Monday, December 30, 2013

Quick Reaction: Siena runs past Fordham

ALBANY - For about six minutes on Monday evening, the Siena men's basketball team played about as well as it possibly can.

The Saints went on a 22-0 run to turn a 13-point deficit into a lead they wouldn't surrender, eventually knocking off Fordham 79-69, in front of 6,131 fans in downtown Albany.

“It was a pretty big win," said junior Evan Hymes, who finished with 12 points and three assists, off the bench. 

What it means: Siena doesn't have the best record, but the team has picked up some nice victories, beating two Atlantic 10 teams (Fordham, St. Bonaventure) and knocking off Hofstra here last week.

This team was picked 10th in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference poll, but if they play like they have been over the past few weeks, they will almost certainly finish higher in the standings.

Player of the game: Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said it was Hymes' emotion that got the team over the top, but fellow junior Rob Poole was awesome. He scored 20 of the team's first 40 points and finished with a career-high 28. Poole also chipped in six rebounds and helped guard the terrific guards Fordham has. Poole has elevated his game at both ends of the floor and is playing like an all-conference play.

Play of the game: Trailing 53-40, the Saints went on a 22-0 run that spanned 6:35. Siena went into a zone defense and the crowd helped spur them on offensively. The Rams couldn't score and the Saints couldn't be stopped.

“Without the fans, we wouldn’t have been as pumped up," said Poole.

Up next: Siena only has a few days off before their first game in 2014, at Monmouth, on Thursday. From here on out, it's all MAAC play for the Saints.

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Siena 79, Fordham 69

ALBANY - The Siena men's basketball team played its best half of the season in the second half on Monday night.

The Saints scored 52 points and erased a 13-point deficit to post a 79-69 victory over Fordham, in front of 6,131 fans in downtown Albany.

Siena (5-8) was led by junior Rob Poole, who scored a career-high 28 points, to lead four players in double figures.

The Rams (7-5) were led by Mandell Thomas, who scored 20 points.

After an abysmal shooting first half, the Saints finished 16-for-29 (55.2%) after intermission.

The Saints trailed 53-40, before going on a 22-0 run that gave them the lead for good.

Siena has now won two straight games and three of its last four. The Saints travel south to take on Monmouth, on Thursday.

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Fordham 34, Siena 27 (half)

ALBANY - To say Siena struggled to start Monday's game would be a strong understatement.

The Saints figured some things out and trail Fordham just 34-27 after the first half.

Siena got 12 points from Rob Poole, but not much else. The Saints shot just 8-for-28 (28.6%) for the half. 

The Rams didn't play much better, getting 11 points from Branden Frazier, who heated up late in the half.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Quick Reaction: Siena beats Hofstra

ALBANY - Siena's young players keep maturing right before our eyes.

The Saints have been in a number of close games and yet they haven't really played like inexperienced players.

Siena used a balanced effort to get past Hofstra, 67-59, on Friday evening. The Saints are now 3-3, in games decided by eight points or less (two of the losses came to Purdue).

What it means:  The Saints have proved they are a better team at home, with a 2-1 record, and having won their past two games. That should bode well for this team, which plays four of its next five on the road, including three MAAC games.

Siena got a lot of balance in this game, having four players in double figures and Marquis Wright adding eight. If they can get that kind of balance, they will be a tough team to defend, come the return of conference play.

Player of the game: Rob Poole didn't have a terrific game offensively, but he finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. In addition, he guarded Hofstra's top player Zeke Upshaw, who had a miserable game, going 2-for-17 from the field and finishing with just seven points.

Play of the game: After Dion Nesmith drained a 3-pointer to cut Siena's lead to 53-51, Wright got an open look at calmly drained a 3-pointer to put the Saints back five. Wright was just 2-for-10 from beyond the arc coming into the game, but didn't hesitate to let it fly.

On that play, Patsos moved Evan Hymes to the point guard position and that allowed Wright to find himself open.

Injury Update: Freshman Javion Ogunyemi played for the first time in a month, after suffering an ankle injury in the St. Bonaventure game. While he finished with zero points (0-3 shooting), he played 12 minutes and had two rebounds.

