


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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

UAlbany's Omar Osbourne on 1st team CAA

The Colonial Athletic Association announced its award winners for the 2013 season on Tuesday.

Here is the full release, with all of the award winners.

The major awards went to Maine's Jack Cosgrove (coach of the year), Towson's Terrance West (offensive player of the year) and James Madison's Stephon Robertson (defensive player of the year).

Tre McBride, of William & Mary, was named special teams player of the year, while Towson's Darius Victor and Maine's Christophe Mulumba were the offensive and defensive rookies of the year.

The University at Albany had three players honored, most notably junior running back Omar Osbourne, who was named to the first team, at the running back position. Osbourne finished third in the league, with 1,206 rushing yards (100.5 per game) and 12 rushing touchdowns.

Osbourne was one of just four CAA running backs to rush for more than 1,000 yards this season.

Two defensive players were named to the third team, in senior defensive lineman Andrew Smith and junior linebacker Christian Dorsey

The Great Danes struggled to a 1-11 finish this year, going 0-8 in CAA play, in the final season for legendary coach Bob Ford.

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Siena's Marquis Wright earns MAAC honor

Description of . J.S.Carras/The Record  Siena's Marquis Wright drives to the basket against St. Bonaventure during first half of men's college basketball action Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y..
J.S. Carras/The Record
Siena freshman Marquis Wright had a great week last week.

Wright hit a game-winning shot against St. Bonaventure and scored a career-high 12 points against Cornell. On Monday, he was honored as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week.

“For Marquis to get rookie of the week was fantastic," said Siena coach Jimmy Patsos on Tuesday. "It was a great thing. He deserves it.”

Wright is the first Siena player to earn this honor since  Evan Hymes, who won the award four times during the 2011-12 season. Rob Poole also won rookie of the week once that year.

Wright has started all fives games this season for the Saints. The freshman from Maryland is averaging 7.3 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Wright also only is averaging 2.5 turnovers per game.

“I just have to keep working hard and see if I can earn another one, maybe," said Wright. 

Here is the school's release.

Here is the MAAC's release

Here are the past MAAC winners.

Player of the Week
11/25 - Sean Armand, Iona
11/18 - Antoine Mason, Niagara
11/11 -  Michael Alvarado, Manhattan

Rookie of the Week
11/25 - Marquis Wright, Siena
11/18 - Kasim Chandler, Quinnipiac
11/11 - Josh James, Monmouth

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Monday, November 25, 2013

UAlbany's Shereesha Richards again AE POW

UAlbany Athletics
University at Albany forward Shereesha Richards is making the America East Player of the Week award her own.

The sophomore is averaging 23.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game for the Great Danes, who are undefeated, at 5-0. UAlbany has also won 22 straight regular season games, dating back to a loss to Sam Houston State last year.

On Monday, Richards was named America East Player of the Week for the third consecutive time to start the year.

Last year's rookie of the year in the league seems to be headed for another, even more prestigious award this season, although it's still very early.

Here is the America East release.

Here is the UAlbany release.

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Final FCS Top 25 - Nov. 24

The regular season is over.

Unfortunately, it was one of the worst years in program history for the University at Albany, also the final season for legendary coach Bob Ford. The Great Danes finished the season 1-11, didn't win a game in their new league, the Colonial Athletic Association, and are now in search of a new head coach.

The playoff field is set and the drive to unseat two-time defending champion North Dakota State, is officially underway.

The final FCS Top 25 is out from The Sports Network, as we had to all vote before yesterday's selection show.

Below, is my ballot. The number in the (xx) is where that team is located in the poll, if different from where I have them.

1. North Dakota State
2. Eastern Illinois
3. Eastern Washington
4. Montana
5. Southeastern Louisiana (7)
6. Northern Arizona (8)
7. McNeese State (6)
8. Towson (5)
9. South Dakota State (13)
10. Fordham (9)
Read more »

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Reaction: UAlbany drops third straight game

ALBANY - The University at Albany didn't play poorly on Saturday evening. The Great Danes ran into a buzzsaw in Bucknell, which has already defeated Penn State and could have beaten Stanford and St. John's.

The Bison hit 14 3-pointers and frankly, you're not going to win too many games when your opponent hits that many shots. Bucknell shot 71 (10-14) percent from beyond the arc in the first half.

Here is a link to the game story. 

What it means:  After a 2-0 start, the Great Danes have now lost three straight games. Sophomore Peter Hooley mentioned in the postgame how the team lost three straight conference games last year and that woke some people up and hopes this stretch will do the same.

