Men’s Basketball Returns Home to Face Maine in Saturday Matinee

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ALBANY, N.Y. – University at Albany men’s basketball (12-13, 6-6 AE) returns to SEFCU Arena on Saturday afternoon to face Maine (5-19, 3-9 AE). The Coaches Cure Cystic Fibrosis game will be broadcast on ESPN3. The first 1,000 fans will also receive a free t-shirt courtesy of CDPHP.

The Great Danes hit a two-game losing skid on Wednesday when they lost 71-69 at UMBC. Peter Hooley scored 21 second-half points, and Gary Johnson tallied 20 of his own. Johnson also led UAlbany with seven rebounds.

A last-second tip-in with two seconds left in regulation at the RAC sealed the win for UMBC. There were 10 lead changes and the game was tied seven times.

The Purple & Gold went 20-for-31 (.645) from the free throw line and 3-for-12 from three in the loss, but went 23-for-45 (.511) from the field. It was just the second time Will Brown’s squad lost despite shooting at least 50% from the field.

LAST WE MET

In their last meeting on Jan. 18, Gary Johnson exploded for a career-high 28 points on 9-for-11 from the field to lead UAlbany past Maine 85-78. Johnson was named the America East Player of the Week on Jan. 20 for his efforts.

UAlbany’s 85 points at Maine remains the team’s highest point total this season. Sophomore guard Peter Hooley returned to the starting line-up after sitting out with an injury, scoring 19 points including a 12-for-12 clip from the free throw line.

PUK REACHES 100 CAREER BLOCKS

Senior center John Puk recorded his 100th career block on Feb. 12 in the loss at UMBC. The senior already leads the Division I program ranks in career blocks, and currently has 101 to his credit. Puk had four blocks against the Retrievers, and recorded his career high of five earlier in the season against UMBC at home. He has now tallied at least one block in 11 of his last 12 games.

STEADY AS JOHNSON GOES

Senior forward Gary Johnson has now scored 10 or more points in nine straight games, including two games with 20 points or more. It marks the longest streak of double-digit scoring games since last season when Jacob Iati scored 10 or more in 10 games following the season opening against Duquesne last season.

COACHES CURE CYSTIC FIBROSIS

UAlbany men’s basketball hosts its first annual Coaches Cure Cystic Fibrosis Awareness game against the Black Bears. The Coaches Cure CF initiative raises awareness of Cystic Fibrosis in the college basketball community. Seton Hall spearheaded the cause in 2011, and it has since grown to include programs such as Providence College and Iona.

SCOUTING MAINE

• UAlbany leads the all-time series against Maine 14-12. The teams met for the first time in the America East tournament last season, with the Great Danes squeaking by with a 50-49 win in the quarterfinals. The Purple & Gold has won six of the last seven meetings.

• In their meeting earlier this season, forward Ethan Mackey scored 24 points on 11-for-12 from the field to lead the Black Bears. He also had seven rebounds and just one turnover.

• The Black Bears are currently on a three-game losing skid, falling 93-65 at Vermont on Feb. 4 and 73-58 at Binghamton on Feb. 8 before a Feb. 12 91-79 loss against Hartford at home. Maine lost six-straight league games from Jan. 9 to Jan. 26.

• Despite the losing streak, junior guard Xavier Pollard has boasted some impressive performances. Through 11 conference games, Pollard has averaged 14.2 points per game and 4.3 assists per game. He was named the America East Player of the Week on Feb. 3 after averaging 19 points per game and four assists per game in a 2-0 week for the Black Bears.