The good news is the University at Albany could have collapsed when it fell behind by 17 points to New Hampshire in the second half of Wednesday night’s cold-shooting game at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Another bright spot for Albany was the comeback performance by senior forward Will Harris, who was held scoreless in his last game, but bounced back to finish with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The bad news is that the Great Danes’ 15-0 run was wasted as the Wildcats held on for a 67-59 victory.
The Great Danes dropped to 0-3 in the America East Conference and 5-13 overall. New Hampshire improved to 1-2 and 6-8.
New Hampshire, which placed five players in double figures, stretched its lead to 50-33 with 12 minutes remaining, and the Danes appeared to be done.
But Albany bounced back behind freshman Logan Aronhalt, who got his first start of the season in place of Harris. Aronhalt scored seven of Albany’s 15 points as the Great Danes trimmed their deficit to two, 50-48, with 4:24 left.
However, the Wildcats pulled away again with a dunk by Dane DiLiegro and back-to-back three-pointers by Colbey Santos and Tyrone Conley.
UNH still held a seven-point lead when Russell Graham made a pair of free throws with 1:05 left.
But Aronhalt drained a three-pointer of his own to cut the lead to 61-57, and when Graham missed two free throws with 47.3 seconds left, Albany had the momentum once more.
However, Tim Ambrose and Scotty McRae turned the ball over on back-to-back possessions, and the Wildcats clinched the game at the free-throw line.
Five Wildcats scored in double figures, led by DiLiegro and Alvin Abreu with 13 points each. Graham had 11, and both Radar Onguetou and Santos scored 10.
“You’ve got to give them credit,” said UNH head coach Bill Herrion. “We were playing pretty well, but Albany went to a zone, and that really cooled us down. That was a good win for us. Both teams needed a win desperately. Luckily, we got ours.”
The Wildcats dominated the first half, and used six three-pointers to open up a 34-26 halftime lead.
UNH then scored the first eight points of the second half, and soon pushed the advantage to 17 with several baskets inside the paint and a couple of free throws.
The Danes charged back, however, and Harris did much of the damage.
“He’s really good,” said Herrion about Harris. “We were trying to deny him in the man-to-man. He’s a handful. We could have done a better job against him.”
“I was encouraged by Will’s effort tonight,” said Albany head coach Will Brown. “He attacked the basket, and was aggressive tonight. He was the best player on the floor tonight.”
Harris said he hasn’t upset that he didn’t start the game.
“In my last game, I felt like I didn’t show up,” he said. “I felt good tonight, and I had an extra bounce in my step. Not starting didn’t do anything to my psyche. Logan is a good player, and if it helps my team not to start, that’s OK with me.”
“I just had to find myself,” said Aronhalt, who started slowly, but came on strong in the second half, finishing with 12 points. “We had a good run there, but it’s too bad we came up short.
“We can’t get the right combination playing well on the same night,” said Brown. “I don’t know why Harris and Ambrose can’t seem to have big nights at the same time. Our team needs to stick together. We are doing well in practice, but the thing is, we can’t seem to get any carryover into the games. We’ve got to start making some shots.”
The Great Danes host UMBC Saturday night, and are in desperate need of a win.
“We definitely need a win. We’re 0-3 in the league, and we don’t like to see the 0,” said Harris.
Albany shot just 36.4 percent from the floor, but the Wildcats weren’t much better at 38.5 percent. Both teams had only nine turnovers, although two of Albany’s turnovers were in the final minute of play, when they counted the most.
Aronhalt 5-7 0-0 12, Black 1-2 1-2 4, McRae 0-6 2-2 2, Ambrose 3-12 4-7 10, Gifford 1-3 0-0 2, Harris 7-12 3-3 20, Urli 1-3 0-0 2, Johnson 1-4 1-2 3, Metcalf 0-1 0-0 0, Allen 1-5 2-2 4. Totals 20-55 13-18 59.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (67)
Diliegro 3-8 7-10 13, Graham 3-6 4-6 11, Conley 2-5 2-4 7, Abreu 4-14 3-3 13, Onguetou 4-8 0-1 10, Rhoads 0-1 0-0 0, Valladares 1-2 0-0 3, Santos 3-8 3-4 10. Totals 20-52 19-28 67.
Halftime—New Hampshire 34-26. 3-Point
Goals—Albany 6-18 (Harris 3-5, Aronhalt 2-3, Black 1-1, McRae 0-1, Metcalf 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Ambrose 0-2, Allen 0-3), New Hampshire 8-25 (Onguetou 2-4, Abreu 2-6, Valladares 1-2, Graham 1-2, Conley 1-4, Santos 1-6, Rhoads 0-1). Fouled Out—Onguetou. Rebounds—Albany 37 (Harris 11), New Hampshire 36 (Diliegro 13). Assists—Albany 7 (Allen, Ambrose, Harris 2), New Hampshire 14 (Graham 6). Total Fouls—Albany 22, New Hampshire 20. Technicals—Harris, Conley. A—541.
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Categories: College Sports