“I just have to work on my conditioning and my game will get back to where it needs to be," he said.

Up next: The Saints are off for a week before they host Fordham, in the final non-conference game of the year.

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Siena 67, Hofstra 59

ALBANY - The Siena men's basketball team closed out another game on Friday evening.

The Saints held the lead throughout the second half, despite Hofstra constantly coming closer and closer, to post a 67-59 victory.

Maurice White, Lavon Long and Rob Poole all scored 14 points for the Saints (4-8).

The Pride (3-7) were led by Jamall Robinson, who scored a career-high 16.

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Siena 28, Hofstra 23 (half)

ALBANY - The Siena men's basketball team played well for about 15 minutes, but finished very sloppy.

The Saints led by as many as 13, but lead Hofstra by just five, 28-23, at intermission.

Siena was led by freshmen Lavon Long and Maurice White. Long had 10 points, while White scored eight and grabbed eight rebounds, already a career-high.

The Pride started the half shooting very poorly from the field, but were led by Chris Jenkins, who scored eight points off the bench in the first half.

Troy High grad Javion Ogunyemi played his first action since the last home game, Nov. 19 against St. Bonaventure. Ogunyemi played seven minutes and missed all three shots he took.

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Quick Reaction: UAlbany's balance beats Yale

ALBANY - The University at Albany used its most balanced effort on Friday evening, to take down Yale, 70-62, at SEFCU Arena.

The Great Danes had three guys in double figures, led by DJ Evans, who scored 14. Nine different players scored for UAlbany, including Dallas Ennema, who scored his first points in his first career game action.

What it means: UAlbany is now 2-2 at home and 5-0 this season, when scoring 70 or more points in a game. It also means the Great Danes won't suffer any sort extended losing streak, heading into conference play, with just non-league games left.

Yale is another good team and UAlbany didn't play its best and still led by 10, with as little at 2:17 to play.

This was a good, solid victory.

Player of the game: Luke Devlin has dealt with more injuries that I even remember and yet the senior played his best game of the season. Constantly moving, even when he was out of the game, Devlin scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.

An all-rookie guy as a freshman, Devlin has been plagued by injuries and it was nice to see him put out a nice performance.

Play of the game: The Great Danes made their free throws down the stretch. In fact, UAlbany's last 10 points came from the free throw line, as they hung on, despite a ferocious press from Yale in the late stages. John Puk also did a great job receiving the inbounds and then making some foul shots, finishing with 13 points, one shy of his career-high.

Injury Update:  Levan Shengelia gutted it out for two minutes, scoring two points and grabbing a rebound. On the rebound though, he reinjured his right shoulder. Coach Will Brown said Shengelia felt a sharp pain and that's what Brown elected not to put him back in the game. That shoulder will have to have surgery, it's just a matter of when.

Up next: The Great Danes head out of town tomorrow and take on Drake on Monday evening. The game is a homecoming of sorts for Ennema and Puk, who are both from Iowa. 

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UAlbany 70, Yale 62

ALBANY - The University at Albany got a lot of different contributions on Friday evening and it led to a nice home victory.

The Great Danes are now 5-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season and are 2-2 at home.

Luke Devlin played tremendously, scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. John Puk (13 points) and Dallas Ennema (8 points).

The Bulldogs were led by Javier Duren, who scored a game-high 26 points.

UAlbany heads out of town tomorrow and faces Drake on Monday.

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UAlbany 25, Yale 22 (half)

ALBANY - There wasn't much offense in the final home game for the University at Albany in 2013.

The Great Danes led by as many as nine points, but lead by just three, 25-22, at halftime against Yale.

UAlbany couldn't get to the free throw line, even though they tried, as Yale was called for just three fouls in the first half.

Coach Will Brown used his bench more than he has recently, playing Levan Shengelia, Luke Devlin and Dallas Ennema, who saw the first playing time of his career.

John Puk led the way with six points for the Great Danes.

The Bulldogs had shooting concerns of their own, as the were just 7-for-31 (22.6%) from the field. Javier Duren has 10 points to lead Yale at the break.

