Monday, November 14, 2011

University of Albany Men's Basketball Defeats Brown in NIT Season Tip-Off's First Round; Suero & Aronhalt Lead Way - UAlbany Sports 2011

Syracuse, N.Y. - Gerardo Suero had 29 points and Logan Aronhalt added 19 points and 13 rebounds as UAlbany held off Brown, 77-68, in the opening round of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off on Monday, Nov. 14 at the Carrier Dome. UAlbany meets Syracuse, a 92-56 winner over Manhattan, in the second round on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN3.

The Great Danes built a 62-49 lead with 6:19 remaining after Aronhalt made a three-point field goal and Luke Devlin scored in the lane. Brown (1-1) came storming back behind the play of Matt Sullivan, a 6-foot-5 junior who had 19 of his 26 points after halftime.

The Bears sliced the deficit to 65-60 after Sullivan buried one of his five 3-pointers and made two free throws. UAlbany (1-1) was still ahead 71-66 three minutes later, but Suero converted a fastbreak opportunity and Mike Black canned a pair of foul shots to end the comeback bid.

"They got into a rhythm offensively and exposed our defense," said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team was coming off a season-opening loss against 10th-ranked Pittsburgh. "Our defense got too comfortable and we were hurt by Mike Black being in foul trouble. We need to fine tune some things, but we achieved our goal of getting a win."

In the first half, the Great Danes used a string of 10 unanswered to take an early 16-4 lead. Luke Devlin nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to ignite that stretch, while freshman Peter Hooley's steal and layup ended the outburst. The Great Danes made 10 of their first 16 field goal attempts to move out to a 28-14 margin, as Suero drilled a three-pointer. UAlbany shot 53.8 percent from the field en route to a 12-point halftime advantage.

The Bears, who made 12-of-29 from beyond the arc, worked their way back into the contest with long-range shooting. John Harris' three-pointer from the left corner chipped away at a double-figure lead, before Sean McGonagill made a 21-footer that closed the gap to 52-46 with 12:30 left. The Great Danes answered when Aronhalt hit a jumper and split two free throws. Ralph Watts scored with an offensive rebound to push the margin back to double digits.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy," offered Suero, who made 9-of-12 from the field and 9-of-11 from the line. "Defensively, we need to talk more. But a win keeps you motivated to keep winning."

Black, who played just 20 minutes after picking up his fourth personal foul early in the second half, had nine points and seven assists. McGonagill, last season's Ivy League rookie of the year, finished with 17 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

"We are still trying to figure each other out and how to complement each other," said Aronhalt, who recorded his second career double-double. "Overall, we played well together."

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