Men’s Basketball Opens Three-Game League Road Trip at Vermont on Saturday Night

GAME NOTES

COVERAGE: America East.tv

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Twitter: @UAlbany_MBB

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ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany men’s basketball (8-7, 2-0 AE) returns to Burlington on Saturday at 7 p.m., for the first time since claiming the America East Championship in Catamount territory last season.

The Great Danes won in thrilling fashion on Wednesday, taking a 73-72 double-overtime win over UMBC. Senior center John Puk hit a free throw with 0.4 seconds remaining in the second overtime to secure the win. It was Head Coach Will Brown’s first double overtime win at the helm of UAlbany.

Sam Rowley picked up a double-double in the win, went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe and had five steals to his credit. Peter Hooley scored a career-high 27 points.

PUK BLOCK PARTY

John Puk had five blocks in a 73-72 2OT win against UMBC on Wednesday, which ranks second on the Division I program single-game blocks leaderboard, and first since joining the America East. The senior center now has 85 career blocks, which ranks first in Division I program history.

DUALLY RULEY HOOLEY

Starting shooting guard Peter Hooley has made 11 threes the last two games, notching a shooting percentage of .579 (11-19) from downtown over the last two games. He has made nearly one third of his threes for the season in the last two wins, scoring 25 and 27 against Hartford and UMBC, respectively. He is currently averaging 15.7 points per game.

Hooley has also been impressive from the free throw line, making an average of 5.3 free throws per game to account for 1/3 of his scoring average.

LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN(TY)

All five starters for UAlbany are shooting 70 percent or better from the free throw line, led by Peter Hooley (.888) and followed by DJ Evans (.796), John Puk (.773), Gary Johnson (.756) and Sam Rowley (.726).

Will Brown’s squad is 7-0 this season when scoring 70 points or more. The only win this season when the Great Danes did not score 70 or more was in a 66-55 win at NJIT on Dec. 1.

THE FREE THROW A-TEAM

Nearly one-fourth of UAlbany’s points per game (17.0/66.5) are coming from the free throw line this season. The Great Danes are making an average of six more free throws per game than their opponents. The Great Danes rank second nationally with a free throw percentage of .787.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

The Great Danes started 1-2 at home this season in non-conference play, but have since gone 3-0 with wins against Yale, Hartford and UMBC at SEFCU Arena.

REBOUNDING ROWLEY

Starting forward Sam Rowley tallied his third double-double of the season against UMBC on Jan. 8 with 20 points and 12 rebounds. It was the seventh double-double of his career and his fourth 10+ rebounding performance of 2013-14.

SCOUTING VERMONT

·       Vermont leads the all-time series against UAlbany 25-9, but the Great Danes have downed the Catamounts when it matters. The Purple & Gold has beaten Vermont in the America East final to reach the NCAA Tournament in all three of its appearances in 2006, 2007 and 2013.

·       The Catamounts start an all-senior line-up, an advantage that showed when Vermont nearly beat then-No. 6 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Nov. 24. John Becker’s squad lost 91-90.

·       Clancy Rugg and Sandro Carissimo lead the Catamounts on offense, averaging 15.0 and 14.1 points per game, respectively. Brian Voelkel is averaging 5.7 assists per game.

·       The Catamounts were picked to win the league in the league’s preseason poll, and Voelkel was named to the Preseason All-Conference squad.

·       Vermont picked up its first league win, 62-48 at UMass Lowell on Dec. 18.