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No. 2 Duke too much for UAlbany

The University at Albany women's basketball team held its own in the first half of Thursday's game at No. 2 Duke.

In face, sophomore Shereesha Richards proved she could play right with the Blue Devils, posting 20 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

In the second half, Duke proved why they are the No. 2 ranked team, coasting away to an 80-51 victory.  

Description of . Albany's Shereesha Richards (25) looks to pass as Duke's Haley Peters defends at right during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. Duke won 80-51. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) 

The UAlbany men's team takes on Yale on Friday evening, at SEFCU Arena.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quick Reaction: Colgate shoots past UAlbany

ALBANY - The UAlbany players and coaches knew what Colgate was going to do on Saturday evening. They just couldn't stop them.

The Raiders knocked down 13 3-pointers, leaving the Capital District with a 69-60 victory. Colgate shot 13-for-28 (46.4%) from beyond the arc and got treys from six different players.

What it means: UAlbany better not run into too many more good shooting teams. In their last two home games, they've allowed 27 3-pointers -- way to many.

It also means that this team hasn't quite figured everything out. They didn't score a lot and they didn't get to the free throw line nearly as much as they did against Brown, just four days ago. 

Player of the game: Murphy Burnatowski knows UAlbany from his Maine days and he made the Great Danes pay. While Austin Tillotson was the team's leading scorer, it was Burnatowski who hit five 3-pointers and led the way with 19 points.

UAlbany player of the game: Sam Rowley incredibly airballed a free throw, something coach Will Brown said he had never see the junior do, even in practice. But still Rowley put up good numbers, scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. He wasn't his best, but he was still the reason the Great Danes had a chance at the end.

Play of the game:
More than one play. Colgate hit four consecutive three's late in the game, to turn a 54-52 lead into a 66-56 advantage. Triples from Tillotson, Burnatowski, Damon Sherman-Newsome and Tillotson again put the game out of reach.

Injury update: UAlbany lost more than a game on Saturday evening. Coach Brown said that Levan Shengelia had dislocated his shoulder on Thursday, resulting in a torn labrum. He may be able to play through the pain, but also may end up being shut down. Also, Luke Devlin's back is so bad that he basically can only play one shift in the first half and that's it. Finally, Anthony Odunsi still has yet to be cleared to play, after suffering a concussion in practice. He may also be shut down for the year, if he can't get cleared to play relatively soon. 

Up next: The Great Danes are off until next Friday, when they host Yale at SEFCU Arena. The team is 1-2 this season at home and will have to start some steam, as conference play grows near.

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Colgate 69, UAlbany 60

ALBANY - For the second straight home game, the University at Albany allowed a team to make 3-pointers at will.

Colgate knocked down 13 3-pointers on the way to a 69-60 victory at SEFCU Arena on Saturday evening.

The Raiders shot 13-28 (46.4%) from beyond the arc and were led by Murphy Burnatowski, who hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points.

Sam Rowley scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Great Danes, while Gary Johnson added 14 points, five rebounds and four assists.

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UAlbany 36, Colgate 34 (half)

ALBANY - Things didn't start great for UAlbany on Saturday evening. 

Colgate went up 10-0, and in the process Sam Rowley turned the ball over, after a timeout, by running the baseline, when he wasn't allowed to.

The Great Danes didn't look ready to play, but they emerged from the first 20 minutes with a 36-34 lead, in their first home games in three weeks.

The Raiders hit six 3-pointers, which is about the average for the team that makes the most three's in the country per game, They shot 6-for-14 (42.9%) from beyond the arc. 

Sam Rowley led the way for UAlbany, with 12 points, while DJ Evans added nine and Gary Johnson chipped in eight, including a big dunk, following a turnover.

Colgate was led by Maine transfer Murphy Burnatowski, who has 10 points in the first half. 

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Friday, December 13, 2013

UAlbany's Will Brown on a foul situation

ALBANY - Will Brown was exhausted following Tuesday's game against Brown.

