Danes head to the dance after upset over Stony Brook
by Lauren Mineau
For the second season in a row, The University at Albany men’s basketball team has pulled off a seemingly impossible upset and has earned their way to the NCAA tournament and the America East Championship title.
The 69-60 win over second-seeded Stony Brook stunned the sold out crowd at Stony Brook’s Pritchard gym on March 15.
The game started off slow, with the Great Danes harbored by an early nine point lead by Stony Brook in the first three minutes.
The rest of the first half switched in favor of the Danes, with two ties and lots of back and fourth leads on both sides. D.J. Evans scored 12 of his total 16 points in the remainder of the first, putting the Great Danes up 34-31 at the half.
“I am very proud of our kids,” UAlbany coach Will Brown said . “We came into a tough environment and played very well.”
The Great Danes came out fighting for the second half, keeping their points up as Stony Brook battled back. With 7:02 left, Stony Brook (23-10) had gone on a 7-0 run to put them ahead 52-46. The lead came after UAlbany(18-14) forward Sam Rowley fouled out on a play with SBU’s Eric McAlister. Rowley left the game with a game-high 18 points.
With Rowley on the bench, the Danes needed a new game plan and they delivered. Hooley shot nine points alone in the rest of the game, including a three point bucket with 1:04 – the shot that sealed the game.
Johnson made six free throws, and Hooley added another two to clinch the title for the Great Danes.
“I just wanted to make a play,” Hooley said. “We all hit shots when it mattered.”
Sam Rowley lead the game and scored 18 points, DJ Evans had 16 and Peter Hooley 16 for UAlbany.
With this win, Will Brown joins Jim Calhoun as the only coaches to win at least four America East championships and Albany is the fifth school to win at least four conference titles and first to do so without also losing a championship game.
Albany was 18-of-19 from the free throw line, a stat that sealed the deal in the end. Stony Brook held a 35-32 edge on the boards. Albany shot 46.7 percent for the game, while Stony Brook shot 39.3 percent overall.
Next season Stony Brook will move into the renovated Stony Brook Arena, making today’s game the last one played at the 1,760 capacity Pritchard Gymnasium.
The Great Danes will find out their placement in the NCAA tournament, tomorrow night, March 16 at 6 p.m. On the CBS selection show.
AMERICA EAST ALL-TOURNAMENT
Most Outstanding Player
Peter Hooley, G, UAlbany
DJ Evans, G, UAlbany
Peter Hooley, G, UAlbany
Carson Puriefoy, G, Stony Brook
Sam Rowley, F, UAlbany
Jameel Warney, F, Stony Brook