While you never want to lose, none of the losses looks terrible at this point and the team hasn't played particularly bad, except for the first half at Duquesne.

Player of the game: Ben Brackney. The Bison senior guard knocked down six 3-pointers and got into a rhythm as his team did early in the first half. Brackney finished with a game-high 22 points.

"Brackney's just ready," said UAlbany coach Will Brown. "He's shot ready."

UAlbany player of the game: Sam Rowley finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. The junior just continues to put up numbers, really against any and all competition. One sequence, in the first half, showed just how dominant Rowley is becoming. With his team down 12, 29-17, Rowley grabbed a rebound, raced down the floor, right through the lane and past nearly every Bucknell player. He missed his first attempt, outbattled everyone for the rebound and put it back in.

That being said, Hooley and DJ Evans both played very well on this night, too. 

Play of the Game: Of course it's a 3-pointer -- make that two. Coming out of halftime, Dave Wiegmann score the first basket. Bucknell calmly came down and made two triples to give them their largest lead of the game, 57-40. With those two 3-pointers, from Brackney and sophomore Chris Hass, you knew the Bison weren't losing.

Injury Update: Gary Johnson missed the game with an ankle injury. The senior is doubtful for Tuesday's game against Rider, according to Coach Brown, who said he should be back on the floor after Thanksgiving.

Up Next: The Great Danes travel south to New Jersey to take on Rider. The Broncs won their first game of the season tonight, knocking off Central Connecticut 89-73. Rider did give Purdue a game, losing to the Boilermakers by just four, a week ago.

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bucknell 77, UAlbany 64

ALBANY - Bucknell is a very good team.

The Bison proved that on Saturday evening, as they knocked down shots and got out of SEFCU Arena, with a 77-64 victory.

Bucknell, which has already knocked off Penn State, made 14 3-pointers and looked good doing it.

The Bison were led by Ben Brackney, who scored a game-high 22 points and knocked down six 3-pointers.

UAlbany played much better in the second half, but still didn't have nearly enough to overcome a big first half hole.

Th Great Danes were led by Peter Hooley, who matched his career-high with 21 points, while Sam Rowley chipped in 15. 

The Bison are the defending Patriot League champs and I wouldn't be surprised if they are the top team in that league once again. 

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Bucknell 51, UAlbany 38 (half)

ALBANY - It's cold outside, but Bucknell couldn't have shot the ball any hotter in the first half.

The Bison made 10 3-pointers and lead UAlbany by a score of 51-38.

Ben Brackney led the way, hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points in the first half.

Bucknell, which has already beaten Penn State on the road, hasn't disappointed. The defending Patriot League champs have also played Stanford and St. John's tough this season.

The Bison are shooting 62 percent (20-32) from the field and 71 percent (10-14) from beyond the arc. 

UAlbany, which is playing without Gary Johnson, (ankle), is led by Peter Hooley, who has 14 points, while Sam Rowley chipped in 10 points. 

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Imoh Silas helps Siena defeat Cornell

Imoh Silas had his greatest game as a Siena player on Friday evening.

Silas' monster night helped the Saints post their second straight near buzzer-beating victory, in a 71-70 victory over Cornell.

Description of . Mike McMahon - The Record, 1st quarter  of UAlbany vs Siena men's basketball for the Albany Cup at the Times Union Center in Albanyl, Friday November 1. 2013.
Mike McMahon/The Record

 Below are highlights and an interview with coach Jimmy Patsos, from the postgame radio. Both are courtesy the Siena athletic department.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Quick Reaction: Saints post 2nd straight win

ITHACA - The Siena Saints clearly have a flare for the dramatic, as they posted their second straight victory on Friday evening, getting a game-winning basket, in the late stages from junior Imoh Silas. 

The Saints have now won back-to-back games, something they only did twice last season.

What it means: The Saints are showing that even with a handful of freshmen, they can deal with some adversity. Siena has won two straight games in which they played well.

Give me some I(moh): Silas was dominant, posting a career-highs 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Silas also scored the game-winning basket and was all over the place for the Saints. 

Player of the Game (not Silas): Junior Rob Poole scored a game-high 19 points, coming off the bench. He helped the Saints out to an 11-point lead in the first half, hitting four 3-pointers and also grabbing six rebounds.

