Puk's Powerful Performance Pushes UAlbany Past Fairfield, 58-50
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -Junior center John Puk's strong performance of 13 points and seven rebounds (three offensive) led the University at Albany past Fairfield University, 58-50, on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Webster Bank Arena. The Great Danes have eclipsed the 20-win plateau for the third time in their Division I program history.
Puk paced UAlbany (20-9, 10-4 Away) with 13 points on 5-of-6 from the free-throw line and seven rebounds. The Great Danes found contribution from six other players, scoring at least four points or more. UAlbany recorded 11 steals for the game, which was just the second time this season with 10 steals or more in a game.
A closely contested game in the first half, fans saw seven different score changes and three times with game tied. Neither team grabbed a lead more than three points for the first 15 minutes of play.
The Great Danes took over the final five minutes of the first half, going on a 7-3 run to grab a seven-point lead, 26-19, with 1:38 left. UAlbany used scoring in the paint with Mike Black and Sam Rowley's offense in the paint to help cap the run.
Taking a three-point lead, 27-24, in to the second half, UAlbany took over the contest early. The Great Danes began the half on a 7-0 run that was sparked by Puk's inside-the-paint presence, scoring five of the seven points during the run. UA led 34-24 with 17:10 left in the contest.
Both teams traded baskets for the next 10 minutes with the Great Danes going a perfect 6-of-6, combined by DJ Evans' 4-of-4 and Gary Johnson's 2-of-2 to put the lead up to 10, 47-37, with 4:40 left in the game,
Fairfield (17-12, 9-5 Home) went on a 13-9 run to cut the deficit to six, 56-50, with 29 seconds remaining. The Stags' Marcus Gilbert hit a contested three in the right corner to get Fairfield within two possessions.
Evans sealed the game for the Great Danes with his second steal of the game and hit one-of-two from the free-throw line to improve UAlbany's record in the BracketBuster to 2-3 all-time.
The win gives UAlbany 20 wins overall and 10 true road wins for the season.
The Great Danes will play their final home game in the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 28 against New Hampshire at SEFCU Arena. UAlbany will honor seniors Jayson Guerrier, Blake Metcalf, Jacob Iati (again), and Mike Black on Thursday.