He's usually a little tired following a game, but this game went nearly 2 and 1/2 hours.

"I felt like I coached a doubleheader," said Brown, following the 74-68 victory.

Description of . Mike McMahon - The Record, 2nd half  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
With good reason. His UAlbany team shot a whopping 46 free throws, making 35 (76%), while Brown shot 33 free throws, making 17 (51%).

There was a lot made in the preseason about the referees calling the game tighter, in order to allow for more offensive flow and more scoring, to make for a better game.

“I don’t think anything was wrong with the game, going into it," said Brown, candidly, following Friday's practice.

The NCAA was hoping the new rules would give an advantage to the offense, but it seems to have just slowed everything down, turning some games into a whistle-fest.

“From a fans perspective, they don’t want to see free throws," Brown said. "They want to see teams play. They want teams to see free flow.” 

The referees are also being graded on if they call games by the "new" rules, which is leading to some games having more fouls.

“Some of these calls, they make you scratch you head," Brown said. "It all comes down to, you better move your feet."

In the game against Brown, there were a couple charge calls that Coach Brown thought should go the other way.

“That was like last year’s rules, but everything else was this year’s new rules," he said. "It’s a guessing game, It really is. You just don’t know what’s going to happen from night to night.”

That Brown game was the first this season, for UAlbany, in which the game was really slowed to a standstill by fouls. If games continue to be like that, they might not be much fun for fans.

“If every game is like the other night, it might not be fun to watch," said Brown.

One positive was the play off the bench from Levan Shengelia and Michael Rowley, who got into the game, primarily because of all the foul trouble.

“You have to make sure you have bench guys who are ready to play and you better be ready to make your free throws," said Brown.

However, having games were starters are routinely in foul trouble means fans will be seeing more and more bench players.

“In my opinion, coaching through that Brown game, what it does now is how good are your seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth men," Brown said. "At our level, it’s hard enough to get a good starting five.”

The problem may even get worse, as conference play arrives and teams know each other better, usually leading to more physical, grind-it-out games.

“I think it’s going to get worse when you get into conference play because teams know each other even more," Brown said. "So in my opinion, it’s going to become more physical."

The rules aren't changing any time soon, but Brown suggested if the shot clock was lowered or the lane was widened, that would create more possessions and in turn, more offense.

The NCAA released a report on Thursday, stating that scoring was up and turnovers were down, meaning the game was better. 

Brown grew up watching the "Bad Boys" in Detroit, the physical Boston Celtics teams and Karl Malone, who would play physical. He likes that style of game, but knows his teams must adjust.

“We have to adjust because if we don’t adjust, we’re going to lose games because of it," he said. 

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VIDEO: Peter Hooley talks Colgate game

University at Albany sophomore guard Peter Hooley talks in advance of the game against Colgate.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tommy Kahnle goes to Rockies in Rule 5 Draft

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. >> Tommy Kahnle hasn’t thrown a pitch in a regular -season game, but it’s likely not far off after Thursday.

J.S. Carras/The Record
The Shaker High grad was selected in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft by the Colorado Rockies at the end of the Winter Meetings.

The right-hander was left unprotected by the New York Yankees, but now must stay on the 25-man roster throughout the 2014 season with Colorado, or he will be offered back to New York.

Kahnle (seen working out at AllStars Academy in Latham, in January), 24, pitched this past season at Double-A Trenton, finishing with 15 saves and striking out 74 in 60 innings pitched. He did walk 46 batters, but held opponents to a .182 batting average.

The Rockies paid $50,000 to make the selection.

“We’ve had interest in him for a couple of years now in various means of acquisition,” Colorado’s director of professional scouting, Jon Weil, said in a statement. “Any time you can jump on a guy who has a chance to have impact, we’re wanting to do that. We’re glad he was there.”

Kahnle, who was a fifth round pick of the Yankees in 2010 from Lynn University, has posted an 11.82 strikeouts-per-nine-inning rate since the start of the 2011 season. His fastball has been clocked in the high-90s and now the Rockies will just have to harness that power and work on his control.