Play of the Game: Marquis Wright drove the lane, like he did against St. Bonaventure, but this time he missed the shot. Silas was in the right spot, grabbing the rebound, in traffic, and putting it back home for the game-winner.

Coming Up: The Saints head back to Albany and have to catch an early flight on Saturday morning, to head out to Chicago. Siena takes on Purdue on Sunday, in a game that will be televised on the Big Ten network. This will be a rematch of the 2010 NCAA tournament game, won by the Boilermakers in the final game for the big three of Alex Franklin, Edwin Ubiles and Ronald Moore. 

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Siena 71, Cornell 70

ITHACA - Siena got another game-winning basket late, to post their second straight victory on Friday evening.

Like he did on Tuesday, Marquis Wright drove, but this time he missed. The ball was caught by Imoh Silas and put back in, with 6.5 seconds remaining, to give the Saints a 71-70 victory over Cornell at Newman Arena.

Silas had a monster game, with a career-high 17 points and 14 rebounds. Rob Poole came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points for the Saints.

Nolan Cressler scored a game-high 25 points for the Big Red.

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Siena 43, Cornell 37 (half)

ITHACA - Rob Poole didn't start for the first time in some time. The junior came off the bench determined to prove he belongs back in the starting lineup.

Poole hit four 3-pointers and scored 15 points, as Siena leads Cornell 43-37, following 20 minutes of action.

Imoh Silas also played exceptions for the Saints, as he scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. Silas started in place of Javion Ogunyemi, who is out with an ankle injury.

Siena shot 56 percent (13-23) from the field, while Cornell was equally as hot, going 14-for-25 (56%) from the field.

The Big Red were led by Nolan Cressler, who scored 12 points.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Marquis Wright's shot gives Siena first victory

The Siena men's basketball team picked up its first victory of the season on Tuesday evening, defeating St. Bonaventure, 72-70.

Here is a link to the game story, which focuses on the game-winning shot from freshman Marquis Wright (which can be viewed a few posts previous to this). The win gives the Saints the Franciscan Cup for the first time in four years against their rival.

Here's a link to a photo gallery from the game, shot by photographer J.S. Carras.

Description of . J.S.Carras/The Record  Siena's Brett Bisping (31) and Lavon Long (24) move ball up court against St. Bonaventure's Matthew Wright (24) during first half of men's college basketball action Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y..
J.S. Carras - The Record

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Siena's Brett Bisping gaining confidence

ALBANY - When Jimmy Patsos first met Brett Bisping, he learned two things about the sophomore forward.

Jeff Couch/The Record
The Illinois native liked the Chicago Bulls and his favorite player was Michael Jordan.

That was funny to Patsos because, as a 6-foot-8 post player, Bisping and Jordan have nothing in common. (In Bisping's defense, Jordan was my favorite player growing up and we have even less in common than he and Bisping do)

Patsos suggested that Bisping look up former Detroit Pistons big man Bill Laimbeer and play a little like him.

Over the past two games, Bisping hasn't become a bad boy like Laimbeer was known for being in the NBA, but he has been playing very solid, especially in Siena's 72-70 victory over St. Bonaventure on Tuesday.

“I thought his play was inspirational," said Patsos.

Bisping finished with a career-high 13 points (on 4-for-7 shooting) and seven rebounds in the victory over the Bonnies. 

Asked if it was the best performance of his career, Bisping replied, “Yes. But that’s not what’s important.” 

Bisping has averaged 8.5 points and 5.5 rebounds over the past two games, as he's seen more action and seemed more comfortable. 

“Jimmy continues to push me no matter how I play," he said. “He always gives you a second chance to come in and try to play better. I’m just going to try to keep doing my job and help the team as much as I can, in any way.”

Patsos said when his mentor, former Maryland coach Gary Williams, stopped by practice a few weeks back, he liked what Bisping brought to the table.  

Bisping knows that his role on this team is to rebound, screen and do some of the dirty work. On Tuesday, with Javion Ogunyemi suffering an ankle injury and both Imoh Silas and Lavon Long fouling out in the second half, Bisping knew he could step in.

“I had to step up tonight," he said.

That's just what he did.

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VIDEO: Marquis Wright beats Bonnies

Here is the game-winning shot from Siena freshman Marquis Wright, which propelled the Saints to a 72-70 victory over St. Bonaventure.

Courtesy Siena Athletic Department

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quick Reaction: Siena posts first victory

ALBANY - The Siena men's basketball team picked up its first victory of the season, in pretty improbable fashion on Tuesday evening.

