Last time the Hartford Hawks and the Albany Great Danes met, the Danes scored an unusual, but much appreciated, 16 three pointers, sealing the deal with a 25 point win. Hartford wasn't about to let that happen again and held them to just two baskets from three point land.
With Hartford's leading scorer, Mark Nwakamma, back on the court, they've become a more dangerous team. Not just because he's arguably their best player, but because of the growth they went through while he was recovering. Without Nwakamma, other members of the team needed to step up and fill his shoes. When a team can overcome a huge loss like that and still carry on, it shows their true strength and talent.
"This was a big game for Hartford for a variety of reasons. One, the way we beat them up at our place... Two, they've lost a couple on the road, but I think they got better in those losses playing without Nwakamma." said Albany Coach Will Brown
They had three players in double figures, Taylor Dyson, Corban Wroe and Nwakamma, while two (Wes Cole and Evan Cooper) just missed the cut off with nine and eight respectively. Slowly they're becoming the more balanced team we've hoped for.
"Wroe's making shots for them now, which helps them tremendously because I think a lot of teams haven't guarded him in the past. I think when Nwakamma got hurt, Wroe started being more aggressive offensively and it makes Hartford a better team," said Coach Brown.
It was one of Hartford's better nights from beyond the arc, shooting 52.2% for the game. Dyson went four for five sharing a team high 14 points with Nwakamma. They're known as America East's three point team and with good reason. Almost every Hawk who steps onto the court can connect from beyond the arc. Five of the six players who tried for treys managed to connect.
"So many different guys are stepping up, their confidence level is growing." said Hartford Head Coach John Gallagher
As good as the Hawks were, they still have some work to do. The Great Danes made it to the free throw line 26 times compared to Hartford's 11.
Both teams have until Wednesday to iron out some of the kinks in their plays before hitting the road. Hartford travels north to face the Maine Black Bears, while Albany heads down south to UMBC.
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