Great Danes run streak to four in a row, 73-63

The University at Albany built several comfortable leads, let Pennsylvania get back in the game and
PHOTOGRAPHER:

University at Albany passed another test Saturday night at SEFCU Arena.

The Great Danes built up several comfortable leads, let Pennsylvania get back in the game and then pulled away again by employing disciplined defense and hot shooting to post a 73-63 victory over the Quakers.

Albany placed four players in double figures and shot 50 percent from the floor. The Danes also held the 1-4 Quakers to 36.7 percent shooting from the floor.

It was the fourth straight victory for

Albany, which improved to 4-2.

Anthony Raffa poured in 22 points and grabbed six rebounds, Tim Ambrose netted 19 points, Will Harris contributed 14 points and six rebounds and Brian Connelly chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Danes.

“I was very pleased with this effort,” said Albany head coach Will Brown. “I was nervous coming in, because Penn is the kind of team that can expose you. They spread you out and shoot the three. I was concerned that we would be disciplined enough on defense.”

“Our physicality helped us,” said Connelly. “I thought it was a great defensive effort, especially that kind of disciplined offense.”

Albany got going early behind Harris, Connelly and Ambrose. The Danes built a 16-8 lead on an Ambrose driving layup with 10:33 left in the first half, and back-to-back jumpers by Raffa, a freshman point guard, put the Danes in front, 24-16.

But Penn, which came into the game with a grueling non-conference schedule that included North Carolina, rallied back with nine straight points to take a 25-24 lead with 3:54 remaining until intermission. Point guard Zack Rosen, who played against Raffa in high school, scored five points during the run, including a three-pointer.

Ambrose nailed a three-pointer with 18 seconds left in the half to give the Danes a 31-28 advantage at intermission.

Albany eventually pulled away in the second half. Harris scored the team’s first six points after halftime, Raffa drilled a three-pointer and Jerel Hastings scored on the fast break to push Albany’s lead to 42-33.

Two more Raffa treys and a short jumper by center Brett Gifford expanded the Danes’ advantage to

50-39 with 9:01 on the clock.

A baby hook by Connelly with 2:22 left stretched Albany’s cushion to 62-50. Penn then began to slow the game down and foul at every opportunity to try to stretch the game out. Tyler Bernardini made six free throws and a layup down the stretch, but Raffa countered with a three-point play and four free throws of his own.

Ambrose, known for his acrobatic dunks, took a feed from Hastings and closed out the game with a two-handed stuff with 7.4 seconds left.

“You saw what Anthony Raffa is all about today, and Billy Allen gave us some good minutes off the bench. I think it may have been our best all-around game so far,” said Brown. “I want to see some growth and maturity from this team.”

Penn was led by Bernardini with 19 points. Jack Eggleston and Rosen added 13 and 12 points, respectively for the Quakers.

Albany hosts Bryant on Monday, then plays crosstown rival Siena at the Times Union Center Saturday night.

PENNSYLVANIA (63)

Eggleston 6-13 1-2 13, Votel 3-9 1-2 8, Rosen 5-12 0-0 12, Bernardini 4-10 9-13 19, Egee 2-5 0-0 4, McMahon 0-0 0-0 0, Gaines 2-7 1-2 6, Belcore 0-0 0-0 0, Cofield 0-2 1-2 1, Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Turley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 22-60 13-21 63.

ALBANY (73)

Harris 6-11 2-3 14, Connelly 3-5 4-4 10, Gifford 1-2 0-0 2, Raffa 7-14 5-7 22, Ambrose 8-11 2-4 19, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Hastings 3-5 0-0 6, McRae 0-3 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Barraza 0-4 0-0 0, Covington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-56 13-18 73.

Halftime: Albany 31-28. Three-point goals: Penn 6-16 (Eggleston 0-5, Votel 1-1, Rosen 2-6, Bernardini 2-6, Egee 0-3, Gaines 1-3, Cofield 0-1, Turley 0-1); Albany 4-14 (Harris 0-4, Raffa 3-4, Ambrose 1-1, McRae 0-2, Barraza 0-3). Rebounds: Penn 34 (Rosen 6), Albany 37 (Connelly 7, Gifford 7); Assists: Penn 13 (Rosen 8), Albany 12 (Ambrose 4). Personal fouls: Penn 19, Albany 18. Officials: Gary Agger, Timothy O’Brien, Kenneth Jayne. Attendance: 2,427.

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