Behind 17 bench points from sophomore guard Dion Waiters, the Syracuse University men's basketball program Monday earned its second victory of the season, 92-56, over Manhattan University, and help the Orange, ranked No. 5 in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls, advance to play the University at Albany Tuesday (7 p.m. on ESPN3) in the East Regional final of the NIT Tipoff Tournament.
For those SU fans that don't know much about the Great Danes, here's a brief scouting report:
Will Brown is in the midst of his 11th season as head coach of the Great Danes. Currently, Brown is the longest tenured coach in the America East Conference and has led Albany to a pair of conference titles.
Albany finished the season 16-16 overall and 9-7 in the America East Conference. The Great Danes lost to Stony Brook in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament. In the last six season, Albany has compiled at least 15 wins.
The Great Danes, picked to finish fourth in the America East Conference preseason media poll, return seven letterwinners, four starters, from last year's squad. On Friday, Albany was clobbered by No. 10-ranked the University of Pittsburgh, 89-46, but rebounded Monday with a decisive 77-68 victory over Brown University.
Player To Watch Out For
Co-captain junior guard Logan Aronhalt (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) is the leader of this Albany squad. Last season, Aronhalt earned All-America East Conference Third Team honors after averaging 14.6 points per game. On Monday, Aronhalt netted 19 points, collected 15 rebounds and made 3-for-4 shot form behind the 3-point arc.
Albany, which enters Tuesday's match up as a 24 1/2 point underdog, is probably the best team SU has seen so far, but that's not saying much. Not only will the Orange need to keep Aronhalt in check, but also watch out for junior guard Mike Black, who also earned All-America East Third Team honors last year, and guard Gerardo Suero, a junior college transfer, who netted a game-best 29 points against Brown.
If you're a betting man, I'd take the Great Danes with the points, but don't expect this game to be competitive.