In 1981, CBA Commissioner Jim Drucker created the 7-point system, a statistic that added a sometimes controversial tally in the daily sports page. Just as hockey calculates its standings by awarding a team two points for a win and one for a tie, the CBA bestowed three points per game won to a team - and one point per each quarter the team won. The system kept games exciting, as a losing club could "steal" one or two quarter points, while another fivesome might be behind all night, come from behind to win, and pick up only four points.
In 1982, the Patroons earned 6½ points from their opening contest, a 132-116 win over the Maine Lumberjacks. Two years later, after the Lumberjacks changed their name to the Bay State Bombardiers, moving first to Brockton and then to Worcester, Albany finally got their blowout.
Even though the Patroons started their season as CBA champions, a member of that championship squad was missing. Their playoff MVP, Andre Gaddy, did not return to Albany after being cut from the NBA training camp. Instead, the 6'10" center from George Mason signed a contract with an Italian team.
And in their first meeting with the Bombardiers, December 2 at Worcester, both teams acted more like the Jets and Sharks from West Side Story. During the game, which Bay State won 134-133, Albany's Penny Elliot fouled Bombardier Kevin Williams. Williams slugged Elliot, both benches cleared, and the rumble began. The next day, the CBA suspended Williams for one game and spread $500 in fines among both teams.
When they next met at the Worcester Memorial Auditorium, Bay State took the early first-quarter lead, 10-9. The Pats' Derrick Rowland then hit shots from all over the court, and Albany ran off 29 points against 9 for the Bombardiers. Dave Cowens, the former Celtic-turned-manager of the 3-0 Bombardiers, could not believe the Pats' surge. At the end of the first quarter, Albany led 40-25, and picked up one quarter point.
Kevin Williams, playing in his first game since the suspension, helped trim Albany's lead to 47-37 in the second quarter. Derrick Rowland, however, answered with six points of his own. As both teams entered the locker room, Albany led the Bombardiers, 67-49, and had won the second quarter, 27-24.
By the third quarter, Cowens' club began to catch up. Both teams matched basket for basket, and with four seconds left, Albany and Bay State were tied 30-30 on the quarter board. Enter John Wiley, the 6-9 center the Patroons acquired from the Ohio Mixers when Gaddy said arrivederci. Wiley shot a jumper that swished through the net. The clock ticks down to zero, as a last-second full-court shot by Bay State falls short. Albany now had a 20-point lead, 99-79, and won its third quarter.
The Bombardiers needed this last quarter point badly. Before tonight's game, the Bombardiers were 7½ standings points in front of Albany, but the Pats were quickly climbing up the standings. Bay State's offense began to strengthen in the final quarter, and the Bombardiers pulled out a slight lead. Kevin Williams executed a monster slam with less than 40 seconds left, giving Bay State a 37-35 quarter lead. Ten seconds later, Rowland hit a jumper, tying the quarter score at 37. Bay State worked the ball up to midcourt, ready for a quarter-winning score - but Penny Elliot, doing his best John Havlicek imitation, stole the ball. Elliot passed the ball to Clint Wheeler, whose shot missed the cylinder. Derrick Rowland picked up the rebound, stuffing it in for the deciding points. Albany 39, Bay State 37. Albany 138, Bay State 116.
But most importantly, Patroons 7, Bombardiers nothing.
Bay State lost its next five games against Albany that season. And the Patroons picked up four more 7-point victories that season - over Wisconsin, Cincinnati, and two against Albuquerque.
But in four days, the Pats would face one of their toughest opponents, an expansion team from Florida whose coach had been fired the year before by the lowly Sarasota Stingers after posting a 6-19 record.
Bill Musselman and the Tampa Bay Thrillers were en route to the Armory.
Sanders 7-16 4-5 18; Rowland 11-17 3-4 25; McPherson 9-17, 6-7 24; Moore 3-9 3-4 9; Wheeler 8-14 2-2 18; Wiley 4-6 2-2 10; Kuczenski 4-10 3-3 11; Elliot 4-7 3-5 11; Ancrum 3-10 6-7 12. Totals 53-106 32-43 138.
Williams 14-25 7-9 35; Wilson 3-7 1-2 7; Dawson 7-16 0-1 14; DeBisschop 5-12 0-2 10; Chavez 4-7 2-2 10; Springman 1-5 0-0 2; Harris 5-8 2-4 12; Haisel 6-11 4-5 16; Richards 4-6 2-2 10. Totals 49-94 18-27 116.
ALBANY 40-27-32-39 138 7 BAY STATE 25-24-30-37 116 0Three-point goals - none. Rebounds: Albany 52 (McPherson 12, Elliot 10), Bay State 55 (Dawson 14, Wilson 12, DeBisschop 10). Assists: Albany 25 (Rowland 7, Williams 6). Total fouls: Albany 31, Bay State 34. Technical fouls: Albany Coach Jackson. A-721.
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