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Stony Brook halts MBB winning streak at 13

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By Brendan Reilly 

Contributing Writer

sports.asp@gmail.com

Feb. 19, 2015

Photo from UAlbany Athletics. Mike Rowley's strong defensive effort wasn't enough to stop Stony Brook.
Photo from UAlbany Athletics. Mike Rowley’s strong defensive effort wasn’t enough to stop Stony Brook.

It was a bittersweet return to SEFCU Arena for Peter Hooley. Although he got some playing time against non-conference opponent NJIT on Friday, Hooley did not play down the stretch for the Great Danes in their 59-56 loss to Stony Brook. His first home game back from a month-long hiatus in Australia did not go as well as the team hoped.

Coming into Tuesday, the University at Albany had a 13-game winning streak, and had not lost to an America East opponent. The Great Danes had even beaten the Stony Brook Seawolves earlier in the season by a score of 64-47, without Hooley. However, Stony Brook big man Jameel Warney wasn’t going to let that happen again. Warney put up 20 points and 11 rebounds to go with five blocks. He dominated the offensive glass in the second half, and made it extremely difficult for the Great Danes to score in the paint.

Stony Brook made the most out of their second and third chances, while UAlbany did not.

“I just thought we got out-toughed on the glass big time in the second half,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown. “We beat them up on the offensive glass in the first half and had nothing to show for it.”

The Rowley brothers, Sam and Mike, did an admirable job of battling the defending America East Player of the Year in Warney. The two Australian brothers combined for 19 rebounds, and did as best as they could defending Warney in the low-post. Sam Rowley even put up a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. However, Warney was simply too much to handle for UAlbany.

“He was given a hard task. I thought Mike did a good job. I think that I didn’t do a good enough job helping him at times. He was making Warney take tough shots but then I was letting McGrew get the rebounds. I think he did a good job,” said Sam Rowley.

The Great Danes held the lead for most of the game, and even had an 11-point lead nearing the end of the first half. However, Stony Brook went on an 11-2 run in the last three minutes of the first half and narrowed UAlbany’s lead to just one basket.

In the second half UAlbany and Stony Brook traded blow after blow. Stony Brook’s largest lead of the game was only a 6-point difference with just under four minutes to go. After that point, UAlbany battled back to make it a one-possession game on multiple occasions, but could never get over the hump.

UAlbany’s best shot at a late comeback was with 20 seconds left, when Ray Sanders found himself wide-open in the left corner for three, which would have put UAlbany up 59-57. It rimmed in and out, sealing the game for Stony Brook.

Although UAlbany is no longer one of the five teams in the NCAA with an undefeated conference record (Kentucky, Gonzaga, NC Central and Murray State remain), head coach Will Brown is not fazed by how this loss could disrupt their season.

“We’re a one-bid league. We’d all like to win the regular season title. I think every single coach would trade in the regular season title for the conference tournament title, just because one team is going to the NCAA tournament from the league. We have to find a way to win the conference tournament,” Brown said.

Even with the loss to Stony Brook, UAlbany is the conference favorite to earn the top seed for the America East tournament. UAlbany next plays Hartford on Friday, Feb. 20 at SEFCU Arena at 7 p.m.

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