Saturday, November 17, 2007

UAlbany Men's Basketball Defeats Columbia, 70-38, in Great Danes' Home Opener at SEFCU Arena

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Brian Connelly scored a career-high 13 points to pace four players in double figures as UAlbany posted a 70-38 victory over Columbia in the Great Danes’ home opener before 4,312 fans at SEFCU Arena on Saturday, Nov. 17.

UAlbany (2-1) tallied the game’s opening 13 points in going wire-to-wire for win. Jimmie Covington and Brent Wilson began with a pair of baskets in the lane, before Brian Lillis sank two throws. Wilson, who 10 points on 4-of-6 from the field, later buried a three-point field goal. Connelly ended the outburst by converting an offensive rebound with just four minutes and 25 seconds elapsed.

The lead swelled to 39-18 when junior college transfer Jerel Hastings made two free throws. The Great Danes, who have won 17 of their last 19 home games, settled for a 43-24 margin at the intermission on the strength of 54.5-percent shooting.

Following a slow start to the second half, UAlbany ran off eight unanswered points to build a 57-28 advantage with 11:36 remaining. Lillis, a 6-foot-5 senior, who had 10 points, five assists and four steals, sank two attempts from the line after being fouled on a fastbreak. Connelly scored in the lane when Lillis fed him off a loose-ball scramble. Jon Iati, who struck for 12 points off the bench, connected on a three-point shot to end that stretch.

“This is the team I was expecting to see,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose squad was coming off an overtime win against Central Connecticut State on Nov. 14. “We executed on both ends of the floor. We are good enough to do it by committee where it is a different person every night. After the first three possessions of the second half, I thought we got back to what we did in the first half which is to make them play defense.”

The Great Danes, who set the program’s Division I record for victory margin, moved out to a 30-point lead with 6:48 to play. Hastings added eight points as ten players found the scoring column.

Columbia (1-3) was coming off a solid performance against Ohio State in the NIT Preseason Tip-Off. But the Lions suffered through a rugged shooting night by making 20.4 percent from the floor on 10 of 49 attempts. John Baumann, the preseason Ivy League player of the year, was the lone player in double figures with 12.

“We prepared well for this game,” offered Lillis, who reached double figures for the 15th time as a collegian. “We came in with a better mind set and were not as lackadaisical as the first two games. Getting the win is the main thing.”

Last year’s team was honored in a pre-game ceremony. UAlbany made their second consecutive NCAA appearance after winning the America East Conference championship in 2006-07.

UAlbany 70, Columbia 38 (Nov. 17, 2007, SEFCU Arena)

No comments:

Web Site Hit Counters
Precision M4300