ALBANY, N.Y. – With just one game remaining in the home non-conference slate, University at Albany men’s basketball (8-4) extended its SEFCU Arena winning streak to 10 games on Saturday with a 65-58 win at the hands of Saint Francis (Pa.) (4-6).
“We started playing really good basketball after going down 9-0 early, so that fire alarm couldn’t have come at a worse time,” said head coach Will Brown. “We had our momentum and the delay definitely help our opposition, we were in a good rhythm on both sides of the ball. Saint Francis really responded to it, and we did not. For the middle part of the second half we played really well, but we need to close out games a little better.”
Finding themselves in an early 9-0 hole, the Great Danes went 0-for-5 from the field with two turnovers in the first four minutes. Ray Sanders hit two free throws for UAlbany’s first two points at the 16:22 mark.
But Will Brown’s squad climbed out of its shooting slump to put together a 17-4 run. The Purple & Gold took its first lead, 14-13 on a lay-in from Evan Singletary. In the meantime, the Red Flash went 2-for-8 (.250) from the field with five turnovers. After kicking off the game 0-for-5 shooting, UAlbany shot 10-for-16 (.625) from the field over the next eight minutes. Richard Peters totaled six points in the midst of the Danes run to take a 17-14 lead.
After being taken down hard under the basket on an offensive rebound, Joe Cremo stepped up to make two free throws. Despite the distraction of a fire alarm, Peter Hooley drained two more from the charity stripe shortly after to put the Purple & Gold up 27-20.
Following a 45-minute delay due to fire alarm protocol, the Great Danes and Red Flash returned to the floor to complete the final 6:55 of the first half. The teams traded three-pointers out of the break, but Saint Francis brought the game within two before halftime, 34-32. In the final 6:55 of the first, UAlbany shot 2-for-9 (.222), while the Red Flash went 3-for-5 in the last two minutes.
The Danes posted just four turnovers in the first half, and Singletary led scoring for Brown with eight points. UAlbany went for eight second-chance points and gave up none, while taking a 22-12 edge in points in the paint.
Saint Francis quickly tied the game to open the second half, but a 12-5 spurt put UAlbany up eight, matching its largest lead 47-39 with 14 minutes to play. Five different Great Danes scored in the run, including Hooley, Singletary, Cremo, Peters and Mike Rowley.
The Red Flash crept back within three, but Rob Krimmel’s squad continued to lose the rebounding battle. UAlbany took advantage of second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass to go on an unanswered 11-point tear late in the half, earning a 15-point lead, 62-47. The Danes finished with 13 second-chance points in the second half on eight offensive rebounds.
After missing a few free throws down the stretch, UAlbany held on to take a seven-point win, 65-58. Including a 45-minute delay with seven minutes of additional warm-up time, Saturday night’s contest took two hours and 34 minutes.
The Purple & Gold recorded a season-low seven turnovers, while forcing 15 for the Red Flash. UAlbany also attempted more than five times as many free throws (25-4). The Red Flash did not attempt a free throw in the final 28 minutes of the contest.
Peter Hooley led the Danes with 14 points. Mike Rowley finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Richard Peters matched his career high with eight points. Saint Francis (Pa.) guard Greg Brown notched 18 of the Red Flash’s 26 second-half points.
Next up, UAlbany men’s basketball hosts Niagara (3-8) at SEFCU Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 7:00pm.