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Danes are top dog in Albany Cup

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By Lauren Mineau

After shaking off a rough first
half, the University at Albany
men’s basketball team took the
Albany Cup for the second
consecutive year after a 74-62
thriller against Siena on Friday
Nov. 8.
Siena (0-1) grabbed the lead
early with a 7-0 advantage before
DJ Evans sunk the first basket of
the year.
At the 15:55 mark, the Saints
were 5-for-6 from the field, while
the Danes (1-0) were 2-for-6.
The Saints held a double-digit
lead for four minutes late in the
half before UAlbany started to
step it up especially with a rally
of back and fourth points by
Sam Rowley, Peter Hooley and
Anders Haas.
Levan Shengelia spun past his
defender for a dunk with 3:30
left to narrow the lead to eight.
Shengelia found Evans on the ensuing
position for a three-pointer
to make the score 37-30. Anders
Haas hit one-of-two free throws
to close the half. At the half, Evans
and Haas led UAlbany with
six points apiece.
“The change of competitiveness
is what did it for us,” said
Hooley. “We knew our first half
wasn’t UAlbany basketball, we
knew what we were capable of,
and we just weathered that storm.
In the second half we knew we
would play better, and we did.”
The second half brought a
whole new game from UAlbany
with Sam Rowley scoring as
many points as he did in the first
half in the first two minutes of
the second.
The junior captain went 5-for-6
in the second half and 3-for-3 in
the opening four minutes.
With starting center John Puk
picking up his fourth foul less
than four minutes into the second
half, Rowley kept the game in
Albany’s favor.
Two free throws from Peter
Hooley with 15:27 remaining
gave UAlbany its first lead of
the game putting the Danes up
“I don’t think they could stop
us in the second half, we started
playing the way we are capable
of, a physical game and we
opened it up,” said head coach
Will Brown.
The Great Danes clinched an
11-0 run to get further ahead with
a 55-44 lead with just over 10
minutes left. The Saints surged
back, holding UAlbany scoreless
for nearly four minutes late in the
half after throwing a 2-3 zone at
the Great Danes.
A technical on the Siena bench
gave UAlbany the opportunity to
win back the momentum. After
Hooley sunk the two technical
free throws, he hit a three with
just under six minutes left to
eliminate Siena’s temporary onepoint
“They have four seniors and
they went to the NCAA Tournament
last year,” Siena coach
Jimmy Patsos said. “But I am
proud of the way we played.”
The Great Danes kept the lead,
forcing Siena into sloppy shots
down the stretch. Siena shot just
27.8 percent from the field in the
second half.
Free throw shooting led UAlbany
through the second half,
with Hooley going 8-for-8 and
Evans hitting 6-of-6. UAlbany
went 20-for-24 from the charity
stripe in the second half.
Hooley and Sam Rowley
finished with 17 points apiece.
Rowley nearly notched a doubledouble
with nine rebounds to his
credit. Evans also recorded five
steals, a new individual record
for the crosstown match up under
Will Brown.
“In the end, we played the way
we were capable of playing,”
said head coach Will Brown. “It
helps to have some older guys,
and I knew their freshmen would
come out and play with a ton
of energy. I thought we were
playing our tempo and imposing
our will in the second half, we
opened it up.”
Despite the 11,311 person
crowd, Brown said “this game
has to be played on a Saturday.”
Traditionally, the Albany Cup is
played on a Saturday night.. This
year Capital Region fans had a
choice between the Albany Cup
and the Class AA Super Bowl at
Bob Ford Field, played between
two local high schools, Shaker
and Christian Brothers Academy.
Women’s basketball had
their home opener scheduled for
Sunday, Nov. 10 thus making the
Albany Cup land on a Friday.
“People will travel for this
game if it’s on a Saturday, it’d
be great if people could make a
weekend out of it. You play this
game at 7:30 p.m. On a Saturday
especially with a new coach at
Siena, you would’ve sold this
place out,” Brown said.
The Great Danes will face
NJIT in their home opener on
Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will
be broadcast on Time Warner
Cable Sports Channel from the
SEFCU Arena.

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