Kahnle was ranked No. 20 among Yankees prospects by, entering 2013 season. He was with the Yankees at spring training last year, but the 6-foot-1, 230-pound hurler spent the season as Trenton’s closer.

Kahnle was one of just nine players selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 draft, with 45 players being taken overall.

The Yankees also lost pitchers Felipe Gonzalez, Kelvin Castro and Mikey O’Brien and outfielder Ravel Santana. O’Brien (Cincinnati), Gonzalez (Pittsburgh) and Santana (Houston) were chosen in the Triple-A portion, while Castro was taken in the Double-A phase by Miami.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TU Center to host NCAA events in 2015, 2016

The NCAA announced a number of sites for future championships on Wednesday.

The Times Union Center in Albany was selected to host the 2015 Division I Women's Basketball Regional and the 2016 Division I Men's Hockey first round.

"We're going to put on two excellent events for local fans in men's hockey and women's basketball," Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber told The Record.

Belber announced in August that the arena would be bidding for these events

The arena announced back in May that the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament is returning to Albany in 2015.

The women's tournament will be the first NCAA event in women's basketball to be played in Albany and will be hosted by the MAAC and Siena.

"The 2015 NCAA Women's Basketball Regional is a landmark sporting event for the Capital Region," said Siena College director of athletics John D'Argenio, in a release. "The bid process was more competitive than ever. The NCAA selected Times Union Center because of the great fans in the area, and first class job Siena, the Arena and MAAC have done hosting NCAA Championships in the past. I know Siena basketball fans will enjoy seeing NCAA Tournament basketball played in Albany on our home court." 

The event should be a big one, as the team to emerge from Albany, will be headed to the Final Four.

Full lists of the sites selected for NCAA competitions can be found here

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gattuso tied to Albany area through Vellano's

ALBANY - Before Greg Gattuso even took the head coaching job at the University at Albany, he had ties to the Capital District.

Gattuso coached Rexford native Joe Vellano, currently a member of the New England Patriots, at the University of Maryland.

“We talk pretty regularly," said Gattuso, who introduced as the successor to Bob Ford, on Wednesday.

Vellano even called his former defensive line coach recently to talk about schemes that the Patriots are using and how he could be more effective in them. 

“What a great kid," Gattuso said of Vellano, who was The Record's 2006 Defensive Player of the Year, when he helped lead Christian Brothers Academy to the Section II Class AA Super Bowl.

Vellano has always been trying to get the advantage and outwork the opponents. On Maryland's tip sheet, Gattuso even wrote in big red letters, "Do not bother Coach Stewart during the game." They called it the Vellano Rule.

Coach Stewart was Defensive Coordinator Brian Stewart and Vellano would try to get his ear about different ways to attack the offense.

Joe Vellano's name is on the facing below Byrd Stadium's upper deck at Maryland, a place where all of the All-Americans are recognized. So is his father, Paul Vellano Sr. According to Maryland, they are the first father-son All-America combo at the same school in ACC history and one of just four known in FBS history (Florida - Lee and Travis McGriff, Georgia - Kevin and Drew Butler, Old Miss - Archie and Eli Manning).

“What a joy," Gattuso said about the entire family.  

Drew Smith, who played at UAlbany and was on the search committee contacted both Vellano and Albany's Dion Lewis, who played for Gattuso at Pitt, as he became one of the five finalists to next lead the Great Danes.

“Vellano couldn’t stop talking about him," said Smith.

Vellano has 47 tackles and one sack for the Patriots this season. When his playing days are over, whenever that may be, he could have a job waiting for him -- maybe even at UAlbany. 

“Joe sees everything," Gattuso said. "Some day when he wants to get into coaching, I’ll be the first one in line."


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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Breaking: Greg Gattuso next UAlbany coach

ALBANY >> The University at Albany has apparently found the successor to legendary coach Bob Ford.

The University will announce on Monday that Maryland assistant head coach Greg Gattuso will be named the next head coach of the Great Danes.

Gattuso, who spent the past three seasons on Randy Edsall’s staff with the Terrapins, will be formally introduced as UAlbany’s coach on Tuesday.

