Career Highs from Hooley and Wiegmann Lead Men’s Basketball Past Rider 70-59

 

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LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J.- Senior David Wiegmann dominated the boards, finishing with 14, and sophomore guard Peter Hooley notched a new career-high 24 points to lead University at Albany men’s basketball (3-3) over Rider (1-3) 70-59 on Tuesday night.

“We finally played the first half of basketball,” said head coach Will Brown. “It was a good team effort. Peter got us going early and David was outstanding on the glass. Everyone that played contributed, so it’s a good win.”

Hooley got off to a hot start, hitting two of his career-high five three-pointers before the first media timeout. The Great Danes got out to a 10-2 lead in the opening minutes behind Hooley’s eight points and four rebounds from Wiegmann. The Broncs opened the game 1-for-7 from the field.

Despite shooting no free throws in the first half, UAlbany got several key players for the Broncs in foul trouble. Khalil Alford picked up his second personal foul with eight minutes left in the first half, and Rider’s early scoring leader Junior Fortunat picked up two fouls in less than two minutes.

At the 6:10 mark in the first half, UAlbany had only committed one turnover, and was shooting 13-for-21 from the field and 6-for-11 from three-point range. Anders Haas also heated up in the first half, going 2-for-3 from three and 3-for-4 from the field. Haas and Hooley combined to hit six three-pointers in a 10-minute span in the opening half.

Rider responded by putting on a full-court press late in the second half, forcing four UAlbany turnovers in three minutes. The Great Danes also did not register a field goal for the final 6:33 of the first half. Both teams went scoreless for the last three minutes.

The Purple & Gold entered the locker room at halftime with a lead for the first time all season, 32-16.

With Fortunat starting the second half, Sam Rowley forced him to pick up his third foul less than four minutes in.

Hooley continued to light it up from the field, taking advantage of an and-one at the 13:46 mark to register a new career high and give UAlbany its largest lead, 45-22. The sophomore finished with 24 points on 7-for-10 shooting, 5-for-7 from three and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line.

He also had four rebounds and two assists.

“We knew coming in here that we had to get off to a good start,” said Hooley. “When we play 40 minutes of basketball we get a good result.

UAlbany began to struggle with the Rider full-court press, allowing an 11-0 run by the Broncs to put them within eight with seven minutes remaining. The Great Danes responded by getting to the line, and locking into the bonus with nine minutes and 44 seconds left.

DJ Evans halted the Rider run by knocking down two jumpers to end a nearly six-minute field goal drought with six minutes left, and giving the Great Danes a 53-43 lead.

John Puk put the game out of reach on an and-one with four minutes left to put UAlbany up 15. After Puk’s three-point play, Evans, Hooley and Wiegmann combined to go 10-for-10 from the line to put the game away.

Wiegmann finished with eight points as well as a career high and a UAlbany individual season-high 14 rebounds. The entire Rider team totaled 19 rebounds.

“It’s great to get a win before we have a bit of a break,” said Wiegmann. “We’re capable of winning and winning after we’ve lost three in a row, so it’s a good feeling.”

The Great Danes made 21 free throws (21-22, .955), the most for the squad since the season-opening win over Siena on Nov. 8. The single-game free throw percentage puts the Purple & Gold in the NCAA top-20 in field goal percentage for the season (.782, 104-133). It also ranks them among the nation’s single-game free throw percentage leaders.

UAlbany continues its road stint at NJIT on Sunday at 2 p.m.