Two junior transfers showed why they are such an integral part of the University at Albany offense in the quarterfinal round of the America East Conference tournament Wednesday.
Evan Singletary and Ray Sanders each produced 17 points, and they combined for eight rebounds, three assists and four steals to help the Great Danes crush Maine, 83-66, before a crowd of 2,966 at SEFCU Arena.
The regular-season champion and top seed takes on the University of New Hampshire, a 67-63 overtime winner over Hartford, in the semifinals Sunday at 2.
UAlbany (22-8) was simply a mismatch for the 3-27 Black Bears. The Danes shot 50 percent from the floor, outrebounded the smaller Bears, 40-19, and placed five players in double figures en route to a season-high 83 points.
The Danes had 19 points on second-chance opportunities, and received 28 points from their bench.
Both teams shot well from beyond the arc, as UAlbany was 11-for-25, and Maine was
“It was important for us in our first conference tournament game to get off to a good start,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “We got into a good rhythm and we were comfortable. We rotated a lot of guys in and out, and had good balance offensively. Mission accomplished.”
Freshman Wheeler Baker came off the bench to score 13 points, and both Sam Rowley and Peter Hooley scored 10 points. Rowley, who was in foul trouble, added 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.
“We wanted to attack the glass, and we had to be aggressive,” said Brown about his team’s rebounding advantage. “We have to rebound the ball to be successful, but to be fair, we had quite a size advantage on them. We used our size to our advantage.”
Hooley, who comes off the bench now after being a starter for more than half of the season, said the Danes’ balance is key.
“We have so many guys who can score. They crowded Sam, so he just kicked the ball back out to us.”
“Coach told us at halftime to keep our feet on the pedal,” added Sanders. “I think we had more of a sense of urgency in the second half than we have in some of our other games when we had a big lead. I was very excited to play in my first tournament game.”
Singletary was asked if the Danes are playing at their best right now after the big blowout win.
“We have no choice but to play our best basketball. If we don’t, we’re done,” he said.
Maine head coach Bob Walsh was impressed with the Great Danes.
“They have the most efficient offense in the league,” he said. “They hammered us on the glass. They will be very tough to beat right now. They are efficient, tough, balanced and talented.”
The Danes scored the first nine points of the game and never looked back. They quickly opened up a 31-12 lead and coasted into the intermission up, 46-25.
The Danes took a 25-point edge on Hooley’s three-pointer with 15:33 left, and they led by as many as 26 twice.
“We’re just going to keep on doing what we’ve been doing,” said Brown. “There is no reason to get uptight because we are the top seed.
“I don’t care that no top seed has won the tournament since 2009. I just keep on telling our guys not to rely on the fact that we are home. We have to
go out and earn our victories.”
Valijarevic 4-9 0-0 12, Gloger 4-5 2-3 10, Calixte 7-1 0-0 16, Lawton 1-9 0-0 3, Reid-Knight 3-5 0-0 7, Little 5-13 1-2 14, Ejiga 1-2 2-2 4, Melmed 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-54 5-7 66.
M. Rowley 1-2 3-4 5, S. Rowley 2-5 6-6 10, Singletary 6-12 1-2 17, Sanders 7-11 2-2 17, Ennema 2-6 0-0 6, Wells 1-1 0-0 2, Hooley 2-8 5-6 10, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Twyman 1-1 0-0 3, Baker 5-7 1-2 13, Stire 0-1 0-1 0. Totals: 27-54 18-23 83.
Halftime: UAlbany, 46-25. Three-point goals: Maine 11-26 (Valjarevic 4-7, Calixte 2-5, Lawton 1-5, Reid-Knight 1-2, Little 3-7); UAlbany 11-25 (Singletary 4-6, Sanders 1-3, Ennema 2-5, Hooley 1-6, Twyman 1-1, Baker 2-4). Rebounds: Maine 19 (Gloger, Lawton); UAlbany 40 (S. Rowley 11). Assists: Maine 10 Valjarevic 3, Calixte 3, Little 3); UAlbany 9 (Sanders 3, Hooley 3). Total fouls: Maine 18, UAlbany 14. Officials: Guy Pagano, Kevin Ferguson, Mike McCloskey. Attendance: 2,966.
Categories: College Sports