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Men’s Basketball Clinches Playoff Spot with 1 Win and 1 Loss in Final Home Games

By Vince Gasparini | March 4, 2024

The University at Albany men’s basketball team clinched a playoff spot in the America East tournament with a 91-67 win over the University of New Hampshire on Thursday night. The Great Danes’ defense held strong over the Wildcats, who shot 35.5% from the field and recorded 18 turnovers.

Aaron Reddish going up for a dunk on Thursday night.

Photo Credit: Savanna Stoddart / The ASP

“I thought it was a really good win for us,” UAlbany head coach Dwayne Killings said. “I thought our bench was great. I thought the kids really wanted the game. I thought they set the tone.”

The Great Danes finished the first half of the game with a slim 42-41 lead. In the second half, UAlbany’s defense stifled the Wildcats, holding them to just 26 points. New Hampshire shot 9-39 in the second half, going 0-11 from the 3-point line. Clarence Daniels, who leads the America East in points per game with 19.5, scored just eight points.

“I think it showed a little bit in terms of what we focus on [in practice],” Killings said. “We focus on defense.” The Great Danes allow 78.8 points per game, with only UMBC allowing more in conference at 80.6.

UAlbany’s offensive effort was led by Amar’e Marshall, who posted a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Marshall, whose 16.9 points per game ranks fifth in the America East, shot 11-15 from the field and 4-6 from beyond the arc.

“It’s crazy,” Marshall said of his statline, in particular his rebounds. “First time I got 14 rebounds so it felt good.”

Aaron Reddish tacked on an additional 20 points, and Sebastian Thomas put up 19. Thomas also led in assists and steals, with six and three, respectively.

“They knew what was at stake today,” Killings said. “And they know a lot of our fate is in a lot of ways controlled by us.” The head coach also said that he thinks the team has the ability to be a “dangerous team” due to their ability to score the ball, as they currently rank second in the America East in points per game with 78.9.

Two nights later on Saturday, the Great Danes fell to the University of Maine in an overtime thriller by a final score of 74-71 on their senior day. The Black Bears outscored UAlbany 10-7 in overtime, going 6-9 from the free throw line.

Senior Will Amica, and graduate students Tyler Bertram and Marcus Filien were honored before the game.

The Great Danes led 71-70 with 1:40 remaining in overtime, until two pairs of free throws by Maine’s Jaden Clayton and Quion Burns gave them the lead. In the final seconds of the period, Thomas made an attempt from beyond the arc, missing the shot that would’ve sent the two teams into another overtime period.

“It was open, but I rushed it,” Thomas said. “I originally wanted to get a shot for Tyler, considering he’s probably one of our best shooters. He gave it back to me, I didn’t know there was three seconds left, so I kind of just rushed it, and that was it.”

Thomas’ 21 points led the way for the Great Danes, and was backed by a 20 points and eight rebounds performance from Reddish.

“The message I said to our team is, ‘Listen, we’ve gotten better in this last stretch. Our only focus is – and maybe some people think we can and maybe some people don’t think that we can – is to win this conference tournament,’” Killings said.

“It’s a loss, but I think we're more hurt for our seniors more than anything,” Thomas said. “We just wanted to send them off the right way, but we didn’t get a chance to do so.”

With their loss against the Black Bears, UAlbany will now either assume the seventh or eighth seed in the America East playoffs. Now standing at 13-17 overall and 5-10 in conference play, they face Bryant on the road in their final game of the regular season on Tuesday night.


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