Bruce Dudek

Men's Basketball Knocks Off Hartford for First Conference Victory

UAlbany Sports Information   01-26-2019

Score: UAlbany 84, Hartford 77

Location: SEFCU Arena in Albany, N.Y.

Records: UAlbany (6-15, 1-5 AE); Hartford (10-11, 3-3 AE)

Short Story: UAlbany notches its first America East victory of the season, holding on to knock off visiting Hartford 84-77. 

Coach Brown: “First, I’d like to say we had a great day today.  We had a young man, Tyhlar Goudreau, though the Make-A-Wish Foundation, spend the day with us, at film, shootaround, team meal, and on the bench.  I’d like to thank the people at Make-A-Wish and I’d like to thank our Associate Athletic Director Charlie Voelker, for allowing us to be a part of that experience.  With regards to the game, I’m proud of our guys.  Hartford is the most experienced team in the league.  They have five starters back from last year and they’re all seniors.  I think I was the only one that wasn’t relaxed when we got the big lead.  But again, the team is growing up right in front of you.  We found a couple ways to lose our last two, and I think this team was just determined and desperate to win today.  I think they were thoroughly disappointed in the Stony Brook loss because we had a tremendous crowd.  We had a good crowd again today that was behind us.  All we talked about down the stretch was finishing the job.  We had to play a lot of offense with our defensive lineup on the floor against their zone, but we just found ways to make a few more plays than Hartford did and win the game.  Hopefully we can use this as momentum moving forward and get a lot of one-game winning streaks.

Key Stats 

  • UAlbany opened the game on an 8-1 run
  • UAlbany hit 10 of its first 13 shots, including five of eight from three
  • UAlbany led wire-to-wire
  • Ahmad Clark scored a game-high 22 points
  • Antonio Rizzuto scored 21 points for the second-straight game
  • Four Great Danes scored in double-figures
  • All five Hawks’ starters scored in double-figures
  • Hartford scored just three points off the bench

Recap

Losers of five straight, the University at Albany men’s basketball team snapped their season-high skid, knocking off Hartford 84-77 to secure the first conference victory of the season, and the first victory of 2019. 

Saturday’s matchup featured the America East’s first and third ranked three-point shooting teams in Hartford and UAlbany, respectively, as well as the top two individual three-point shooters in UAlbany’s Cameron Healy and Hartford’s J.R. Lynch.

The Great Danes came out firing, opening the game on an 8-1 run.  UAlbany quickly opened up a 10-point advantage before three minutes had elapsed with Ahmad Clark’s transition layup to put the Danes up 13-3.

UAlbany hit nine of its first 12 shots, including five of its first eight from three, to build a 22-7 lead with 14:11 left in the first.  Antonio Rizzuto, who scored a career-high 21 points against Stony Brook, had accounted for 11 points already, shooting 3-4 from three early in the game.  Defensively, UAlbany had forced six turnovers in the first seven and a half minutes.

After trailing by as many as 17, Hartford hit a three with 5:45 left in the first to cut the lead to 10.  Hartford cut the lead to seven with a three-pointer with 2:50 remaining before UAlbany pulled away again to take a 14-point lead into halftime.

The Great Danes led by double-digits despite not hitting a field goal for the final 2:46 of the half.  Clark led all scorers with 13 points, followed by Rizzuto with 12.  Healy and Adam Lulka each added nine.  For the half, UAlbany shot 53.3% from the floor, and scored 15 points off of 10 Hartford turnovers. 

Early in the second, UAlbany extended its lead to 18 after a three-pointer from Healy.  Soon after, the Danes suffered a scoring drought that lasted nearly four minutes, but Hartford was unable to fully capitalize, cutting the lead to 12 but shooting 1-7 from the floor.

Rizzuto broke the scoring drought with a three with 13:04 remaining to put UAlbany up 62-47. 

Hartford cut the lead to nine with 7:00 left in the second with a three-pointer, bringing the score to 70-61.  The Hawks had hit six of their last eight field goals, and had held UAlbany scoreless for the previous 2:03.

Hartford hit another three with 6:23 to go to cut the lead to 72-64.  On the other end, Rizzuto drew a foul shooting a three and made all three free throws to put UAlbany back up 11.

With five minutes to go, Hartford had closed back within eight.  After the Hawks scored a layup on a broken play to close within six with 4:20 to go, UAlbany called a timeout.  A Hartford layup-and-one cut the lead to three with 3:50 remaining. 

Clark drew a foul on a layup on the other end, putting UAlbany back up six after the free throw.  Hartford missed two free throws after drawing a foul on their next possession, leaving UAlbany with a six-point lead with 3:12 left.

Healy hit a three to put UAlbany up nine with 2:29 to go, and the Great Dane defense forced a turnover on Hartford’s ensuing possession.  Devonte Campbell put UAlbany up double-digits after hitting one of two free throws.

UAlbany went on to win 84-77.  The team had broken through after suffering consecutive one-point overtime losses in their previous two games.  Clark led all scorers with 22 points, followed by Rizzuto, who matched his career-high 21.  Healy added 19 and Lulka added 13.  All five starters for Hartford scored in double-figures, but the Hawks only scored three points of the bench.

Next: UAlbany hits the road for one game at New Hampshire on Wednesday, January 30 before returning to SEFCU Arena to host Binghamton on Saturday, February 2 for this year’s Big Purple Growl.

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