Saturday, February 2, 2008

University of Albany's Men's Basketball Upends Stony Brook, 64-46, in front of a sell out crowd on Big Purple Growl

Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information

Albany, N.Y. – Brian Connelly had 16 points and Brian Lillis added 12 in leading UAlbany to a 64-46 victory over Stony Brook in America East Conference play on Saturday, Feb. 2 before a capacity crowd of 4,538 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes were hosting the 11th annual Big Purple Growl, the University’s Winter Homecoming.

UAlbany (10-11, AE 5-4) went on a 19-2 run in the first half to take control. Jerel Hastings nailed a three-point field goal to begin that run, before Jon Iati added another long-range jumper following an offensive rebound. Freshman guard Josh Martin had eight of his 10 points in that stretch, including back-to-back 3-pointers that gave his team a 27-8 advantage with 6:22 left in the period.

Connelly, who grabbed six rebounds to add to his scoring total, drilled a jumper from left of the lane that provided his team with a 34-15 halftime margin. The Great Danes held Stony Brook (4-17, AE 1-8) to 27.3-percent shooting on 6-of-22 attempts before the break.

The Seawolves, who have lost seven in a row, never really threatened in the final stanza. Stony Brook closed within 46-31 midway through the half on a pair of free throws by senior guard Mitchell Beauford, who tallied eight points. UAlbany then pushed the lead up to 20 by using the charity stripe. Connelly and Iati each sank two foul shots.

“I thought we played very well in the first half, especially on the defensive end,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team won its fourth consecutive Big Purple Growl game. “We were okay in the second half, but made some free throws. It was nice to see such a big crowd, because every kid wants to play in this kind of environment.”

Lillis, a 6-foot-5 senior who collected 10 rebounds and handed out four assists, posted his fourth double-double in his last six starts. Iati finished with 11 points, the first time he has reached twin figures in back-to-back games since November.

“We didn’t rely solely on our outside shooting,” explained Iati, a senior guard who came off the bench to make 3-of-6 from the floor. “They play a pretty aggressive zone and we able to get mid-range shots and layups. We need to keep seeing a UAlbany team that is energetic and starts its offense with its defense.”

Ricky Lucas was the lone Stony Brook player in double digits with 11 points. The Seawolves shot 35.6 percent from the field overall. The Great Danes, who have won nine of 11 homecoming games in the event’s history, were coming off a four-point road loss to conference-leader UMBC three days ago.

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