If someone told me that during this Albany-Hartford game one team would go 16-23 from beyond the arch, I would hands down believe it was Hartford. The Hawks have been slowly making a name for themselves as a dangerous 3-point shooting team, while Albany averages about three made threes per game.
So it should be no surprise that everyone was shocked at Albany's performance on Saturday night that led to an 81-56 win. For a team that tends to get most of their points in the paint, no one was expecting the explosion that happened on the perimeter led by Peter Hooley (6-for-9) and DJ Evans (6-for-8). It seemed every time they got in 3-point range and shot the ball, it went in.
Hartford coach John Gallagher blamed himself for the loss in this very unorthodox game,
"This loss is on coach John Gallagher," he said. His strategy was to keep Albany out of the paint, but once those threes started falling, it became viral throughout the Albany bench.
"Their shooting's contagious. When it rains it pours," said Albany coach Will Brown
Gallagher has nothing but respect for the Great Danes and Brown: "If they do this every night, they'll be the best team in the America East," he said.
This game meant a lot more to the Danes than just starting off conference play 1-0.
"This was a game, from a coaching perspective, I felt we had to win... We have to send a message that nobody's coming in here and beating us so when conference tournament rolls around people don't want to play us and don't want to see us on their side of the bracket," Brown said.
Hartford did cut the deficit down to nine by halftime, giving the Hawks hope they could squeeze a win out of this rough game, but with 12 minutes remaining, the next six shots the Danes threw in were threes, giving them a 25-point lead that Hartford knew there was no chance at coming back from.
Albany has five days to rest before their next game against UMBC while Hartford deviates from conference play to have one more nonconference match up against Dartmouth on Jan. 7.