The Saints downed St. Bonaventure, 72-70, to win the Franciscan Cup, and give Jimmy Patsos his first victory at Siena head coach.

What it means: The Saints get their first victory of the year and finally got over the hump, after letting a second-half lead slip away at La Salle. The victory is also the first win over St. Bonaventure since the 1998-99 season, and Siena is now 34-68 all-time against Atlantic-10 opponents (7-28 vs. the Bonnies)

The Wright stuff: Marquis Wright didn't score many points, but he got the biggest basket of the game, a running, baking layup, with 0.2 seconds to play. Wright played 37 minutes and had seven assists and five rebounds to go along with his seven points.

Player of the Game: Brett Bisping played tremendous for the Saints. In 28 minutes off the bench, Bisping finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and one block. He was 4-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Play of the Game: Clearly Wright's basket was the biggest play of the game. He hit a difficult bank-shot, over Andell Cumberbatch, to send his team home victorious. Not to be outdone was a Bisping 3-pointer, with 3:31 remaining that put Siena up 70-68 and the Saints never trailed again, even though there were two ties.

Injury Update: It was a short night for Troy High grad Javion Ogunyemi, who went down in the first four minutes with an is initially being diagnosed as just an ankle sprain. It looked much worse (althought I'm not doctor). Ogunyemi, who had a season-ending injury to his right ankle during his junior year of high school, is scheduled for a MRI in the morning.

Coming Up: The Saints don't have much time to sit on this, as they hit the road for a Friday game at Cornell. Coach Patsos mentioned it in the postgame, but now he will be expecting a little more out of his bunch, which pushed one A-10 team to the wire on the road and now has beaten one at home. 

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Siena 72, St. Bonaventure 70

ALBANY - Marquis Wright drove the lane and finished strong, giving Siena its first victory under coach Jimmy Patsos and stake to the Franciscan Cup.

Wright's bank layup, just before the buzzer, finished an improbable game in which two players fouled out and another went down with an injury.

Still, the Saints got over the top, beating previously undefeated St. Bonaventure, 72-70, on Tuesday evening.

Lavon Long scored a team-high 15 points and Brett Bisping added 13 off the bench.

The Bonnies were led by Youssou Ndoye, who led four players in double figures, with 16 points.

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Siena 48, St. Bonaventure 38 (half)

ALBANY - Siena played its best half of the season in the first half on Tuesday evening.

Even with freshman Javion Ogunyemi going down with what was reported as an ankle injury and junior Rob Poole being held scoreless, the Saints lead St. Bonaventure 48-38 at the half.

Siena shot 47 percent (16-34) from the field, getting great play from Brett Bisping (8 pts, 5 reb) and Imoh Silas (6 pts, 4 reb) off the bench.

The Bonnies were led by Youssou Ndoye, who scored 11 points in the first 20 minutes.

The Saints have never claimed the Franciscan Cup in three previous years and are looking to do so here tonight.

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Troy's Javion Ogunyemi goes down in 1st half

ALBANY - The Siena men's basketball team is young and doesn't have much depth.

The one thing the Saints could ill-afford was a major injury.

Just four minutes into the first half of the game against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, Troy High graduate Javion Ogunyemi went down on an attempted alley-oop from Evan Hymes. Ogunyemi went up for a layup, catching a pass from Hymes, when he was landed on by Bonnies big man Youssou Ndoye.

Ogunyemi couldn't put any weight on his right leg, as he was helped from the court and it didn't look good.

Ogunyemi had his junior season at Troy High ended, when he injured his left ankle, in a postseason game.

(Update: Ogunyemi suffered a right ankle injury and will not return)

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Siena's Evan Hymes settling into reserve role

LOUDONVILLE - Evan Hymes was removed from the starting lineup after the first game of this season.

Since then, the Siena junior has actually been more productive, as a spark off the bench.

In two games as a reserve, Hymes has averaged 9.5 points per game.

“Evan Hymes is handling coming off the bench well and he continues to take the right steps," Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said on Monday.

In April, Hymes made a decision to leave the Siena program to be closer to his mother, who was having some health issues. He changed his mind later that month and decided to return for his junior year. Now, he says he's fully on board with whatever his coach wants him to do. 

“I’m ready to do whatever Coach Patsos wants me to do," he said.

Hymes and Patsos had discussed starting or potentially coming off the bench and playing more minutes.

“I just want to be on the court," Hymes said. "No matter if it’s starting or if it’s at the end of the game. I just want to be on the court to help my team.”

