Tuesday, November 20, 2007

UAlbany Men's Basketball Wins Third Straight in 78-66 Victory Against Lehigh at SEFCU Arena

Albany, N.Y. – Brian Lillis scored 16 points and Brent Wilson added 15 in leading UAlbany to its third consecutive win in a 78-66 victory over Lehigh on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes are off to their best since 1996-97 with a 3-1 record.

UAlbany used a string of 14 straight points to break things open early. Freshman guard Josh Martin, who had 10 points off the bench, and Wilson canned back-to-back three-point field goals to ignite that run. Lillis fed Jerel Hastings on a fastbreak layup, before connecting on a right-hander in the lane off his own steal. The Great Danes, who made nine of the first 12 shots, expanded their lead to 24-7 when Hastings hit a jumper from left of the lane.

The Great Danes, who have won 18 of their last 20 home games, cruised to a 46-22 halftime advantage. Wilson, a 6-foot-8 senior who made 5-of-6 from three-point territory, buried a pair of long-range jumpers from the top of the arc to end the period. UAlbany shot 57 percent, including 8-of-11 from beyond the line, before the break.

Lehigh (2-2) closed within 15 points twice in the second half, as Zahir Carrington had 11 of his 14 points in the stanza. Marquis Hall, the team’s leading scorer who has held to five points, drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing that beat the shot clock and closed the gap to 56-41 with 13:20 remaining.

Lillis, a 6’5” senior, then went to work by scoring seven of his team’s next 10 points. Lillis, who made 7-of-9 from the field, sank two consecutive jumpers in the area of the foul line. He later converted a conventional three-point play when he was fouled on another high-arcing shot from the circle that gave his team a 66-46 margin with 8:36 to play.

“I didn’t like our energy at the start,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, who subbed out his entire starting five less than three minutes into the game. “I am demanding and I expect a lot. We have five guys who are eager to get in there and it sends a message that we can’t start like that. It’s nice to see a lot of guys contributing.”

Freshman Al Turley added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Great Danes, who made 50.9 percent from the field on 28-of-55 shooting. Lehigh’s Bryan White, a 6’6” senior, scored 12 points. The Mountain Hawks were coming off back-to-back victories against St. Peter’s and St. Francis, Pa.

“We realize what kind of personnel we have,” offered Wilson, who added three rebounds and two steals. “This is a good group where no one cares about their stats. They (younger players) have taken grasp of what we are doing and putting it together.”

UAlbany 78, Lehigh 66 (Nov. 20, 2007 at Albany, N.Y.)

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