University at Albany let one slip away with one poor possession, and the Terriers took full advantage.
Up by six with 15.3 seconds left in regulation, the Great Danes gave up back-to-back three-pointers by D.J. Irving, including the game-tying three with 2.2 seconds left, and Boston University went on to dominate the overtime session for an 85-80 America East Conference victory Wednesday night before a season-high crowd of 3,685 at SEFCU Arena.
BU not only hit the final two shots of regulation, but the Terriers also made all six shots in the extra period to knock the Great Danes (5-2, 16-5) out of first place in the conference. This was the final appearance in SEFCU by the Terriers, who are moving to the Patriot League next year and won’t be allowed to play in this year’s conference tournament.
When senior guard Mike Black made a pair of free throws with 15.3 seconds left, it appeared that the Great Danes had the game locked up, but Irving, who scored 15 points in the final 20 minutes, hit a three with 8.1 seconds on the clock.
UAlbany still was in a commanding position. All the Great Danes had to do was get the ball inbounds successfully. But Sam Rowley’s inbounds pass was tipped. Mike Black tried to grab it, but it was knocked away from him, and Irving ended up with the loose ball after it was tipped by Maurice Watson Jr. Irving fired up a high floater to beat the buzzer and send the game into the extra period.
“Good players make good plays,” said Black of Irving, who finished with 20 points.
“I saw we got the steal,” said Irving. “Maurice got me the ball. I was two or three steps behind the three-point line. I knew it was good.”
Irving said he could empathize with the Great Danes.
“I know how they feel, because it happened to us four or five times this year. That’s the way the ball bounces, sometimes.”
“That was a huge play at the end with the steal and the shot,” said BU head coach Joe Jones. “We’ve lost three games on defense at the buzzer this year. Irving was terrific in the second half for us. He stuck with it, and he showed his resiliency.”
Jones said he believed his team could come back at the end.
“I felt we were going to make a play and make a shot,” he said. “I had a good feeling that we were due.”
UAlbany led by as many as eight (44-36) with 10:55 left in regulation, thanks to the solid play of Rowley, Peter Hooley and Black down the stretch. Black, the team’s leading scorer at 16 ppg, shot just 5-for-22 from the floor, but he finished with 20 points, including 13 in the final five minutes of regulation and the extra period
“We should have won that game, absolutely,” said Hooley. “It all came down to the way we played in the first half. We came out flat, and we only shot 29 percent. We had our chances to win, but I haven’t seen anything like that in a while — maybe in the movies. But we can’t dwell on this.”
UAlbany shot 16-for-21 form the line and 46.7 percent from the floor, but the Danes’ defense let them down late in the second half and in the OT as BU shot 47.6 percent from the floor and clicked on 14 of 31 shots from three-point range.
Rowley finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for UAlbany, and Hooley had 12 points and six assists. Jayson Guerrier came of the bench to produce 11 points.
BU also got 21 points from Watson and 18 from John Papale.
BU led by as many as seven
(80-73) in OT, but Black and Hooley combined for 13 points in the extra session.
“We make one pass, and the game is over,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “We gave up 22 points in OT. They had more pep in their step than we did in the OT.”
“Credit BU. They made a lot of tough shots,” said Black. “We can’t dwell on this. It is what it is. We’re still a confident group.”
UAlbany hosts Vermont Saturday night at SEFCU Arena.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY (85)
Morris 1-4 3-4 5, Thomas 5-9 1-2 12, Watson 7-1 4-4 21, Papale 7-10 0-0 18, Irving 7-16 1-2 20, Chionuma 0-0 0-0 0, Diedonne 2-3 2-2 7, Kennedy 0-2 0-0 0, Robinson 1-5 0-0 2, Alston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-63 11-14 85.
Rowley 6-8 2-3 14, Puk 2-2 1-2, Iati 4-8 0-0 11, Black 5-22 9-9 20, Hooley 5-9 1-2 12, Evans 0-0 0-0 0, Devlin 0-3 0-0 0, Metcalf 2-4 3-5 7, Wiegmann 0-0 0-0 0, Guerrier 4-4 0-0 11. Totals: 28-60 16-21 80.
Halftime: BU, 29-23. Regulation: UAlbany 63, BU 63. Three-point goals: BU 14-31 (Morris 0-1, Thomas 1-3, Watson 3-5, Papale 4-5, Irving 5-11, Diudonne 1-2); UAlbany 8-17 (Iati 3-4, Black 1-6, Hooley 1-4, Guerrie 3-3). Rebounds: BU 29 (Thomas 10); UAlbany 40 (Rowley 8). Assists: BU 14 (Watson 7); UAlbany 16 (Hooley 6). Personal fouls: BU 21, UAlbany 16. Officials: Mike Pilla, David Welker, Don McEroy. Attendance: 3,685.