Men's Basketball Opens Conference Play With A Slam Dunk Over UMBC, 65-48
ALBANY, N.Y. - The University at Albany took care of business to begin the America East Conference schedule with a win over UMBC, 65-48, on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes are now 6-6 in conference openers through their first 12 seasons in the league.
"I thought we buckled down in the second half, took a deep breath, and defended to finish well," said head coach Will Brown on the first conference win. "Offensively, we started to attack the rim, instead of playing east-west we went north-south, which put them in foul trouble to get our team to the free-throw line, grab a couple layup, and played the way we are capable of playing."
UAlbany (12-3, 1-0 America East) were led by tandem senior guards Mike Black and Jacob Iati, who scored game-highs 17 and 15 points, respectively. Redshirt-freshman guard Peter Hooley and sophomore forward Sam Rowley each gave strong performances off the bench. Rowley tallied eight points and seven rebounds and Hooley recorded eight points and five assists.
The Great Danes opened up the first half led by Iati's first eight points to go up, 10-5, with 16:20 left. The York, Pa. hit his first two of his three total three-pointers in the stretch.
UAlbany did not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the half, extending the lead to as much as nine and finish the half up six, 30-24. Black and Iati combined for 19 of the team's 30 first-half points.
UMBC (2-12, 0-1 America East) cut the deficit to as low as four, 32-28, with 16:54 remaining in the contest. The Retriever's player of the game, Brett Roseboro, scored four of his team-high 12 points during the run.
However, the Great Danes offense turned up the head for the final 16 minutes of the game, extending their lead to as high as 22 points, 57-35, with 6:01 left. As a team, UAlbany used precision free-throw shooting to put UMBC away, shooting 14-of-16 from the charity stripe in the final 16 minutes and win its sixth conference opener in program history.
"I felt like we played the second half to the best of our abilities," said co-captain senior center Blake Metcalf on the 17-point win over UMBC. "We defended well, executed well, which we have struggled a bit. Overall we finished the game, which we have been working on a lot even though we have lost a few leads, tonight we put them away when we needed to."
The Great Danes outshot the Retrievers, 45.5 percent (20-44) to 34.5 percent (19-55) from the floor and from the free-throw line, 80.0 percent (20-25) to 55.6 percent (5-9). UAlbany was also efficient on the glass out rebounding UMBC, 36-28.
UAlbany, winners of 9 of 10 and currently on a three-game winning streak, go to Burlington, Vt. to face Vermont on Saturday, Jan 5 at Patrick Gymnasium. Tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.