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What you need to know for 01/16/2017

Danes down Wildcats, 55-48

Danes down Wildcats, 55-48

Junior forward Sam Rowley wasn’t in the starting lineup because University at Albany started its fiv

Junior forward Sam Rowley wasn’t in the starting lineup because University at Albany started its five seniors on Senior Night Thursday at SEFCU Arena.

But Rowley made sure his older teammates came out on top by scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds as the Great Danes surged past the University of New Hampshire, 66-48.

UAlbany (9-6, 15-13), sitting in third place in the America East, avenged an earlier loss at UNH (4-11, 6-22). The Great Danes wrap up the regular season Sunday at Stony Brook, and host the conference tournament next weekend.

“We are a family,” said Rowley. “We’ve grown close as a team. It meant a lot to all of us to win tonight. We also knew it meant a lot for the seniors.”

Senior swingman Gary Johnson added 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor and 5-for-5 shooting from the line.

“I just told all the guys before the game to leave it all on the floor,” said Johnson. “This was a big one for us. This was a very special game for me. It was hard to focus at times. I kept looking over at my mother and smiled at her.”

Fellow senior DJ Evans contributed 13 points, and sophomore Peter Hooley chipped in with 12 points for the Great Danes, who shot 43.8 percent from the floor and connected on 21 of 25 free-throw attempts. UAlbany also held a 30-25 rebounding edge.

“I’m very glad that our seniors played well,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “It’s hard sometimes to get the underclassmen to understand just how short their careers are. I thought that we were a little tight because we didn’t have our normal rotation. We didn’t have our normal starting guys in for the first 10 minutes, and we weren’t in a good groove.”

Scrappy UNH somehow stayed in the game and trailed by just two, 45-43, when Jordon Bronner nailed a three-pointer with 8:24 left. But the Great Danes outscored the Wildcats, 21-5, the rest of the way.

Defending champion UAlbany is riding a three-game winning streak with home-court advantage in next week’s tournament.

“We are very confident here,” said Johnson, pointing to the Great Danes’ 7-1 home conference mark. “We will leave everything on the floor in the tournament. Earlier in the season, we struggled down the stretch, but I think we’ve cleaned that up, and we’re playing better at the end of games.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE (48)

Okeke 2-6 0-0 6, Edwards 0-2 0-0 0, Pelcher 3-3 2-2 8, Bronner 5-9 2-2 14, McDonnell 1-3 0-0 3, Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Armstrong 2-5 3-4 7, Morris 0-3 0-0 0, Gabriel 1-1 0-0 2, Dion 2-8 2-3 8. Totals: 16-40 9-11 48.

UALBANY (66)

Devlin 1-3 1-1 3, Johnson 5-9 5-5 15, Wiegmann 1-1 0-0 2, Puk 0-2 2-4 2, Evans 4-11 3-5 13, Haas 0-2 0-0 0, M. Rowley 0-0 0-0 0, Hooley 3-9 5-5 12, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, S. Rowley 7-10 5-5 19, Egharevba 0-0 0-0 0, Ennema 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 21-48 21-25 66.

Halftime: UAlbany, 30-25. Three-point goals: UNH 7-21 (Okeke 2-6, Bronner 2-5, McDonnell 1-1, Armstrong 0-1, Morris 0-2, Dion 2-6); UAlbany 3-11 (Evans 2-4, Haas 0-2, Hooley 1-4, Ennema 0-1). Rebounds: UNH 25 (McDonnell 8), UAlbany 30 (S. Rowley 6). Assists: UNH 11 (Okeke 4), UAlbany 7 (Hooley 3). Total fouls: UNH 25, UAlbany 14. Fouled out: Armstrong. A: 1,980.

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