Following just a 3-point effort against the University at Albany, Patsos has decided to start freshman Maurice White at the two guard position. That meant that four freshmen were in the starting lineup for the first time in the program's history.

Hymes scored eight points against Vermont and followed that up with a 11-point game versus La Salle. More importantly, he's committed just four turnovers in 46 minutes of action since the opener, while dishing out five assists.

“Evan Hymes and Brett Bisping probably made the two biggest strides against La Salle," said Patsos. 

It was a jumper by Hymes, with a La Salle player right in his face and just 7:02 remaining, that looked like it might give the Saints enough for their first win, as it put them up by eight, 66-58.

“Right there, I thought we were going to win this game," said junior Rob Poole, who finished with a game-high 21 points.

Hymes was dealing with an injured wrist in the preseason, which occurred on the team's trip to Montreal.  He's only been back practicing for a few weeks and knows there's still a lot that needs to be done. 

“I just have to keep going, keep improving and keep working," he said. 

While Patsos likes what he sees, he also wants to see more from Hymes, who is one of the few veterans on this team.

“We’re 0-3 and I want to see him continue to take the next steps," said Patsos.

J.S. Carras/The Record

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Monday, November 18, 2013

FCS Top 25 - Nov. 18

The football season is coming to an end.

There's not too much action still to be played, as the regular season comes to an end next weekend for Football Championship Subdivision teams.

For the University at Albany, there's one more shot for the program's first Colonial Athletic Association victory, when the Great Danes travel to play Stony Brook.

Below is my ballot for The Sports Network Top 25. Here is the actual poll, with one week to play.

The top three teams continue to distance themselves from the rest of the pack.

The number in the (xx) is if the team is located in a different spot in poll, than on my ballot.

1. North Dakota State
2. Eastern Illinois
3. Eastern Washington
4. Maine
5. Southeast Louisiana (8)
6. Montana (5)
7. Northern Arizona (10)
8. Coastal Carolina (11)
9. McNeese State (6)
10. Towson (7)
Read more »

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Shereesha Richards 2nd straight AE POW

University at Albany sophomore Shereesha Richards won her second straight America East Player of
the Week honors on Monday.

Richards had a monster game, with career-highs of 28 points and 15 rebounds in possibly the program's biggest victory ever, against Marist, last Thursday.

Here is the league's release and the school's release.

Also, Albany native and Albany Academy grad Chris Pelcher was honored as the men's co-player of the week.

He averaged 17.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in two games for New Hampshire this past week.

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Ford finale & Capital District weekend recap

This weekend was a busy one for local college sports teams.

It was University at Albany coach Bob Ford's final home game. The Great Danes lost to New Hampshire, but that was only part of the story.

To the left is a picture page from Coach Ford's final game in the city of Albany.

Also in college football, RPI reclaimed the Dutchman Shoes, by beating Union, 31-28.

The Union/RPI rivalry didn't stop at football. The Skating Dutchmen extracted some revenge for their school, sweeping the Engineers in two game.

The Saint Rose women's soccer team advanced to the Sweet 16 for an incredible ninth straight year, defeating Adelphi on Sunday. 

Also, the Saint Rose men's basketball team defeated Felician.

In college basketball, Siena nearly pulled off a huge upset against La Salle, a program that reached the Sweet 16 last season.

UAlbany lost its first game of the season, falling at Quinnipiac on Saturday.

Columnist Steve Amedio writes about the UAlbany women's basketball team, which is coming off possibly the biggest victory in school history, knocking off perennial power Marist.

Below is Ford addressing the crowd following his final home game after 44 years as the program's head coach. 

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Final home game for UAlbany's Bob Ford

A wild sports weekend in the Capital District.

In addition to high school state competition, RPI and Union meet in the Dutchman Shoes football game, while also taking the ice for a home-and-home in men's hockey. (Update: RPI won 31-28 to reclaim the Shoes)

Siena is in Philadelphia to take on La Salle, at a soldout arena for homecoming.

The UAlbany basketball team is in Connecticut, to take on Quinnipiac.

Here at home, the UAlbany football team takes on New Hampshire, in coach Bob Ford's final home game.  

In addition to Ford's final home game, it's also Military Appreciation Day at UAlbany and below are the helmets the team will wear. 

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Friday, November 15, 2013

UAlbany hoops announces 2014-15 class

On Friday, the University at Albany men's basketball program announced a four-man class for next season.

