“I thought we lost that game in the first half. We didnt make shots and we settled. We are not built to shoot 20 threes in a half”
The story line going into Thursdays game was UMBC was coming into town on a three game winning streak, looking it make it four. Not only was their winning streak at stake but also they are fighting for positioning leading up to the American East tournament, even though they have an overall 12-14 record,they are 5-6 in the conference and can get to .500 and hopefully closer to one of the top four sports in the conference. UAlbany is coming off a victory over the Maine Black Bears, which strengthen thier conference record to 7-4 and put them in third place in the standings. From the outside looking in this was a game that UAlbany should win, but like every other other sport, when your in conference play,the games you should win, seem to always be the hardest.
As the game begin, UMBC came out firing and focused, as they started off on a 7-0 run before, UAlbany main players got going. They did not score a point until the 12:45 mark of the first half, when Healy hit afoul shot. Eventually UMBC hot start led to an 18-6 lead, with the charge being led by Spasojevic. UAlbany would finally get something going, by hitting two three pointers in a row and cutting a 14 point lead to 8, forcing UMBC to call a timeout, with Clark leading the charge with 5. After that threat, it seemed like, that was their best charge for the whole game. By halftime UMBC had built a 13 point lead(35-22), they had held DeSousa and Hutcheson scoreless, Healy to only three points and UAlbany was only shooting 27% overall.
It did not get any better in the second half as UMBC built leads of 16 and 21 points, they dominated in the paint where they scored 46 of their 69 points, the guard KJ Jackson finished with 21. For most of the second half UAlbany could not get anything going, they could not stop UMBC offensively and they could not get anything going offensively. They only shot 31% in the second half and only had two scorers in double figures, when the game ended. UMBC coach Ryna Odom took the humble route after the game stating that “We caught UAlbany on a good day, that was not UAlbany best game and games like that happens sometimes” . With this win, they are now trailing Hartford one game for the fourth spot in the conference, with their next opponent being Vermont in the Cats arena, where they have defeated them before. Albany on the other hand even though with Hartford losing to their next opponent New Hampshire, is in third place, but also could slip again if they lose Saturdays game. These next few games decide on whether UAlbany will be hosting two or one playoff conference games after the season, We will see stay tuned!
Image Source: UAlbany