ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – University at Albany men’s basketball (19-6, 8-2 AE) used an explosive second-half performance to beat Vermont (14-11, 6-4 AE) by a score of 75-71 at SEFCU Arena on Saturday night. Evan Singletary notched 20 points in the second half and converted on six of the team’s 13 field goals in the final 20 minutes.
“I was really impressed with how ready Vermont was to play,” said head coach Will Brown. “They took it to us in the first half; we were lethargic offensively and we had to match Vermont’s energy and enthusiasm. I’m proud of the way we picked ourselves up in the second half, and we played our style of basketball in a meaningful game.”
UAlbany got out to a short-lived first-half lead, 11-7 behind four quick points from Ray Sanders. After a slow start-up front, Vermont came back to tie the game at 16 as UAlbany went 0-for-3 from the field with one turnover. The Catamounts saw Ernie Duncan score their next eight points to take a four-point edge, 26-22.
Sanders drained a three at the 9:06 mark, but the Purple & gold went without a field goal over the next seven minutes and 45 seconds. Brown’s squad went 0-for-8 from the field, but kept the game close by limiting turnovers. Typically a stellar free throw shooting team, the Danes missed a few freebies to net just three points over a five-minute span.
Going into the break down 41-31, UAlbany had more trouble as its starting frontcourt of Mike Rowley and Greig Stire both recorded two fouls. The Catamounts shot 16-for-24 (.667) from the field in the opening stanza, with 15 points from Duncan. The Purple & Gold went 9-for-26 (.346).
But the sold out crowd at SEFCU Arena along with Singletary’s hot start willed UAlbany back to life. The senior kicked off the period with a steal and bucket to narrow the margin to eight points, 41-33. The Catamounts went 1-for-5 (.200) to give the Great Danes the window they needed to mount a comeback.
Peter Hooley tallied five consecutive points, including a corner three to narrow Vermont’s lead to four, 47-43. The Danes regained control at the 11:07 mark 52-49 for the first time since the under-eight media timeout in the first half. Brown’s squad used a 16-2 run mid-way through the second half to capture a five-point lead, 54-49 with 10:42 on the clock. Of the 16-point spurt, Hooley scored eight while Singletary notched six.
UAlbany continued to take care of the ball, recording just one turnover in 16 minutes in the second half; but Vermont finally emerged from its shooting funk to come within two, 70-68 late. After a 3-for-11 stretch, the Catamounts knocked down from the charity stripe and added a Duncan three. Cam Ward’s and-one put Becker & co., on top 71-70 with 1:48 left.
Singletary stepped up to make four free throws and put the game out of reach. Vermont made just two field goals in the final five minutes, shooting 2-for-7.
UAlbany secured a Division I program-best five game winning streak against Vermont on Saturday night. The Great Danes have won 16 straight games at home and 11 consecutive contests at SEFCU Arena in 2015-16.
Against the Catamounts, the Purple & Gold attempted a season-high 37 free throws and committed a season-low six turnovers. Peter Hooley and Evan Singletary led Brown’s squad with 20 points apiece. Ray Sanders joined his backcourt teammates in double digits with 10.
Next up, UAlbany men’s basketball visits Binghamton (5-18, 2-8 AE) on Monday at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3/WatchESPN.