Reports of Gattuso’s hiring were made early on Saturday and it was confirmed by multiple sources to The Record, later in the afternoon.

Gattuso was promoted to assistant head coach at Maryland in February 2012, having first worked exclusively as the defensive line coach. A member of the 1982 national championship Penn State squad, Gattuso also worked as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh (2005-10) and the head coach at Duquesne (1993-2004). 

Gattuso emerged from a group of five that included former UAlbany assistant Pete Rossomando, former Delaware coach K.C. Keeler, Holy Cross assistant Antoine Smith and current UAlbany associate head coach Ryan McCarthy.

Ford announced in August that this would be his 44th and final year as coach of the Great Danes. UAlbany finished 1-11 in 2013, in their first season in the Colonial Athletic Association. Ford retired as the winningest active coach in Division I college football, with a final record of 265-190-1.

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Report: Maryland's Gattuso hired by UAlbany

The Washington Post is reporting that Maryland assistant head coach Greg Gattuso has taken the UAlbany football job.

Gattuso has been at Maryland for three years, before that working at Pitt, and as a head coach at Duquesne for 12 years.

Of course, I'm working on getting this confirmed.

Previously, it was reported that former Delaware coach K.C. Keeler had taken the job and that ended up being a premature report.

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Siena opens MAAC play by beating Niagara

Siena opened Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play with a resounding 84-71 road victory over Niagara on Friday evening.

Here is the game story, from our stringer who was at the Gallagher Center.

The Buffalo News looks at how the Saints held the nation's leading scorer, Antoine Mason, who came in averaging 30 points per game, to just 18. 

Here is the school's release, with postgame video from coach Jimmy Patsos.

The Saints remain in western New York, to take on Canisius on Sunday, at 2 p.m.   

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Siena opens MAAC play in western New York

The Siena men's basketball team and new coach Jimmy Patsos kick off Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play on Friday evening, with a game against Niagara.

This is the last conference opponent the Saints faced, losing to the Purple Eagles, 74-62, in the 2013 MAAC quarterfinals, in Springfield, Mass. That game was the final game in O.D. Anosike's career. It also marked the final game for coach Mitch Buonaguo, who was fired, three days later.

Nine months later, life springs etnernal for this (mostly) new bunch of Saints, as they head out to western New York to meet Niagara and Canisius.

Siena will be up against the two top scorers in the MAAC, and the leading scorer in the country, in Niagara's Antoine Mason (30.0 ppg), the son of former NBA player Anthony Mason

The Saints haven't won at Niagara's Gallagher Center since the 2007-08 season, which was the last year they swept this difficult road trip.

Tonight's game will be broadcast across the state of New York, on Time Warner Cable Sports.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jeff Hoffman listed No. 2 for 2014 MLB Draft

Shaker grad Jeff Hoffman has made it quite clear that he will play professional baseball.

In his junior season at East Carolina University, Hoffman has gone from good to great. The past two years he has starred in the Cape Cod summer league and his fastball sits in the mid-90s.

On Wednesday, Hoffman was listed as the No. 2 prospect before the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

The MLB Draft takes place on Thursday, June 5. The typical format would have to first two rounds take place on the first day, so Hoffman will likely be off the board before the weekend comes. Rounds 3-10 are on Friday and the remaining 30 rounds take place on Saturday.

 Here is a look at a mock draft, where Hoffman is take second by the Miami Marlins. 

Here is a story I wrote about Hoffman, in May, when he was pitching during his sophomore season with the Pirates. 

Below is what is saying about the right-hander, who was named The Record's Player of the Year, in 2011, when he helped Shaker reach the New York State Class AA title game.

