Team effort leads MBB past UMBC
By Aaron Cheris
Jan. 28, 2015
Call the University at Albany men’s basketball team butter, ‘cause they’re on a roll.
With a strong defensive performance and balanced team offense, UAlbany was able to beat the University of Maryland, Baltimore County 69-55 on Sunday night at SEFCU Arena to stay perfect in America East conference play.
“I was concerned coming into this game,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “We did what we needed to do, get the win, and now we move forward.”
UMBC (3-17, 1-6 America East) started the game on a 4-0 run, but UAlbany (12-7, 7-0 America East) went on a run of its own shortly after. Sam Rowley got the Great Danes on the board, and Richard Peters hit a layup to give UAlbany an early lead. Freshman Wheeler Baker then hit a three pointer to give the Great Danes a double digit lead less than eight minutes into the first half.
Following a UMBC run, Dallas Ennema made a three pointer. On UAlbany’s next possession, transfer student Evan Signletary made a three pointer of his own. Not to be outdone, Ennema hit another three pointer less than a minute later. Sam Rowley then found younger brother Mike for a layup underneath the basket with about a minute left in the half. With just seconds to play in the half, Baker made a running layup to send the Great Danes to the locker room with a 13 point lead.
In the second half, UAlbany’s depth proved to be strong. Freshman Greg Stire went through multiple defenders to make a layup. Ennema than hit a three pointer from right in front of the UAlbany bench to extend the UAlbany lead.
Later in the half, Mike Rowley appeared to hit his head on the floor after going for a rebound. He was taken out of the game and did not return. After the game, Brown said that Rowley probably doesn’t have a concussion and could play in UAlbany’s next game.
Another transfer student, Ray Sanders, left his mark on the game after stealing a UMBC pass and taking the ball the length of the court before throwing down a one-handed dunk that sent the SEFCU Arena crowd to its feet. On the next UAlbany possession, Sanders hit a three pointer to keep the crowd on its feet.
The rest of the second half was a tough contest, with both teams scoring at a high pace. A three pointer by Baker late in the half put the game out of reach for the Retrievers.
“I think that’s the source of our success,” Sam Rowley said of UAlbany’s depth. Four Great Danes finished with double-digit point totals. Baker had 14 to lead for the Great Danes and Evan Singletary grabbed eight rebounds to lead all players.
Up next, UAlbany will travel to arch-rival Vermont to play the Catamounts on Wednesday night. It is a game that has a lot of hype surrounding it, as UAlbany has ended Vermont’s title hopes each of the last two seasons. “I want to get up there and beat them badly on Wednesday,” Brown said.
For some of the newer Great Danes, the game doesn’t have that type of significance yet. “I’m excited for every basketball game,” Singletary said when asked if he was excited to go to Vermont.
UAlbany and UMBC will play again in Baltimore on Feb. 25.