Great Dane-asty! Peter Hooley’s Last-Second Trey Sends Men’s Basketball to the Big Dance for Third-Straight Year
ALBANY, N.Y. – Fate stepped in on Saturday afternoon for Peter Hooley, as the junior sank a three with 1.6 seconds left to seal University at Albany men’s basketball’s (24-8) third-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Danes defeated Stony Brook (23-11) 51-50 at a sold out SEFCU Arena.
“Ray [Sanders] drove and put up a shot. Then Sam Rowley got a hand on it and tipped it back. I saw it rolling towards me, and Sam pointed to the rim,” said Hooley I guess he wanted me to throw it up to him, but I decided to shoot it anyway. When you’ve got angels watching you, you can do anything.”
Both teams struggled from the field early on, with just six points between them in the first 10 minutes. UAlbany went 1-for-10 from the field in the first seven minutes with no turnovers.
Hooley came off the bench to make the score 4-2, and Greig Stire made it 6-2 shortly thereafter at the 11-minute mark. Richard Peters got in on the scoring to give UAlbany what was its largest lead of the game, 10-4 with 8:30 on the clock.
The Seawolves went on a 4-0 run to come within two, but another basket off the hands of Peters maintained a two-possession lead.
But Stony Brook would not let up to end the half. UAlbany went 0-for-7 from the field to close the period, victims of a 10-4 Seawolves run. Stony Brook took a 20-16 lead into the locker room. The Purple & Gold’s 16 points in the opening stanza stands as the lowest total for a team at half of the league title game all-time.
Jameel Warney had 12 of Stony Brook’s 20 first-half points. The America East Player of the Year also had nine boards at the break. The Danes shot just 6-for-29 (.207) from the field in the first half. Hooley led the way with six points.
In the second half, UAlbany skirted with closing the game to one possession, but Stony Brook went up seven with 13 minutes to play, 33-28. After going 0-for-7 from the field with just two points in the first half, Sam Rowley heated up for six of the Purple & Gold’s first nine points of the second.
The Seawolves answered the call, continuing to pound the glass to keep its distance. A Carson Puriefoy three gave Steve Pikiell’s squad its largest lead of the game, 41-33 with just over six minutes to play.
Ray Sanders, Evan Singletary and Hooley combined for a 5-0 Dane run to cut the Stony Brook lead to three, 41-38, but Puriefoy came back with two more treys. The junior Seawolves guard finished with 18 points in the second half.
Down seven with less than three minutes to play, UAlbany’s zone saw Stony Brook’s lead cut to four shortly after. A Rowley lay-in put the score at 49-46 with one minute to go.
Mike Rowley stepped in to make two crucial free throws to make it a one-point game, 49-48 with 23 seconds to go. The sophomore grabbed an offensive board, one of 15 on the day for the Danes to draw the foul. Rowley had all seven of his rebounds in the second half.
Hooley fouled one of Stony Brook’s best free throw shooters in Puriefoy on the inbounds. The junior missed the second of a two-shot opportunity to give the Danes a shot at a tie for two or the win for three.
Sanders grabbed the rebound off the Puriefoy miss and drove left. The junior’s shot was strong off the glass, but a tip back to the top of the key fell directly into the hands of Hooley. The junior stepped in to sink the game-winner with 1.6 seconds on the clock for the 51-50 victory.
UAlbany will make its third consecutive and fifth overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Danes are the first team to win the America East Title in three consecutive seasons since Vermont in 2003-05. The Purple & Gold’s five conference titles is third-most all-time among America East programs, and ties Will Brown for the most titles for any coach with Jim Calhoun at Northeastern.
“We did what we do,” said Will Brown. “We find ways to win games, and we just made plays down the stretch. We played more zone in the second half than we have in all of our conference games combined this year. I don’t think we could’ve drawn up a more fitting ending, than for the ball to end up in Peter Hooley’s hands.”
The Purple Fam helped the America East to its best postseason attendance since 2005, rounding out at 21,292.
Peter Hooley’s inspiring performance earned him Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player honors for the second-straight year. He becomes the fifth player to take the award in consecutive tournaments.2015 AMERICA EAST ALL-CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM:
Most Outstanding Player: Peter Hooley UAlbany
Peter Hooley, UAlbany
Sam Rowley, UAlbany
Carson Puriefoy, Stony Brook
Jameel Warney, Stony Brook
Jaleen Smith, New Hampshire
The UAlbany Great Danes will await their fate in the NCAA Tournament, learning their selection on Sunday, March 15 on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Selection show on CBS at 6:00 p.m. ET.