Jeff Hoffman
Rank: 2
East Carolina, Junior
Height: 6'4", Weight: 185
Position: RHP
DOB: 1/8/1993
Bats: R, Throws: R
Twitter: @hoff_23
Prev. drafted: Never
Scouting Grades* (future): Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 65 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 60 | Overall: 70 Hoffman went undrafted as a senior at an upstate New York high school in 2011, but he drew six-figure free-agent offers from pro teams after starring that August at the Connie Mack World Series in Farmington, N.M. He stamped himself as a potential 2014 first-rounder when he hit 95 mph during the 2012 Cape Cod League All-Star Game, and reaffirmed that status with another strong performance in the Cape this summer.
Hoffman hasn't fully grown into his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, yet he already works in the mid-90s and hits 98 mph with his fastball. His big-breaking curveball can be equally devastating, and while his changeup lacks consistency, it can be a plus pitch at times. He throws a decent amount of strikes but will need to refine his command to become a frontline starter in the big leagues.
If anyone will dethrone North Carolina State left-hander Carlos Rodon as the No. 1 overall choice in the 2014 Draft, it likely will be Hoffman.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Purdue loss hits hard for rebuilding Saints

LOUDONVILLE -  The mood in the locker room was one of despair and dejection.

The Siena players sat somewhat in disbelief, not that they had lost to Purdue for the second time in eight days, but how it had happened.

The Saints led the Boilermakers by 16 points in the second half and watched it all slip away, as Purdue scored the game's final nine points to post a 68-63 victory at the Old Spice Classic.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but the Saints were hurting.

Lavon Long and Rob Poole had fouled out before the final media timeout. Brett Bisping and Evan Hymes each had shots late to keep the Saints' lead in tact.

"I was definitely disappointed -- we all were -- because it was definitely a winnable game," said Hymes.

Coach Jimmy Patsos was okay with the loss hurting because he wants the team to start

"That loss hurt," he said. "We could have beaten Purdue. We had a great opportunity to beat a Big Ten team."

Hymes, who matched for team-high honors with 17 points, took the loss especially hard, posting the following tweets not long after the loss and the 0-3 finish at the Old Spice.

On Tuesday, coach Jimmy Patsos said this team needs to work better as a "we" and think less about the "me."

"We have to be careful in thinking one player is going to take us out of the situation that's occurred the last few years," he said. "We're doing fine. Organizations win."

Patsos said he spoke with Hymes on Monday about how he likes that he's been solid since being removed from the starting lineup and is helping to lead the younger guys.

"I really respect Evan for handling coming off the bench well," said Patsos.

He also said that he didn't fault Hymes for trying to do something late in the game, even though he would have preferred Hymes didn't try to do it all himself. Patsos also said it certainly wasn't Hymes alone that lost the game.

"No he didn't," Patsos said. "He's trying hard. He made a shot (attempt) to put us ahead."

Patsos said that Athletic Director John D'Argenio told him to plan out the work and then start working the plan.

"No one guy's going to say 'We're back, we're Siena and I did it,'" Patsos said. "It's going to be a 'We did it' and it's going to be a 'We did it', in terms of this great school the 25 years of great tradition and this great community."

Hymes said he spoke with former Siena player Conner Fenlon, when the team was down in Florida. Fenlon was a part of the 2008 team that also lost three games at Olld Spice and was reminding Hymes that team went on to win the league championship.

"That just shows you the MAAC championship is where you want to be and you want to be playing your best coming into March," said Hymes.  

While the team is just 2-7, the Saints have shown flashes that they can make a run come conference time.

"We just have to keep playing hard and playing well together," said junior Rob Poole.

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Gary Johnson's return gives UAlbany a lift

ALBANY - Before Sunday's game against New Jersey Institute of Technology, Gary Johnson couldn't feel his foot.

The trainer had wrapped his rolled ankle so tightly that the senior couldn't feel anything.

Coach Will Brown told him that was a good thing, but Johnson who hasn't had to deal with too many injuries in his career was nervous, when he got out on the court.

After missing two games, due to an ankle sprain against Duquesne, Johnson didn't look nervous.

He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench, giving the Great Danes a lift.

"He was good," said Brown. 

Johnson got heavily into the mix at the end of last season and was a big reason why the team won the America East and advanced all the way to the NCAA tournament, so getting him back from injury was a big deal.

“It’s great to have him back," said sophomore Peter Hooley.

Johnson's length makes him one of the most versatile players on the team and his athleticism is near the top of the team.