Coach Will Brown and the Great Danes will welcome Wheeler Baker, Geremy McKay, Max Twyman and Mike Wells for the 2014-15 season.

"We are very excited about the class we have put together during the early period," Brown said in the release. "We added student-athletes who value an education, are quality people and talented individuals on the court."

Baker averaged 16.2 points per game, as a junior at Osseo High School in Minneapolis, Minn.

The program has added another Australian in McKay. The 6-foot-7 forward was a member of the 2013 Under-19 Australian FIBA team that won the Oceania Championships this past summer.

Twyman is from Rye and averaged 21.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a senior at Rye High, who is now at Brewster Academy.

Wells is a graduate of Delaware Hayes High in Ohio and is now at Thomas More Prep. He was the all-time leading scorer at Hayes, where he averaged 25.2 points per game, as a senior.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

UAlbany up, Siena down, RPI expectations

J.S. Carras/The Record
The University at Albany men's basketball team won their home opener Tuesday night, against New
Jersey Institute of Technology.

Here is the game story, following a 71-65 victory for the Great Danes that bumped them to 2-0 overall, with a game at Quinnipiac on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Siena dropped to 0-2, with a 77-66 loss at Vermont. Here is a link to the Siena write up and postgame video from coach Jimmy Patsos.

Also, Brien Bouyea checks in with the RPI women's basketball team.

Columnist Steve Amedio writes about Marist women's coach Brian Giorgis, who brings his Red Foxes to the SEFCU Arena Thursday evening, to take on UAlbany. The two teams are ranked in the Top 20, in the College Insider Mid-Major poll, with Marist at No. 3 and UAlbany at No. 17. 

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quick Reaction: UAlbany 71, NJIT 65

ALBANY - The University at Albany Great Danes improved to 2-0, for the first time since the 2006-07 season, with a 71-65 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology.

It was the home opener for UAlbany and they revealed their America East championship and NCAA tournament banners before the game.

What it means: The Great Danes had to come from behind again, but the first 2-0 start, for the program in seven years, certainly should have people feeling good.

DJ play that music: Senior guard DJ Evans turned in another career-performance, following up 12 points against Siena, with a 20-point night on Tuesday. He scored 13 points in the first 7:27 and looked confident running the offense. 

Player of the Game: (besides DJ) Sam Rowley scored 10 of his 12 points after halftime, as the junior turned it on. He shot 6-for-8 from the floor and really gave the team a spark in the second half.

Play of the Game: Late in the second half, University at Albany coach Will Brown brought out the full-court pressure defense. That turned things around in a hurry, as NJIT had trouble handling the aggressive defense from the Danes.

“I thought that changed the flow of the game," said NJIT coach Jim Engles. "It was good coaching on his (UAlbany coach Will Brown) part.”

Coming Up: UAlbany travels to Quinnipiac for a game on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats are 1-1, beating Hartford, but losing at La Salle during the ESPN Tip-off marathon on Tuesday.  

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UAlbany 71, NJIT 65

ALBANY - Once again, the University at Albany men's basketball team comes behind.

Down nine points, with nine minutes to play, the Great Danes turned it on and came out with another victory, defeating New Jersey Institute of Technology, 71-65 on Tuesday evening, in front of a crowd of 3,141.

UAlbany was led by D.J. Evans, who scored a career-high 20 points, while Peter Hooley added 13.

The Highlanders were led by Terrence Smith, who scored 19, while Ky Howard added 15.

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NJIT 33, UAlbany 29 (half)

ALBANY - The University at Albany men's basketball team and D.J. Evans started Tuesday's game about as fast as you can.

Unlike in Friday's season-opener, the Great Danes started fast and fizzled to the halftime buzzer.

UAlbany led by as many as seven points, but trail, 33-29, at intermission.

Evans scored 13 points in the game's first 7:27, as the Great Danes broke out to a 17-0 lead. He leads all scorers.

The Highlanders were led by Terrence Smith, who has 11 points, while Ky Howard added six. 

Before the game, UAlbany lowered its America East championship and NCAA tournament banners from last season.

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UAlbany home, Siena hits the road Tuesday

Mike McMahon/The Record
Both local Division I men's basketball teams are in action on Tuesday evening.

Siena travels north to take on Vermont, trying to rebound from a season-opening loss against UAlbany. This will not be an easy place to win, but coach Jimmy Patsos faces longtime friend John Becker, the Catamounts coach.

