What We Learned In Detroit

John Puk is right at home alongside the backcourt Triumvirate (UAlbany Athletics)

Everything We Thought About Mike Black Was Right: Point guard Mike Black opened up the offense, limited turnovers, broke the press and broke down defenders, shot the ball well and helped improve the overall defense. The rust is still there, but there is no doubt that Black is the axis of this team- everything grinds to a halt for the Great Danes without him.

Will Has His 5: Black, Logan, Ambrose, Devlin, Puk. After never settling on a starting lineup last season, Will Brown has a solidified and talented first unit.

The Bench is best seen, but not heard: Behind the first five, there are still a lot of question marks. Blake Metcalf had two nice games in Detroit, but he still needs to play better defense consistently. Watts and Iati have returned to their role of serviceable backup- but neither can be looked to to provide a boost off the bench. With his heroics against Detroit, Billy Allen reminded us that he has some game, but he hasn’t played his way back into the rotation. And Russell Moore, our defensive specialist, a gone from opening day starter to zero playing time. But hey, if we Albany can get by with a thin bench on back to back nights after a double overtime game, maybe it shouldn’t be a cause for worry.

The Triumvirate: Logan Aronhalt will be the man to take home the hardware; he gets the shots, the gaudy numbers and the glory.  People should start taking his candidacy for America East first team seriously, but anyone who was exposed either directly or indirectly to the debacles that were American, Georgia Tech or Iona games knows that the MVP of this team is Mike Black. That said, this team would have walked away from Detroit without a single win if not for the steady hand of Tim Ambrose. I’ll say that again so it can sink in, the steady hand of Tim Ambrose. 6 assists, one turnover versus Bowling Green. Here’s his statline versus Detroit: 7-10 FG, 8 boards, 6 assists,  2 steals, 18 points and only two turnovers. It was Tim who stemmed the tide and put a stop Niagara’s comeback bid in the last ten minutes of the game.  Now that Logan absorbs so many shots and Black is taking over ball-handling duties, we suddenly see the type of player Ambrose can be. Tim Ambrose bullying his way to the hoops is one of the most effective offensive weapons this team has and he used it multiple times to get the offense going when the shooters hit a dry spell. The success rate of his power moves vastly decrease when the opposing team does not know its coming every single time down the floor. These three all excel in different areas, but if they continue to pick each other up during the season, Albany will hang around in games. And if they’re all on at the same time, the Great Danes will be a very hard team to beat.

No More Hollow Men: This team has it. Call it toughness, guts, heart, gumption, whatever, this young UAlbany squad has its fair share of it. On back to back nights, they took “bend, don’t break” to the extreme, but somehow, they held on. Let’s hope this is a sign that the season will conclude with a bang instead of a whimper.

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~ by TheMidRangeGame on November 29, 2010.

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