Newman, again, leads UAlbany men’s basketball to win against UMass Lowell

University at Albany's Paul Newman takes a shot next to UMass Lowell's Max Brooks during a Wednesday, January 12, 2022 game in Albany.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

University at Albany's Paul Newman takes a shot next to UMass Lowell's Max Brooks during a Wednesday, January 12, 2022 game in Albany.

Given how he’d played against UMass Lowell this season, Paul Newman had earned the right to be listened to in a key late-game huddle.

So when Newman “told Coach to put me on the ball” to let the 6-foot-9 center bother the River Hawk inbounding with seconds to go in Wednesday’s overtime, UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Dwayne Killings didn’t hesitate to agree with his club clinging to a two-point lead.

“We talk about thinking the game a lot and making basketball plays, and I thought he was just thinking the game at a pretty high level,” Killings said of Newman after UAlbany’s 64-62 America East Conference win against UMass Lowell. “We were just trying to figure out what to do defensively and he said he wanted to get on the ball — and I like to trust guys’ instincts a lot, especially at this point in the year.”

Newman’s instincts were perfect. UMass Lowell had Ayinde Hikim attempt to inbounds the ball coming out of a timeout, and the 10-inch height difference between Hikim and Newman quickly became a problem for the River Hawks. Hikim’s pass was tipped by Newman, then collected by the graduate student who dribbled out the remaining time in a thrilling win for the Great Danes at Costello Athletic Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.

“I tried to see where his eyes were and see where he was going to throw it, and I just made a good play on the ball,” Newman said.

It was the last of a number of great plays from Newman in the contest, as he delivered his second great game against UMass Lowell in two tries this season. Newman had 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in Wednesday’s victory, which came two weeks after Newman had recorded 12 points and 16 rebounds in UAlbany’s home win against UMass Lowell.

“Paul was a hero tonight. I thought he played terrific,” Killings said. “He was consuming himself in the moment. That’s what we talk about, and it was awesome to see.”

On the season, Newman is averaging 14 points and 14.5 rebounds per game against UMass Lowell — and 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in all of the Great Danes’ other contests. 

“I grew up always playing against physicality and they’re a very physical team, so I try to use that to my advantage,” Newman said of his success against UMass Lowell.

Matt Cerruti, who also scored 16 points for UAlbany against the River Hawks, made the go-ahead free throws with 44 seconds to go to break a 62-all tie. From there, the Great Danes committed two turnovers, but recorded three stops — the last with Newman’s steal — to secure the win in their first overtime game of the season.

Jamel Horton contributed 13 points and six assists in the win, while Jarvis Doles scored 11 points. For UMass Lowell, Allin Bount scored 21 points.

Neither team ever led by more than five points in Wednesday’s game. UAlbany trailed 20-19 after a poor offensive showing for both clubs in the first half. At one point, the Great Danes went more than nine minutes without making a field goal in the opening half that saw the teams combine to make 18 of 58 shots.

Both teams heated up after halftime, as UAlbany (4-3 America East, 8-11 overall) and UMass Lowell (2-5, 10-9)  made 25 of 48 shots during an exciting second half. The teams were cold, though, in the final minutes of regulation, as neither club scored in the final three minutes after a Cerruti 3-pointer tied it at 54 with a few minutes to go.

In overtime, UAlbany never led until a bucket from Newman with less than two minutes to go. After UMass Lowell tied it at 62, UAlbany’s Cerruti was fouled heading to the basket and made the game-winning free throws.

UMass Lowell’s ensuing possession saw Great Danes guard Chuck Champion record a steal, but the graduate student quickly turned the ball back over to the River Hawks. A missed UMass Lowell shot followed and Newman gathered the rebound before he was tied up for a jump ball. UAlbany maintained possession, but the team’s inbounds pass from Trey Hutcheson to Cerruti couldn’t be handled cleanly, and UMass Lowell regained possession with 2.5 seconds left after another jump ball.

Newman’s big steal came next, though, and the Great Danes secured their fourth win in their last five games.

“Overall,” Cerruti said, “it’s a gutsy program win. Feels good.”

UAlbany next plays Saturday at NJIT, which lost to UMBC on Wednesday. All 10 America East teams played Wednesday night, and the Great Danes ended the night alone in fourth place. 

UAlbany plays first-place Vermont on Monday.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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