Here is the story from the Burlington Free Press, which talks about an injury to forward Ethan O'Day.

The University at Albany will open the home portion of its schedule tonight, when they host N.J.I.T., at SEFCU Arena.

The Great Danes will drop their championship banner from last year at 6:50 p.m., and then look to get off to a 2-0 start to this season.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Siena's Meghan Donohue earns MAAC ROW

Siena freshmen have already played a huge role for both the men's and women's basketball teams.

On the women's side, forward Meghan Donohue was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week on Monday.

She scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds against the University at Albany, in Friday's season-opening loss. Donohue became the first Siena women's freshman to start the season-opener since 2008, when Cristina Centeno and Brittany Wilwohl started against Syracuse.

Here is Siena's release.

Here is the MAAC release.

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Siena freshmen take step in right direction

LOUDONVILLE - Jimmy Patsos balked at the fact that his team played well for just the early portion of Friday's 74-62 season-opening loss against the University at Albany.

Starting three freshmen and having a fourth as the team's leading scorer, he may be correct.

“We played well in the game for having four freshmen," said Patsos, on Monday, before practice and the team's departure north to Vermont.

There were more than 11,000 people in the crowd and yet, none of the freshmen seemed fazed in the slightest.

“It was intense the whole game," said point guard Marquis Wright. "A lot of people — bright lights, but I don’t think it affected us any."

Mike McMahon/The Record
Wright and the Saints jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first half, riding the energy from the crowd and the emotion of starting a new era, with coach Patsos.

“We just have to keep it that way ­— play that way the whole game," Wright said. "I’d say we didn’t play as well the last 10 minutes, but it’s all going to come.”

Wright, who was named a captain, something very rare for a freshman, scored eight points and finished and five rebounds, with six assists against just three turnovers in 34 minutes of action. 

“I think I did well for my first college game," he said. "It can always get better — cutting down turnovers and helping my team more.”

Maurice White (left) scored 17 points to lead the team in scoring, off of the bench, a place he may not be too much longer, Patsos indicated on Monday.

"I think I played really well," said White, who was dealing with a groin issue and wasn't sure how much time he would see.

White ended up playing 26 minutes and grabbing six rebounds. White also became the first freshman to lead the team in scoring since Alex Franklin (20 points) did so, against Stanford on Nov. 11, 2006.

In total, the freshmen scored 42 of the team's 62 points, but it wasn't enough. 

“We played hard," Wright said. "We just came up short.”

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FCS Top 25 - Nov. 11

The finish line is in sight.

Only two weeks left of the regular season, but still a lot of shake up in this weekend's poll. Eight of the Top 25 teams from last week lost, so the poll looks a little different.

Here is the latest The Sports Network FCS Top 25.

UAlbany continued its losing streak this weekend, but nearly upset newly ranked No. 6 Maine. I have the Black Bears at No. 4, so that would have been quite an upset. 

Below is my ballot. The number in the (xx) is if the team is located in a different spot in the poll, than on my ballot.

1. North Dakota State
2. Eastern Illinois
3. Eastern Washington
4. Maine (6)
5. Fordham
6. Sam Houston State (4)
7. Charleston Southern (13)
8. Southeastern Louisiana (14)
9. Montana (7)
10. Montana State (8)
Read more »

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Shereesha Richards earns AE POW honors

The University at Albany women's basketball team got off to a great start, winning both Friday and Sunday, to start the season 2-0.

A big reason for that was sophomore Shereesha Richards, who was honored on Monday as the America East Player of the Week.

Richards, who was a preseason all-conference selection, averaged 19.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two games.

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Will Brown: Saturday equals sellout

Mike McMahon/The Record
ALBANY - The Times Union Center box office will surely be contacting University at Albany coach Will Brown in the coming days.

Following his team's 74-62 victory over Siena, Brown said that he can guarantee an even larger crowd than the 11,311 that attended on Friday evening.

"If this game would have been played tomorrow (Saturday), there would have been 15,000 people here, sold out," said Brown.

The crowd was the largest since 2009, and was more than the average of 10,940, since the rivalry was renewed in 2001.

Brown does have a point though, as it was a very busy night locally. Both Union and RPI men's hockey teams were home and the Section II Class AA Super Bowl was being played at Bob Ford Field, at UAlbany. That game, between CBA and Shaker was one Brown pointed to.

"I bet ya half of them would have come," he said.

The game was played on Friday evening, due to the UAlbany women's schedule, which has a game on Sunday.

