Posted: 3:45 p.m. Friday, March 22, 2013
By Steph Crandall
They tried, they really did. It wasn't a blow out. They held on as tight as the could.
Coming in as the 4-seed from the America East tournament -- technically, a 5-seed if Boston University were eligible -- they played their hearts out against Duke, the No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. I don't think the lead went to 20 at any point.
To lose at 73-61 against an ACC team as a tiny little team out of the America East, that's just incredible. Albany played hard and they have nothing to be ashamed of. There were times when an upset was possible, and according to social media, people actually thought it might happen.
Albany played some great defense in the first half. They forced Duke into quite a few turnovers. But the Great Danes' main problem is Duke is great just about everywhere. Albany kept them outside, but it didn't matter; they made their threes.
Jacob Iati was the star of the Great Danes. As a senior with this being his last game as a college athlete, he played his heart out and it showed. He led Albany with 15 points.
He may be small compared to some of Duke's players who seemed to tower over him, but he's smart and managed to get inside or shoot over them for the the. He should be nothing less than proud of how he and his team played today.
The problems started for the Danes when they got into foul trouble in the first half. Giving Duke free throws is never a good idea. They also had some issues with their defense at times, but then again, who wouldn't have issues with defense against Duke?
The second half was a bit of a turn around for the Danes. They got Duke into foul trouble, and things were looking up with every free throw made. But by then it was too late. The Blue Devils had a 10-point lead and that would never really go away.
Albany leaves the NCAA tournament, hopefully, proud of their performance while Duke goes on to play either Creighton or Cincinnati.