Thursday, January 22, 2015

University of Albany Men’s Basketball Out to All-Time Best America East Start at 6-0 With 62-53 Victory at Hartford - UAlbany Sports 2015

WEST HARTFORD, Conn.- University at Albany men’s basketball (11-7, 6-0 AE) claimed the top spot in the America East on Thursday night, downing Hartford (11-8, 4-2 AE) 62-53. The Great Danes are out to their best America East start ever at 6-0. Sam Rowley scored a career-high 22 points in the victory. “I thought this was another good effort by our guys,” said head coach Will Brown. “We’ve been focusing on getting better defensively and getting more aggressive attacking the paint on offense. We’re making progress on both ends of the ball.” Both teams began the game stone cold from the field, a combined 2-for-11 in the opening minutes. Sam Rowley provided the early spark, scoring six of UAlbany’s eight points for an 8-5 lead at the under-12 media timeout. The senior forward found gaps in Hartford’s 1-3-1 zone to keep the Great Danes ahead. With the Purple & Gold looking to push the pace, the Hawks crept into early foul trouble, as three-point shooting specialist Taylor Dyson picked up his second personal just eight minutes into the game. Hartford’s leading scorer Mark Nwakamma committed his second foul at the 6:50 mark. After a slow start for both teams, UAlbany began to pull away thanks to a balanced scoring attack. Sam Rowley and Ray Sanders were the only Danes on the board in the early-going, but by the four-minute mark in the first half six players had at least two points. Despite a 3-for-9 start from the field in the first half, the Great Danes went 6-for-12 over the next 10 minutes and 3-for-3 entering the under-four media timeout. Will Brown’s squad only committed one turnover in 12 minutes entering the break. On the other hand, Hartford failed to score for the final 3:13 of the half, after Wheeler Baker took a charge and the Hawks threw the ball away on consecutive possessions. Dyson also picked up his third foul. At the half, UAlbany held a 27-20 advantage behind 10 points from Sam Rowley. The foul trouble continued for Hartford in the second half. Three starters in Corban Wroe, Dyson and Nwakamma had three fouls. Despite the setbacks the Hawks went on a 5-0 run to narrow the lead to just two points, 27-25. Dallas Ennema brought the lead back to double-digits, 41-31 with a baseline jumper at the 11:17 mark. Nwakamma committed his fourth foul shortly after. The Purple & Gold extended its lead to as many as 16 points with nine minutes to play. UAlbany remained perfect from the free throw line to maintain its double-digit lead with six minutes left. With Hartford picking up a full-court press, the Hawks still went scoreless for a three-minute period late in the game. Four-straight points from Evan Singletary set up a 14-point lead, 57-43 with four minutes to go. Two threes down the stretch weren’t enough for Hartford, and the Great Danes emerged with a 62-53 victory. Sam Rowley scored a career-high 22 points on 9-for-13 from the field in the victory. The senior forward is 22 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Singletary brought down a career-best seven boards, and the Great Danes went 19-for-21 (.905) from the charity stripe. Thursday’s win marks the fifth straight game UAlbany has gone better than 80% from the free throw line with 20 or more attempts. UAlbany held Hartford’s leading scorer Mark Nwakamma to single-digits in scoring (seven points) for the first time in 12 games. Will Brown has his best America East start all-time at 6-0, including a 4-0 clip on the road. With a Vermont loss at UNH on Thursday night, UAlbany takes sole possession of first place in the league. The Danes have won six straight and nine of their last 10. This is UAlbany’s longest winning streak since the 2006-07 season, when the Purple & Gold strung together eight consecutive victories. UAlbany men’s basketball returns to SEFCU Arena on Sunday to face UMBC (3-16, 1-5 AE). Tip is slated for 4:37 p.m., on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel as part of a UAlbany basketball doubleheader.

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