Great Danes defeat Maine in fan-packed arena
Photo credits: Above: Barrie Schneiderman, Below: Jasmine Laniado
Danes stun top ranked Stony Brook, advance to AE ChampionshipBy Adam Reiter Staff Writer [email protected] Just one day after surviving a near buzzer beater against the University of Maine, the University at Albany men’s basketball team held on for a last second 61-59 win over the Stony Brook Seawolves Sunday night in the semi-finals of the America East Conference Tournament.
On Saturday, the Great Danes survived an 18 point performance by the Black Bears’ Justin Edwards, winning 50-49, thanks to a Sam Rowley jumper with 14 seconds remaining.
The win against Stony Brook clinched UAlbany’s first appearance in a men’s conference championship game since 2006- 2007 and helped UAlbany avoid their 4th consecutive year with a conference tournament loss to the Seawolves. Additionally, the Danes 23 wins now tie the record for most in one season.
Mike Black’s lay-up with two seconds left propelled UAlbany to their first win over Stony Brook since January 2011.
UAlbany led 28-22 at halftime, but Stony Brook came back in the second half, cutting the deficit to two, 35-33, with 11:41 remaining in the game. Dave Coley of the Seawolves began the comeback with two quick baskets.
UAlbany retaliated with a 14-6 run to extend its lead to 10, 49-39, with 5:46 left. Jacob Iati sparked the Great Dane offense with a runner in the lane and a three-pointer.
Coley then hit 3-of-4 free-throws to bring the game within seven, 49-42, with 4:27 left.
UAlbany’s Peter Hooley came back with a three from right corner to keep the lead to 10, 52-42, with 3:58 remaining.
With a UAlbany six-point lead, 58-52, at the 1:11 mark, Stony Brook rattled off five quick points to cut the deficit to one, 58-57, with 33 seconds left. The Seawolves’ Carson Puriefoy hit a three and America East Player of the Year Tommy Brenton followed with two free-throws to bring Stony Brook within a point.
Following a Luke Devlin free-throw to put the Danes up two, 59-57, Stony Brook’s Dave Coley hit the lane, was fouled and hit both free throws to tie the game at 59 with 12 seconds left.
As the inbound pass was made, UAlbany head coach Will Brown signaled for Black to try and win the game and he did so with the same type of drive he had in UAlbany’s upset over the University of Washington in November, pushing the Great Danes to the America East Finals.
Black led the Great Dane charge with 16 points while Jacob Iati and Sam Rowley added 14 and 11, respectively. Carson Pureifoy led the Seawolves with 16 points while Dave Coley added 15.
After the game, students stormed the court to celebrate the upset “It’s an amazing feeling right now…but we’re still on our journey. It’s not over yet.” said Black in an interview with the Troy Record.
Coach Will Brown underscored the teams focus going into the championship next week; “We’re not happy just getting there.” The Great Danes will play at the University of Vermont on Saturday, March 16 in Patrick Gym for the America East Conference Tournament Championship.