Tuesday, November 22, 2011

University of Albany Downs Monmouth, 85-49, in NIT Season Tip-Off; Jayson Guerrier Has 28 Off Bench - UAlbany Sports 2011

Fairfax, Va. - Jayson Guerrier had 28 points and 10 rebounds off the bench in leading UAlbany to an 85-49 victory over Monmouth in the Dick Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off's third round on Monday, Nov. 21 at George Mason University's Patriot Center.

Monmouth (0-4) trailed by 13 at halftime, but closed the gap to 39-31 early in the final period. Army transfer Jesse Steele hit a layup after Ed Waite's steal and Dion Nesmith drilled a three-pointer. UAlbany (2-2) responded with a 13-2 run to regain control. Mike Black, who had nine points and nine assists, connected on a fastbreak layup. The junior guard then set up Guerrier for a conventional three-point play when he was fouled on a made basket. Guerrier sank two free threw after collecting an offensive rebound for a 52-33 cushion.

The Great Danes, who recorded their second-largest win as a Division I program, pushed the lead to 69-39 when Jacob Iati and Black sank back-to-back three-point shots. Guerrier, who made 9-of-10 from the field in 28 minutes of play, delivered his fifth 3-pointer with 6:09 remaining.

"Jayson (Guerrier) can really shoot," said UAlbany coach Will Brown about a player who transferred from Alabama Southern Community College. "He can put pressure on the defense, but it has just taken him awhile to get adjusted. Ralph Watts was also terrific off the bench and he is valuable to us because he can play four positions. If we get contributions from our bench like this, we will be fine."

In the first half, UAlbany reversed an 8-5 deficit with 11 unanswered. Guerrier canned a three-point field goal to put his team in front. Watts, a 6'5" sophomore then hit consecutive long-range jumpers, including the second off a skip pass from Black. Watts had 10 of his career-high 12 points in the period.

Still leading 21-17 later in the half, UAlbany tallied nine of the game's next 11 points. Guerrier, a 6-foot-4 junior, made another 3-pointer after blocking a shot on the previous defensive possession. Gerardo Suero, the third UAlbany players in double figures with 16 points, sank a pair of free throws and Guerrier converted in the lane for a 30-19 advantage with 3:58 left before the break.

The margin swelled to 16 points after Black made a layup following a Monmouth turnover and Watts and Guerrier each split a pair of foul shots. Mike Myers Keitt, a 6-foot-7 senior, connected in the lane and Nesmith, a Northeastern transfer, made a three-pointer, before Luke Devlin scored off a tip-in just before the buzzer for a 38-25 halftime cushion.

"We have a real deep bench now and we showed that today," offered Watts, who made three 3-pointers in the first half. "It felt good that both Jayson and I got more minutes and that boosted our confidence."

The Great Danes, who shot 52 percent from the floor, including 13-of-31 from beyond the arc, meet George Mason in NIT play on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Patriots advanced to the NCAA Tournament's third round last year.

"Whenever I come off the bench I try to provide energy," said Guerrier, an honorable mention All-American on the junior college level last season. "I got looks and it went down for me. I tried to rebound hard as well."

Paw Prints: UAlbany has split its opening four games for the first time since the 2009-10 campaign ... the Great Danes' 36-point win was the second-largest at the Division I level ... UAlbany defeated Binghamton, 76-37, last year to set the standard ... the Great Danes defeated Monmouth for the first time after having lost twice in UA's first two seasons as a Division I program ... Monmouth is coached by King Rice, a Binghamton, N.Y. native and former North Carolina point guard under Dean Smith.

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