University at Albany couldn’t buy a basket for most of its America East Conference game with the University of New Hampshire Tuesday night at SEFCU Arena.
The cold-shooting Danes connected on a season-low 13 field goals, including 1-for-13 from three-point range, while the Wildcats shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and made seven of 14 shots from beyond the arc en route to a 62-53 victory that was more decisive than the final score indicated.
UAlbany (1-11, 6-21) lost its eighth straight game, its longest losing streak in the Division I era. The Great Danes lost nine straight as a Division III program in 1954-55.
Alvin Abreu scored a game-high 22 points for the 4-7, 9-13 Wildcats. Tyrone Conley added 12.
Albany was paced by Fran Urli and Mike Black with 14 points each. Will Harris chipped in with 12.
“That was a really, really good win for us,” said UNH head coach Billy Herrion, whose team snapped a three-game losing streak. “It’s the stretch run, and we came off a tough week.
“We beat Vermont two weeks ago, but we lost to Binghamton in overtime and then lost to Boston University and Hartford. I didn’t know where we were emotionally, but we’re a good defensive team, and I think that our defense was the key to our win.”
Albany got off to a quick start when Urli nailed a pair of hook shots in the lane and then added a free throw for a 5-0 lead, but UNH went on a 12-0 tear to move ahead of the Danes for the rest of the half.
Albany had a chance to grab the momentum just before the half when Scotty McRae drove the baseline and dunked over a UNH defender, but the basket was taken away, and he was called for an offensive foul.
After Harris tipped in a missed shot to start the half and cut Albany’s deficit to 27-24, the Wildcats eventually began to pull away.
Conley scored on a driving layup and a slam-dunk to give the Wildcats a 39-28 lead, and Abreu nailed back-to-back three-pointers to help UNH open up a 45-30 cushion with 12:20 left.
The Danes prevented a blowout by continually getting to the foul line. They still only had 10 field goals until the final two minutes, when Harris made a layup, Tim Ambrose converted a three-point play and Black hit the team’s only three-pointer to cut the deficit to 60-53 with 35.2 seconds left.
Abreu’s two free throws with 22.6 seconds remaining sealed the win.
“We’ll keep trying to figure it out,” said Albany head coach Will Brown about his team’s inability to make shots. “The shots we missed are mind-boggling. This year, we have to find ways to survive offensively and defensively. We don’t have enough offense to make runs, and basketball is a game of runs. Our saving grace was free throws.”
Harris, who had his best game since returning from a knee contusion two games ago, said he feels things will turn around.
“Our shots are not falling, but in my experience of playing basketball all these years, you can’t miss forever. Eventually, the shots will start falling, and they will fall in bunches.
“We’ve got to keep our heads up. We have players who can make shots, but it’s just that they aren’t falling, right now.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE (62)
Onguetou 1-3 2-2 4, DiLiegro 2-3 2-2 6, Graham 1-2 0-0 2, Conley 4-8 2-2 12, Abreu 7-12 5-6 22, Rhoads 2-5 3-6 7, Valladares 0-0 0-0 0, Myrick 0-1 0-0 0, Santos 2-3 0-0 6, Matagrano 0-0 0-0 0, Benson 1-5 1-2 3. Totals: 20-42 15-20 62.
Urli 4-4 6-7 14, Metcalf 0-1 0-0 0, Aronhalt 0-1 2-2 2, Black 3-10 7-9 14, Allen 0-4 2-2 2, Harris 3-7 6-6 12, Tartt 1-4 0-0 2, McRae 1-5 1-4 3, Ambrose 1-4 2-3 4, Lindfors 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 13-41 26-33 53.
Halftime: New Hampshire 27-22. Three-point goals: UNH 7-14 (Onguetou 0-1, Conley 2-3, Abreu 3-6, Santos 2-3, Benson 0-1), Albany 1-13 (Black 1-4, Allen 0-4, Harris 0-1, Tartt 0-1, McRae 0-1, Ambrose 0-1, Lindfors 0-1). Rebounds: UNH 28 (DiLiegro 10), Albany 30 (Black 5, Harris 5, Ambrose 5).
Assists: UNH 9 (Rhoads 5), Albany 6 Black 2, Ambrose 2). Personal fouls: UNH 27, Albany 23. Fouled out: Urli, Black. Officials: Robert Adams, Bill McCarty, Steve Ruppenthal.
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