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Seventeen Second-Half Points from Evans Propel Men’s Basketball over NJIT 66-55

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Seventeen Second-Half Points from Evans Propel Men’s Basketball over NJIT 66-55

 

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NEWARK, N.J.- The University at Albany men’s basketball team (4-3) used a big second half effort to down NJIT (4-4) in Newark 66-55 on Sunday afternoon.

The Great Danes got out to a slow start behind 1-of-8 (.125) shooting before the first media timeout. The Highlanders opened the game 5-for-7 from the field (.714), taking an early 13-3 lead.

UAlbany continued to struggle shooting, going on two four-minute field goal droughts early on. A steal and the ensuing basket from Gary Johnson gave the Purple & Gold some life at the 10-minute mark. Anders Haas hit UAlbany’s only three-pointer of the half with just under six minutes remaining in the half.

The Great Danes began forcing NJIT into poor shots late in the shot clock, and the Highlanders finished the first half shooting 6-for-22 after starting 5-for-7. The Highlanders found themselves in a four-minute field goal drought of their own late in the half.

For the sixth time this season, UAlbany entered the locker room down at halftime, 26-19. The team’s 19 points is the second-lowest point total for Will Brown’s squad in the first half this season. Johnson led UAlbany with eight points after the first 20 minutes.

DJ Evans scored all of his 17 points in the second half on 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range and 5-for-8 from the field. The senior made his first four shots of the half, including two threes to tie the game at 33 with 15:33 remaining.

John Puk gave UAlbany its first lead after Hooley found him in the paint on the break for an and-one. Puk made the free throw to give the Great Danes their first lead since the score was 2-0.

Both teams began racking up fouls mid-way through the second half. UAlbany was in the bonus with 9:15 left in the contest.

Evans made his third three of the game with 3:41 remaining to give the Great Danes its largest lead to that point and keep the game out of reach for NJIT.

For the third time this season, UAlbany went into the locker room down at halftime, but rebounded to win. The Great Danes scored 47 points in the second half behind 11-for-22 (.500) shooting. The Purple & Gold shot just 25.9% (7-27) from the field in the first half.

UAlbany continued its trend of making more free throws than its opponent attempted at NJIT. The Great Danes made 22 free throws in the second half (22-27, .815) while the Highlanders shot just 12 in the entire game.

Gary Johnson returned to the line-up for Will Brown, scoring 12 points and bringing down a career-high seven boards.

Starting center John Puk had two blocks against NJIT, giving him 74 for his career and enough to pass former teammate Blake Metcalf on the UAlbany career blocks leaderboard. Puk now ranks eighth all-time in career blocks and second among Division I players. He needs two more blocks to become the Division I program leader in career blocks.

Five Great Danes scored 10 points or more, led by Evans with 17. Johnson and Sam Rowley had 12 points apiece and Hooley and Puk each tallied 10. Rowley was the leading rebounder against the Highlanders with 9.

UAlbany continues its four-game road trip at Holy Cross on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.


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