HAMILTON, N.Y.- On Thanksgiving Eve, University at Albany men’s basketball (2-2) downed Colgate (1-4) 75-71 on the road to take its record back to .500. Sam Rowley paved the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
In an up and down game early, the teams started a combined 0-for-3 from the field with three turnovers. Colgate got out to a 9-4 lead after the pace settled down.
The Great Danes found the break they needed, after Mike Rowley forced Colgate’s center Ethan Jacobs into two early fouls. Rowley sank four free throws to put UAlbany within three points.
With a field goal drought of four minutes, Sam Rowley began to assert himself in the post. The senior captain converted on a lay-in for his fourth points of the game. At the ensuing media timeout the Rowley’s had combined for eight of the Purple & Gold’s 12 points.
Wheeler Baker came in for a spark off the bench, taking advantage of a shooter’s rim to give UAlbany its first lead 21-20. Baker’s three was the third on consecutive possessions for Will Brown’s squad.
Evan Singletary opened the Purple & Gold’s largest lead of the half, 29-26 with two minutes left in the period on a baseline jumper.
From the time of Jacobs’s second foul at 13:20, UAlbany went on a 22-15 run to conclude the first half. After the first 20 minutes of play, Will Brown’s squad had half as many turnovers as Colgate (8-4). Despite the Raiders shooting 57.1% (12-for-21) from the field, the teams were deadlocked at 29.
Halftime against the Raiders marks the first time UAlbany entered the break without the lead in the 2014-15 season.
The Great Danes opened the second half with a hot shooting hand. UAlbany made five of its first seven shots, including a three-pointer from Hooley to take a five-point lead with two minutes gone.
Hooley drained two more threes before five minutes had expired in the half. At the 11-minute mark UAlbany was 7-for-11 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point land.
Sanders and Sam Rowley poured on the stats mid-way through the period. Sanders scored 10 of his 14 points in the first 10 minutes of the half, while Sam Rowley had notched his first double-double of the year at the under-12 media timeout.
Despite having three fouls for much of the second period, Colgate’s Ethan Jacobs scored 12 of his 14 points in the final 20 minutes. He and Damon Sherman-Newsome led the Raiders on an 8-4 run with six minutes remaining to narrow the lead to four, 59-55.
The teams went scoreless for the next 3:30, before Hooley converted on one of two free throws with 3:24 on the clock.
As the Great Danes brought the ball down the floor with a five-point lead, Singletary gave UAlbany a little more breathing room with a three.
A battle at the free throw line ensued, as Sanders and Sam Rowley combined to go 5-for-6 from the charity stripe with the game down to 40 seconds remaining.
Hooley and Dallas Ennema put the game away at the free throw line, finishing with a team free throw percentage of .720 (18-for-25). Colgate shot just eight free throws.
Sam Rowley recorded his first double-double of the year (18 pts, 11 rebs), while his brother Mike tallied nine points and five boards.
Four Great Danes posted double figures in scoring, including Sam Rowley (18), Hooley (14), Sanders (14) and Singletary (14). The Purple & Gold scored a season-high 75 points along with a 2014-15 best nine made threes.
The Purple & Gold visits the Mountain West’s UNLV (3-1) in Sin City at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET.