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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Rivalry Renewed: UAlbany and Siena Face Off in Albany Cup Men’s Basketball Game

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ALBANY — Get ready, hoops fans, because the Albany Cup men’s basketball matchup is ⁣back and ready to bring the rivalry to a whole new level.

This ‍year, it’s the UAlbany Great Danes who are coming into the game with more experience than their opponents, the Siena Saints. But the Great ‍Danes aren’t just⁤ banking on experience to bring them victory. They want to⁣ use it to their advantage, just like the Saints did last year when they mounted a comeback⁢ for the ages.

In that game, UAlbany had a commanding 16-point lead in the second half, ⁢but the seasoned Siena players rallied together ​and dominated the rest‍ of the game, eventually ⁣winning by double digits.

One player who played a small role in that 2022 contest was UAlbany guard Marcus Jackson. Now a sophomore starter for the Great Danes, the Amsterdam native and‌ Albany Academy graduate remembers what went wrong for‍ his team that day.

“We let our age and immaturity ⁣get in​ the way,” Jackson said, ​looking ‍back on last year’s game. “Siena had a veteran group ⁣of‌ guys and⁤ it showed. But this year, ‍I’m ⁢making it ⁤a goal to ⁤stay focused and keep us poised as‍ a team.”

Sophomore ​starter Jonathan Beagle agrees that⁣ the team ⁤was​ too emotional in last year’s ‌matchup.

“We were a young group and we let our emotions get the best of us,” Beagle admitted. “As a freshman, I wasn’t‌ poised at all. I was riding on ⁢high emotions and assumed we ‍were going to win.”

While Siena‍ (1-4) may have a young team this year, UAlbany (2-3) is​ no longer in‍ the same boat. ⁤Head coach Dwayne Killings has relied on freshmen ​for ⁤only 25 minutes so far​ this ‌season. Siena, on the other‍ hand, ⁢has had to rely on its ⁢young players more due‌ to⁣ injuries. ⁣According to kenpom.com, Siena has the second-least Division I ‌experience⁢ for its lineups‌ this season.

The Saints may have the opportunity ⁤to bring ​back some key⁣ players this weekend, as both starting⁣ guards Michael Eley (ankle) and Zek Tekin (concussion) could make their⁢ return ‍to ⁣the lineup. Tekin has‍ missed the ⁣last two games,⁣ while​ Eley has been out⁤ since the​ season opener, where he put up an impressive 24 points and 11 rebounds. Without Eley and Tekin, Siena’s freshmen class had to step up during‍ the team’s recent 0-2‍ trip to Florida.

“Obviously, we’re not happy with the results, but ‌I’m pleasantly surprised with the progress ‌our ⁢young team has made,” said Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello.

The Albany Cup has a storied ‍history, with⁤ Siena leading the series 11-7. The ⁣two teams renewed their ​rivalry last year after not facing each other for several years.

Maciariello has ⁣urged ‌his team to treat the ‍game like any other,⁤ while ‌Killings ‌believes their inability to do the same last year cost them the‍ game.

“We need to‍ stay neutral and manage ⁣our emotions,” said Killings. “As a young team, we let our emotions⁤ get the⁤ best of us, but we learned from that experience.”

rnrn

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Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan
Jack Sullivan, an informed and passionate sports reporter, is a former college athlete with a degree in Sports Communication from Ithaca College. Go Bombers!
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