Key Free Throws Down The Stretch Pushes UAlbany Past Brown, 57-50
ALBANY, N.Y. - The University at Albany men's basketball team may not have made a shot in the final seven minutes, but 12-of-14 shooting from the free-throw line helped them win over Brown, 57-50, on Monday, Dec. 31 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes improve to 11-3 to cap their best start in program history before league play.
"We found a win to win, but they (Brown) really made us work on the defensive end," said Coach Brown on the Great Danes 11th win of the season. "I thought our guys did well. We just found a way to win tonight and I think that is what we did against a team that plays well together as a unit, who was coming off a big win (vs. Providence). Now we have to get ready for conference play."
The Great Danes tallied three players in double-digit scoring on the night and are now 6-0 when they accomplish that feat. Fifth-year senior guard Jacob Iati led the team with 16 points and four rebounds. Junior forward Luke Devlin and senior guard Mike Black each chipped in with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Devlin went a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe during the final seven minutes of the contest.
"I am just happy to be able to contribute to team wins right now and I am glad to have a role in that," said Devlin on his second well-played game consecutively this season.
Tucker Halpern led the Brown Bears in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field. Matt Sullivan contributed with 16 points of his own on 5-of-16 from the floor. The Bears, who were averaging about eight threes a game, were held to 27.8 percent shooting (5-18) behind the arc.
Following a rough first-half shooting from both teams, the score was tied at 19 going into the second half. Both teams struggled to open up the game to begin the half with the score tied for the ninth time, 25-25, with 15:18 remaining.
UAlbany (11-3) went on a 7-2 run to grab a five-point lead, 32-27, with 13:28 remaining in the second half. The five-point lead was the biggest lead by either team at that point. Iati made two consecutive three-pointers and DJ Evans hit a free throw to cap the run.
The Great Danes extended their lead to as much as eight, 45-37, with 7:24 remaining. Senior center Blake Metcalf chipped in with his only two points of the contest to grab UAlbany's largest lead of the game.
Brown's (4-7) defense kept UAlbany in check and not allow a field-goal for the final seven minutes of the game. The Bears cut the deficit to one, 49-48, with 3:00 minutes remaining. Halpern led the charge, scoring eight of his game-high 18 points during the run.
However, the Great Danes went 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final three minutes and allowed the Bears just two points to seal their 11th win of the season. Devlin went a perfect 4-of-4, Black 3-of-4, and Peter Hooley made the final free throw of the game.
UAlbany prepares for its first America East Conference game against UMBC on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at SEFCU Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.