Career High From Evans Falls Short for Men’s Basketball at UNH, 60-56
DURHAM, N.H.- Despite a career-high 22 points from DJ Evans on Thursday night, University at Albany men’s basketball (10-10, 4-3 AE) dropped a 60-56 decision at New Hampshire (4-15, 2-4 AE).
With the Wildcats out to a cold start from the field, UAlbany went on an 8-0 run to open the game. New Hampshire went 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-5 from three in the first 4:30 of the half. Gary Johnson led the Great Danes early with six points.
After the first media timeout, the Wildcats went 2-for-2 on their next two possessions to narrow the lead to three points.
Three UAlbany turnovers and a seven-minute scoring drought gave UNH its first lead, 12-11 at the 9:06 mark. Sam Rowley came down the floor on the ensuing possession with a lay-in to give the Purple & Gold a one-point lead.
Foul trouble was an early problem for Will Brown’s squad. Starting center John Puk picked up his second foul at the 12:37 mark and Peter Hooley exited the game with his second personal with 11:30 left in the half.
Johnson and Rowley had two fouls apiece by the conclusion of the first half. Despite an 11-4 run by UNH to end the first 20 minutes of play, UAlbany went into the locker room with a 28-26 lead.
At the break, UNH was 12-for-14 from the free throw line, while UAlbany was 6-for-6. The Wildcats accounted for nearly half their points from the line. DJ Evans led all scorers with 10 points on 4-for-4 from the charity stripe and 3-for-6 from the field.
Foul trouble continued for the Great Danes, as Hooley, Puk and Rowley all had three fouls before the first media timeout in the second half.
Evans and Hooley combined for 11 points over the next three minutes to extend UAlbany’s lead to six.
The Great Danes went on a series of field goal droughts, beginning mid-way through the second half. The Purple & Gold was in the midst of a four-minute drought before Mike Rowley found the rim with nine minutes left. New Hampshire went 0-for-5 from the field in the same period of time.
The Wildcats hit back-to-back threes with seven minutes remaining to cut the lead to three for UAlbany. New Hampshire took its first lead since the 16-minute mark of the second half on a lay-up with five minutes left.
John Puk broke a five-minute field goal drought on a jumper with 1:44 remaining, cutting the UNH lead to one point. The Wildcats charged back down the court and converted on a three-point play to take a two-possession lead, 57-53 with 1:09 left.
Evans stepped up to hit a three with 47 seconds left. The Great Danes forced a steal on the UNH inbounds, as the Wildcats stepped on the sideline. UAlbany couldn’t find the handle, and after fouling to stop the game for a few possessions, the Wildcats emerged victorious.
UNH won the battle at the free throw line, making more (20-24, .833) than the Great Danes attempted (9-15, .600). Despite only committing eight turnovers and just two in the second half, UAlbany went 22-for-64 (.344) from the field in the loss.
UAlbany (10-10, 4-3 AE) returns to action at SEFCU Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m., against Stony Brook (13-6, 5-0 AE). The Great Danes will celebrate Australia Day, and the game will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.