Last year, however the game was played on a Saturday and drew a crowd of 10,229. 

"It's hard to play it on any other day but Saturday," Brown said. "People will travel to come see this game if it's on a Saturday."

Brown even suggested that if the game can't be played as a doubleheader, maybe the women's teams could play on Friday evening and the men's squads could faceoff on Saturday, to make a whole weekend out of it.

"If it can't be a doubleheader, it can't be a doubleheader," he said. 

This was the first time the Albany Cup game was the season-opener, something that likely won't continue if this quote from Brown means anything.

"Next year, each of us will probably have three of four games under our belt, when we play," he said.

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UAlbany 74, Siena 62

Mike McMahon/The Record
ALBANY - The University at Albany is still the top dog in the Capital District.

Sam Rowley and Peter Hooley each scored 17 points, as the Great Danes overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to beat Siena, 74-62.

“It means a lot, not just for the players, but for our school," said Hooley.

UAlbany played much better in the second half, getting 12 points from D.J. Evans and nine more from Gary Johnson.

The Saints played a terrific first half, but things came unglued in the second half. Siena was outscored 43-25 in the second half and shot just 27 percent (10-36) from the floor.

The Saints were led by freshman Maurice White, who scored 17 points, while junior Rob Poole added 15.

“It’s very encouraging," Poole said. If we come out in the second half like we did in the first half, we win that game.”

Here is a link to a photo gallery from photographer Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon/The Record

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Siena 37, UAlbany 31 (half)

ALBANY - A thrilling first half to the Albany Cup game.

The Siena fanbase was energized from the tip, from their Saints' performance and the exuberant Jimmy Patsos working the sidelines.

UAlbany fell behind by as many as 16, 32-16, but closed to within seven at intermission.

The Saints are led by Rob Poole, who scored 10, while Maurice White came off the bench to add nine. Siena shot 50 percent (13-26) in the first half and held the rebounding advantage, 21-13.

D.J. Evans and Anders Haas each had six points in the first half for the Great Danes.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

College Hoops Kickoff for UAlbany & Siena

We started running a lot of college basketball stories in Thursday's paper, as the season gets underway across the nation, and here at home, on Friday.

The University at Albany and Siena College meet in a men's/women's doubleheader in downtown Albany, which is the perfect way to kick off the year. The program will play for the Albany Cup, which is awarded to the winning team (although it stays at the arena downtown). The UAlbany men's team has won two of the past three years, while the UAlbany women have won in three straight seasons.

Below are links to stories.

Siena hoops: In Patsos, they trust

Javion Ogunyemi to start for Siena

Sam Rowley emerges as lead for UAlbany

No doubt Albany is college hoops town

There is also a story on the UAlbany women's team (middle page on left "UAlbany women's plan is to continue to win") that doesn't have a link above.

The season kicks off on Friday and we'll be there to follow it each step of the way.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FCS Top 25 - Nov. 4

We've reached November.

There are only three weeks left in the regular season. 

The University at Albany continues to struggle in its first season in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Great Danes led early, but fell 27-10 to Richmond, their seventh straight loss.

UAlbany is back home this weekend, when they host No.8 Maine (8-1) at Bob Ford Field, on Bob Ford bobblehead day. (I have Maine ranked No. 5 on my ballot -- the Black Bears only loss is to Northwestern)

Here is the latest The Sports Network FCS Top 25.

Below is my ballot. The number in the (xx) is if the team is different than where the team is in the actual poll.

1. North Dakota State
2. Eastern Illinois
3. Montana State (4)
4. Eastern Washington (3)
5. Maine (8)
6. Fordham (7)
7. Coastal Carolina (5)
8. Sam Houston State (6)
9. Bethune-Cookman (12)
10. Youngstown State (9)
Read more »

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Monday, November 4, 2013

UAlbany men receive Mid-Major Top 25 votes

Like their female counterparts, the University at Albany men's basketball team is receiving votes in the College Insider Mid-Major Top 25.

Both Great Danes' teams are the defending America East champions and both squads open the 2013-14 season against Siena on Friday.

Will Brown's team went 24-11 last season, losing to Duke in the NCAA tournament, round of 64, in Philadelphia.

Two other America East teams are receiving votes, in Stony Brook and Vermont. The Catamounts, who lost to UAlbany in the title game last year, were picked as the No. 1 team in the America East preseason poll. 

The women's team was ranked No. 22 in the opening poll and are two-time defending league champions. 

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