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Gazette staff's Division I hoops
by Gazette staff

Division I hoops

A Daily Gazette sports blog
Our staff covers Siena and UAlbany

Danes need to GROWL

The 16th annual Big Purple Growl came at just the right time for the University at Albany men's basketball team.

The Great Danes (5-4, 16-7) are suffering through a three-game losing streak, their only losing string of the season. Fortunately, last-place Binghamton is the opponent, but the Great Danes, who have slipped from first to fourth place in a little more than a week, better play a lot better than they have in the last few games, or the Bearcats could pull the upset.

There should be another sellout crowd for this one. The winter homecoming game has sold out in five of the last seven games.

Hopefully, the UAlbany backcourt of Mike Black and Jacob Iati will return to form. Black has been in a severe shooting funk. Scoreless in his last game against Stony Brook, Black is only 9-for-57 from the floor over his last four game. Iati isn't much better. He's battling two Achilles tendon injuries and a sore back. He hasn't practiced since mid-December, and his poor conditioning has led to some poor shooting.

If the Great Danes hope to be competitive in the second half of the America East Conference season, they will need both Black and Iati to step up. Opposing defenses are crowding both of them and forcing the rest of the team to make shots.

Meanwhile, the UAlbany women keep rolling. They are 8-0 in the conference and 17-3 overall. With scorers like Ebone Henry and Lindsey Lowrie, and rebounders like Julie Forster, 6-8 Megan Craig and freshman Shereesha Richards, the defending league champions will be tough to beat.

We'll see if the Danes can pull a sweep in front of a huge home crowd. Tip-off for the women's game will be 5 p.m.

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