“We’re a completely different team (with him)," Hooley said. "He’s our best perimeter defender and he’s a great slasher offensively."

Johnson's absence actually allowed fellow senior David Wiegmann to pick up more minutes and allowed some of the bench players to get more comfortable on the floor for UAlbany.

"I think having Gary out allowed David to get more comfortable out there," Brown said. "Now, having Gary back, I think we have some really good balance out there."

Johnson wasn't quite in terrific shape, having not had much practice time since injuring the ankle, but he still provided the team with some solid play.

"He made a bunch of plays for us, especially defensively," said Brown.

Johnson won't start on Wednesday against Holy Cross, again coming off the bench. Another injury update is that transfer Anthony Odunsi will be out for at least another week, after suffering a concussion in practice and missing the past two games.

UAlbany Athletics

One thing Brown isn't too thrilled about is rebounding. A statistic that is usually a staple of UAlbany teams since Brown has been at the helm has just been so-so this season.

The Great Danes are just plus-1.3 so far this season, something Brown would like to see improvement on.

"We have to rebound better," he said.

Even though UAlbany is over .500, the Great Danes haven't played a complete game yet this year, according to the players. The team has played 20 good minutes here and played 30 solid minutes against Rider last week. They have actually trailed, at halftime, in six of the seven games so far this season. 

“It is encouraging to know that we have these spurts where we play really good basketball, Hooley said. "And when we don’t have good spurts, we become good when we need to.”

Still, it's something Coach Brown acknowledged, earlier in the year, that will catch up with them eventually. 

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Monday, December 2, 2013

UAlbany's Peter Hooley is America East POW

Description of . Mike McMahon - The Record, 2nd half  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
University at Albany sophomore guard Peter Hooley has been on quite a scoring binge.

While his streak of 20-point games ended in Sunday's 66-55 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology, Hooley (left) was named America East Player of the Week, on Monday.

Hooley averaged 17.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists in two Great Danes victories last week.

He scored a career-high 24 points in the victory over Rider last Tuesday and ranks fourth in the conference in scoring (16.3 ppg). 

Hooley was an all-rookie selection last year and has taken his game to the next level, in his second season.

Hooley earned player of the week, while Vermont's Kurt Steidl was named the league's rookie of the week. 

Here is UAlbany's release.

Here is the America East release.

Here are the previous winners of the America East awards. 

Player of the Week
12/1 - Peter Hooley, UAlbany
11/25 - Jameel Warney, Stony Brook
11/18 - Jordan Reed, Binghamton & Chris Pelcher, New Hampshire
11/11 - Anthony Jackson, Stony Brook

Rookie of the Week
12/1 - Kurt Steidl, Vermont
11/25 - Magnus Richards, Binghamton
11/18 - Rodney Elliott, UMBC
11/11 - Nick Madray, Binghamton

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UAlbany road win, Siena winless at Old Spice

The Siena men's basketball team wrapped up an unsuccessful trip to the Old Spice Classic on

The Saints played well in spurts and would have felt good about coming home, had they closed the door against Purdue.

Siena led by 16 points in the second half, but the Boilermakers scored the game's final nine points, to post a 68-63 victory.

Here is postgame reaction from coach Jimmy Patsos, provided by the Siena athletic department.

It was the second time in eight days that the Boilermakers and Saints had met, with Purdue winning the two contests by a combined 13 points. 

The Saints lost to Memphis, Saint Joseph's and Purdue at the Old Spice and still have never won a game at this event.

In 2008, Fran McCaffery's eventual Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions, lost to Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Wichita State.

This year's bunch of Saints need to regroup quickly, as they open MAAC play on Friday, traveling to the Buffalo area to take on Niagara (Friday) and Canisius (Sunday).

On the other side of town, the University at Albany is back over .500, following Sunday afternoon's 66-55 victory over New Jersey Institute of Technology.

The win is the Great Danes' second victory this season over the Highlanders.

Senior guard DJ Evans led the way with 17 points, which is good since I wrote about him for Sunday's paper

UAlbany travels to Holy Cross on Wednesday evening.

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