Saturday, December 13, 2014

University of Albany Men's Basketball Squashes Siena Again for Third Straight Year - UAlbany Sports 2014

Courtesy: UA Sports

ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany men’s basketball (3-6) didn’t let a four-game losing streak keep them from their third straight Albany Cup on Saturday night, earning a 77-68 victory over cross-town rival Siena. Evan Singletary and Peter Hooley combined for 41 points to lead the Great Danes. Will Brown’s squad went 29-for-32 (.906) from the charity stripe.

“It’s always a close and intense game,” said Brown. “Our mindset was to control tempo. If we had opportunities against their pressure, that’s the way were going to go. We wanted to make them defend and mix up our defenses. They’re very talented, and we needed to play this game at our tempo.”

With the pace of play slow in the early-going, the teams missed six shots between them in the opening moments of the contest. Richard Peters made one of two free throws in his second consecutive start to get UAlbany on the board.

The Great Danes held the Saints scoreless for the first three minutes, forcing Siena to foul. By the under-four media timeout, Siena had three team fouls on 1-for-8 (.125) shooting.

Jimmy Patsos kept the pressure up on the full-court zone press, forcing two Great Danes turnovers. Ray Sanders counteracted with solid defense of his own, tipping a Saints pass and going the distance for a dunk to get the Purple & Gold crowd on its feet.

By the time Siena’s Lavon Long committed his second team foul at the 14:09 mark, the Saints had four team fouls while UAlbany remained clean in the foul column.

The shooting woes continued for Siena, as an 0-for-3 clip from Rob Poole added to a 3-for-14 (.214) field goal percentage for the Saints after nine minutes of play. Will Brown’s squad was 5-for-11 (.455).

Outstanding defense continued to pave the way for the Purple & Gold in the first half, as a Sam Rowley rejection on Poole sent Sanders down the floor for a lay-in and a 14-8 lead.

Siena guided UAlbany into the bonus at the 8:54 mark, after Javion Ogunyemi got caught with two fouls in four seconds.

Poole did not stay down after missing early shots, the senior captain made a three to put Siena within five points, 18-13 with 8:45 on the clock.

Peter Hooley responded with a three of his own moments later with the shot clock winding down on the right baseline, extending UAlbany’s lead to eight points.

After Hooley’s three, the Great Danes went cold from the field over the next 4:30. Free throws from Hooley and Evan Singletary kept the lead with UAlbany.

Mike Rowley converted on a three-on-two fast break opportunity to snap the field goal drought with 3:15 remaining in the half.

Hooley made another three in front of the Siena bench just over one minute later, forcing Patsos to call timeout to regroup looking to claw back in the game. 

The Great Danes wrapped up the first half with a 34-27 lead on 10-for-20 (.500) shooting. UAlbany matched its season high in first-half field goal percentage against the Saints. Siena committed 10 team fouls, while UAlbany was charged just five. The Great Danes went 11-for-12 (.917) from the charity stripe.

Just 49 seconds into the second half, Singletary went to the hoop for the left-handed lay in and a nine-point lead. The 36-27 advantage was the largest for the Great Danes at that point.

Hooley kept up the pressure on the three-point line, hitting another outside the arc and draining two free throws for five early second-half points.

Lavon Long was charged with his fourth personal foul at the 14:31 mark, but the Saints were 3-for-4 from the field in the early going of the second 20 minutes.

UAlbany looked to slow the pace, but a Poole three brought the Saints within nine points. The Great Danes had extended the lead to as many as 12.

Dallas Ennema was not phased, getting down the floor for a three of his own. The sophomore forward completed the four-point play after getting fouled by a much smaller defender.

With the fouls stacking up again in the second half for Siena, UAlbany found itself in the bonus at the 9:49 mark.

A Sam Rowley lay-up put UAlbany in front 58-46 with nine minutes to play. Fellow Aussie Hooley gave the Great Danes their biggest lead, 61-47 on a three moments later.

Singletary proved to be solid at the free throw line, going 8-for-8 late to extend the lead to 15, 66-51 with four minutes remaining.

Hooley and Rowley connected again on an out-of-bounds play out of a UAlbany timeout. The co-captains put the lead back at 14 after a Poole three.

The charity stripe dictated the remaining three minutes of the game, as the Great Danes went 9-for-10 from the free throw line to take their third consecutive Albany Cup, 77-68. The Purple & Gold made 29 free throws, while Siena made just 15.

“I remember my first Albany Cup,” said Hooley. “We had a good lead, nearly 20 at the half and we ended up losing the game. That really hurt me even on the sideline. I realized how big of a deal this game really is, but this is just another game. I’m glad we saw it as another game and got a good result.”

Singletary (21), Hooley (20) and Ennema (10) all recorded single-game highs in point for the season. Singletary and Hooley become the first players to score 20 or more points in a 2014-15 game for the Great Danes.

Next up for UAlbany is Yale, on Dec. 20 at 2:00 p.m., in New Haven.

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