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Lillis leads Danes

Lillis leads Danes

Brian Lillis leads UAlbany to a victory over Vermont

ALBANY — Brian Lillis scored 19 of his career-high 29 points in the second half in leading UAlbany to an 80-79 overtime victory over Vermont in an America East Conference contest on Sunday afternoon at SEFCU Arena.

In a battle that featured 18 lead changes and 10 ties, Lillis helped decide the game on the final two possessions. After Vermont’s Chad Powlovich hit a backdoor layup off Marqus Blakely’s feed from the post for a 79-78 lead, Lillis converted off a spin to his right from the left block with 10.3 seconds remaining. Blakely, who had 23 points and eight rebounds, attempted a short jumper in the lane in the closing moments, but Lillis deflected the shot and the clock ran out.

“[Brian] Lillis was aggressive and not passive like he was in his last game,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team (1-1 AE, 6-8 overall) has won five of six home games this season. “He got into the flow, and kept it simple. We are not good enough as a team to not play with passion and intensity. We were aggressive, even when we made mistakes.”

Vermont (1-1, 6-8) trailed, 42-33, early in the second half, but nearly wiped out that deficit with 10 of the game’s next 12 points. Freshman guard Joey Accaoui buried one of his three three-pointers to start that outburst. Blakely, a 6-foot-5 soph-omore, later hit a spinning shot in the lane and made a conventional three-point play as he was fouled scoring off a lob pass in closing the gap to 44-43 with 12:11 to play.

The contest went back and forth throughout the rest of regulation. The Catamounts, who had their three-game win streak halted, took a 70-68 lead when Nick Vier drilled a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 43.2 seconds to play. Lillis, a 6-5 senior who made 13 of 21 from the field, tied the contest on his team’s next possession with a 12-footer in the lane. Vermont’s Mike Trimboli, who had 17 points, misfired on a 14-foot fadeaway with four seconds left.

VERMONT (79)

Blakely 7-13 9-15 23, McCrory 2-2 0-0 4, Vier 1-3 0-0 3, Trimboli 6-12 4-4 17, Cieplicki 4-10 0-0 11, Accaoui 3-4 0-0 9, Powlovich 1-2 2-2 4, Fjeld 0-1 2-2 2, McIntosh 2-9 2-2 6, Shields 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-56 19-25 79.

UALBANY (80)

Connelly 4-15 6-6 15, Wilson 4-8 2-4 12, Covington 1-2 0-1 2, Hastings 3-6 1-2 8, Lillis 13-21 3-7 29, Iati 3-8 1-2 7, Ambrose 0-3 2-2 2, Gifford 0-0 3-4 3, Turley 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 29-66 18-28 80.

Halftime—Albany 30-29. End Of Regulation—70-70. 3-Point Goals—Vermont 8-18 (Accaoui 3-4, Cieplicki 3-7, Vier 1-3, Trimboli 1-4), Albany 4-12 (Wilson 2-5, Hastings 1-1, Connelly 1-3, Iati 0-3). Fouled Out—Covington, Gifford, Trimboli. Rebounds—Vermont 37 (Cieplicki 9), Albany 42 (Wilson 10). Assists—Vermont 16 (Blakely, Trimboli 5), Albany 14 (Lillis 7). Total Fouls—Vermont 25, Albany 21. A—2,918.

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