Game #9-115: Albany at South Carolina State BulldogsNovember 20, 2012 7:30 pm
SHM Memorial Center
My initial plan for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving was to see Coastal Carolina play Johnson & Wales. That game was already going to be covered on here by Matt Cayuela
, a Coastal season ticket holder. Looking at the lineup for games on November 20, this was a selection that did not quite make sense. There was a game an hour away at SC State who was playing Jacksonville, and another 90 minutes away at Charleston Southern who was playing East Tennessee State. Coastal Carolina can be close to a two hour drive depending on traffic conditions on the rural two-lane highways going into Conway. So why go further to see Coastal beat up on a USCAA team? The reason I had picked this game was because I wanted to see Coastal Carolina's new HTC Center in use for basketball for the first time (I have been to the HTC Center already for volleyball). Another reason was that the Coastal women were also playing that evening in another guarantee game, and that would be another game for basketball season total game count at all levels.
But on Monday, I casually decided to glance at SC State's website. Before I reached the main page, I got one of those banner ads that are typically annoying and have become way too prevalent on the homepages of college athletic department websites. But this one caught my eye. In a Happy Thanksgiving advertisement with the basic game info for their Tuesday game, there were two words at the bottom in big blue letters that grabbed me: "FREE ADMISSION".
Really, free admission for a regular season game! That was an amazing promotion too good to not pass up! I would drive half as many miles as I would to go to Coastal and spend 12 dollars less on a ticket. And after the Charleston Classic, I needed to save money going into the holidays. So it just made sense to go to this game in Orangeburg. Plus, I would get to see an America East team of moderate-level mid-major quality in Albany. It's not typical you get to take an up close look at an America East team while living in South Carolina. In addition, the Great Danes have Jacob Iati, a fifth year senior who spent his first year at High Point. Iati played at High Point in the year after I graduated from HPU, but he was there at the same time that some of friends still in school were. So this game made the most sense for a number of reasons.
The cheaper cost and higher quality level of basketball was more logical since I still plan on visiting the HTC Center fairly soon anyways. And getting a women's basketball game to go with it would be just an extra game, and not a very good one at that. So I made my way to Orangeburg after dinner. The main reason that this game was free is that Tuesday is the last day of classes before Thanksgiving, so nearly all SC State students had headed home. There were still a few students there who were either from Orangeburg or could not head home, such as the players on the tennis team who are mostly from Eastern Europe. But without a good promotion, the Orangeburg community does not do a good job supporting the Bulldog basketball team. SCSU is a football school where the support for basketball comes mostly from the largely absent residential students on campus. So SCSU needed all the fans they could get for this game. And for the most part, there still weren't many fans even with the price. SC State did not record an official attendance for this game like they typically do, but I estimated that there was at the very most 500 people at the SHM Memorial Center.
SC State does not normally charge much for basketball normally though, with general admission tickets costing seven dollars for their other games. But regardless, getting a free ticket is great. And it enabled me to not have to worry about spending too much for snacks either. For just five dollars, I got a soda in addition to the concession stand's signature item, the Supreme Nachos. While you do not have to worry about the price when buying it tonight, you do have to worry about your health when eating it. I felt like Morgan Spurlock in Super Size Me
when trying to finish this very high cholesterol item.
The basketball game itself was interesting, mostly from my standpoint bas a High Point fan of getting to watch Jacob Iati play. In his season at High Point, Iati was not used much despite his ability to score from the point guard position. In his last year in college, Iati has finally cracked a mid-major starting lineup, where he has been the second leading scorer for the Great Danes this season.
Iati shot the ball fairly well this game, scoring 14 points. But it was not Iati who was the source of most of SC State's problems this night. Leading scorer Mike Black came out firing right away, hitting several early three pointers to give Albany a 24-10 lead seven minutes into the game. There was little that the undersized Bulldog backcourt could do to stop Albany from lighting up the scoreboard. Albany had 45 points on their first 29 possessions of the game to take a 20 point halftime lead. The Great Danes had pulled off a RLU earlier this season at Washington, and a MEAC team would not be able to slow them down tonight. While Black slowed down late, Jayson Guerrier would pick his shooting up in the second half to keep the game lopsided. And Iati of course made his contributions as well to help give Albany a dominating 83-55 road win. Winning at a team that went 5-26 the year before may not sound like much, but Albany won this game through their own great play rather than winning because of mistakes from their opponent. And based on Albany's results so far, they could be a contender in the hockey-centric America East.
The game was still more competitive than the one at Coastal, where the Chanticleers slaughtered their USCAA opponent by 56 points, twice that of the Great Danes'
margin of victory. It still was not a very competitive game in Orangeburg. But it was still well played at a price that can't be beat. ALBANY 83, at SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 55
ALBANY 4-2 (0-0) -- M. Black 9-11 0-0 23; J. Guerrier 6-11 2-2 18; J. Iati 5-9 0-0 14; B. Metcalf 1-5 0-1 2; S. Rowley 4-7 0-1 8; J. Puk 0-0 0-2 0; G. Johnson 2-2 0-1 4; P. Hooley 1-3 4-4 7; D. Evans 0-2 0-0 0; L. Devlin 1-5 0-0 2; D. Wiegmann 1-2 0-0 2; C. Page 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 31-58 6-11 83.
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 3-2 (0-0) -- K. Toombs 5-13 2-4 12; S. Mitchell 6-12 0-1 13; M. Hezekiah 1-4 0-1 2; P. Myers 2-7 0-0 4; L. Radovic 1-3 0-0 2; D. Palmer 5-9 0-0 10; A. Adams 5-8 0-0 12; C. Campbell 0-0 0-0 0; T. Linton 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 25-57 2-8 55.
Three-point goals: ALB 15-29 (J. Iati 4-8; M. Black 5-7; J. Guerrier 4-8; L. Devlin 0-1; P. Hooley 1-2; C. Page 1-1; D. Evans 0-2), SCST 3-16 (K. Toombs 0-3; A. Adams 2-3; T. Linton 0-1; S. Mitchell 1-5; P. Myers 0-2; D. Palmer 0-2); Rebounds: ALB 33 (B. Metcalf 7), SCST 25 (D. Palmer 8); Assists: ALB 24 (M. Black 6), SCST 8 (P. Myers 4); Total Fouls -- ALB 18, SCST 11; Fouled Out: ALB-None; SCST-None.