The Albany Great Danes are looking for another Championship season. The only way to get there is wins, even if they're nonconference wins. With worries about Peter Hooley's current shooting slump, whether or not Greg Stire would play in the game, and if they could keep their defense as good as their last game, the Danes had a lot of pressure on them. And the Quinnipiac Bobcats wasn't going to be an easy win.
The game itself was a back and forth banter between the two teams. It started with Ray Sanders and the layup that first put points on the board for either team. Quinnipiac's Samuel Dingba answered right back with a jumper of his own. Whenever Albany would get a few points ahead, Quinnipiac would come charging back to tie the game. And when the Bobcats took the lead, Albany was quick to keep that difference a small one.
Both teams shot a disappointing first half. Both only had one shot from beyond the arc the entire first half, though they were able to make two more a piece by the end of the game. You can argue that Albany's defense was pretty good, though not nearly the same level as in their dominant performance against Yale, but both teams were missing shots. The end of the first half Albany had a 23.1 shooting percentage. Quinnipiac wasn't much better at 30.8 percent.
What was able to keep Albany in the game, especially in the first half, was their free throws. I know Head Coach Will Brown is very adamant about free throws and it's helped them out a lot in the past. The Danes were able to capitalize on 19 points from 28 attempts from the free throw line. While the Bobcats shot a higher percentage, they only had seven shots and making five of them.
Hooley's performance is still in a slump. He scored five points throughout the game, one coming from a bit three in the first half, but the rest came from a goal tending call, so can you really even count that? What surprised me, and I noticed in some earlier games, is the brilliant performance by Mike Rowley. With his older brother Sam Rowley graduated, there was a giant hole in Albany's inside game. But he's stepped up and it's really prominent in his numbers. While he's not bringing in 20+ points a game (Albany tends to level out their scoring) he had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block to only 1 turnover and 2 personal fouls. For a junior getting major minutes for the first time, he's going to be one hell of a problem for Albany opponents.
After missing Sunday's game due to injury, Greig Stire was back on the court and ready to play. While he only made six points, he had nine rebounds. Both Ray Sanders and Evan Singletary put on another solid performance coming in with 12 points and 10 points respectively. Joe Cremo, the standout freshman, brought in 11 points and six rebounds.
The Great Danes won't be traveling too far, as they set course to battle Holy Cross on Saturday.