Men’s Basketball Kicks Off 2014 With Program-High 16 Threes to Down Hartford 81-56
Men’s Basketball Kicks off 2014 With Program-High 16 Threes to Down Hartford 81-56
The Purple & Gold made a Division I program-high 16 threes against the Hawks. Evans and Hooley notched six apiece, while Dallas Ennema made two and Anders Haas hit one. The previous single-game record for three-pointers made was 15, set at South Carolina State last season. UAlbany entered the game against Hartford making a league-low 3.8 threes per game, while the Hawks led the league in the category with 7.4 per game. Hartford made six threes against the Great Danes.
Hooley’s 25 points and six made threes marks a new career high for the sophomore guard. Evans matched his career high in points with 20 while making a career-best six threes, all in the second half.
The Great Danes got off to a hot shooting start. Gary Johnson hit two jumpers early and Hooley made a quick three to make UAlbany 4-for-5 from the field in the early-going. By the seven-minute mark in the first half, Hooley had already made four threes. The sophomore shooting guard ended the first half with 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting from behind the arc.
“It was nothing but net,” said Hooley. “It’s a good feeling, but other people work off of that energy too, so that’s good for the team.”
UAlbany went on a 14-0 run mid-way through the first half to open up a 15-point lead. The league’s leading scorer, Hartford’s Mark Nwakamma stayed on the bench late in the first half with two fouls. The Purple & Gold led by as many as 20 in the opening period and went into the locker room at the break with a 39-30 lead.
Nwakamma came out in the second half with four-straight points after scoring just four in the first half. UAlbany responded with a baseline jumper from John Puk, and one of six second-half threes from Evans.
Will Brown’s squad extended its lead back to 15 with 14:21 left on a three from Evans, and the Great Danes didn’t look back. UAlbany comfortably held a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game and a 20-point lead or more for the final 10 minutes of the contest.
“We were coming into conference play with two losses, but we thought those two losses made us better,” said Brown. “We’re a team that gets better as the season goes on. It was a great effort tonight.”
In addition to great three-point shooting, UAlbany also out-rebounded the Hawks 37-14. The Great Danes had more offensive rebounds (10) than Hartford had on the defensive end (9). Hartford’s Nwakamma was held to 13 points, and he was the only Hawk in double figures.
The Purple & Gold scored a season-high 81 points, the program’s highest point total since its 83-55 win at South Carolina State on Nov. 20, 2012. UAlbany’s 14-for-23 (.696) clip from three-point land also ranks second in 3-point field goal percentage in the Division I era. Hooley and Evans were both one three shy of matching the program’s individual single-game record of seven made treys.
With a 6-for-8 (.750) performance from the three-point line, Evans matched a single-game program high in three-point shooting percentage.
“It felt like I couldn’t miss,” said Evans. “I have to give credit to my team, Peter [Hooley] found me a lot in the second half for the open shot, so it was a great job by him too. The basket felt big tonight, so I was just taking the shot. Confidence is a big factor when it comes to conference play. We’re 1-0 so we just have to put that game behind us and take one game at a time.”
UAlbany continued its trend of making more free throws than its opponent attempts against the Hawks. The Great Danes went 15-for-17 (.882) from the charity stripe, and allowed Hartford just10 free throws.
Puk collected a game-high nine rebounds and Hooley dished out a game-high six assists to match his season high.
The defending America East Champions will carry the momentum of their first league win into a game against UMBC (4-9, 0-0 AE) at SEFCU Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.