DJ Evans Scores Game-High 18 Points in 58-46 Loss at RV/RV Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, PA.- DJ Evans scored 15 in the second half and 18 total to lead UAlbany (6-7) in scoring in a 58-46 loss at Pittsburgh (12-1). The senior point guard went 4-for-6 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
The Great Danes came out shooting well against the Panthers. Junior forward Sam Rowley had four early points, and Evans hit his first three just before the first media timeout with the shot clock winding down. UAlbany was 4-for-5 from the field to open the game.
UAlbany went 2-for-9 following the first media timeout and committed three turnovers, but poor three-point and free throw shooting by Pitt kept the Purple & Gold in the game. The Panthers were 0-for-7 from 3-point land and 0-for-6 from the charity stripe in the first half.
Will Brown’s squad closed the first half on an eight-minute scoring drought as Pittsburgh’s Cam Wright scored eight straight points. The Panthers had a 28-18 lead at the half.
UAlbany faced its largest scoring drought of the season against the Panthers. Evans ended a 13-minute field goal skid with a jumper at the 14:56 mark of the second half to make the score 36-22. Peter Hooley made two free throws with just over a minute gone in the half to end the scoring skid. The last time the Great Danes went so long without scoring was against Brown on Dec. 10, when they didn’t score for the final 10:28 of the contest.
In addition to scoring struggles, UAlbany opened the second half with four turnovers against Pitt’s 2-3 zone. But the Panthers continued to have trouble at the free throw line. Despite shooting 16 free throws, Talib Zanna was the first Panther to for 2-for-2 from the line with 10:47 left in the game. Pitt took its largest lead of the game shortly thereafter, 46-30.
“I thought our guys played extremely hard,” said Brown. I thought the zone was the difference. They’ve got good length and they were active. In the second half after we got down we settled down, and we were more efficient. We gave a great effort today.”
Evans closed the gap by making four consecutive free throws. The Great Danes narrowed Pitt’s margin to as many as seven points with three minutes left on a made free throw by Hooley and a lay-up from John Puk. The Purple & Gold committed one turnover in the final 12:07; but Pitt made six free throws in the final 1:33 of the game, despite only going 3-for-10 to that point.
The Panthers had 14 fast break points and 10 second chance points off of 11 offensive rebounds.
Evans made four 3-pointers, the most for UAlbany since Hooley made five at Rider on Nov. 26. The Great Danes totaled their highest number of three-point field goals as a team (five) since making seven against the Broncs.
Sam Rowley nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds. The junior also tallied a career-high five assists.
Peter Hooley had 10 points to go with three rebounds and three assists.
UAlbany (6-7) begins conference play at home on Jan. 4 against Hartford (5-9). Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., at SEFCU Arena.