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What you need to know for 04/30/2017

Danes go down swinging

Danes go down swinging

For 25 minutes of basketball, the never-before was still there, the impossible still possible as 16t
Danes go down swinging
Photographer: The Associated Press
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For 25 minutes of basketball, the never-before was still there, the impossible still possible as 16th-seeded University at Albany lingered with top-seeded, top-ranked Florida, tied at 39-39.

In a flurry, the Gators were up seven — a putback dunk by Patric Young, then a steal and layup by Kasey Hill, who added two free throws. And Florida pulled away to a 67-55 victory in the NCAA second round, but not before getting a scare from the resilient, upset-minded Great Danes at the Amway Center.

“A 16 is going to beat a 1 at some point, and we wanted to be that team,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown, less than two days removed from the first NCAA tournament win in his program’s history, back in Dayton. “I think we ran out of gas, and the best team in the country probably had something to do with it.“

The Gators (33-2) won their 27th straight, less than two hours from their campus, and will have their hands full Saturday against ninth-seeded Pittsburgh, which routed Colorado by 29 points. Leading the charge for the Great Danes (19-15) was 5-foot-9 senior D.J. Evans, who had a game-high 21 points and a team-best seven rebounds, taking a knee to the head, but quickly returning to the game, persistent like his team.

“We just had the mentality that it doesn’t matter what it is on the front of the jersey,” Evans said of facing the top seed without fear. “The name doesn’t mean anything. You just have to go out there, just play the game. That’s what we did.“

The Gators pulled away with depth, their bench outscoring Albany’s by a 26-2 margin as the Great Danes went with their “iron seven“ as long as possible. Brown tried several defenses intended to limit Florida guards Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin, who combined for just 13 points.

“I knew they were going to junk the game up,” coach Billy Donovan said. “They had played some box-and-one, some triangle-and-two. We had prepared for all that stuff. Offensively, we were fine. Where it showed up for us, we’ve been a great defensive team. Today, we were not a great defensive team.”

Albany had won two games in the previous six days, beating Stony Brook on the road to win the America East title, then beating Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in the “First Four” for the program’s first NCAA win. Falling short of a third win — something no 16 seed has ever done — couldn’t keep Brown from smiling even after a season-ending loss.

“I’m as proud as any coach in the country right now,“ he said, “because this was a resilient group that developed tremendous toughness the last month and really came together as a group. I’m happy for them.”

UALBANY (55)

Evans 6-12 7-8 21, Hooley 1-10 3-4 6, S. Rowley 1-8 1-2 3, Johnson 6-10 0-0 13, Puk 5-7 0-0 10, Haas 0-1 0-0 0, M. Rowley 0-0 0-0 0, Devlin 1-2 0-0 2, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Egharevba 0-0 0-0 0, Wiegmann 0-0 0-0 0, Ennema 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 11-14 55.

FLORIDA (67)

Young 4-7 2-3 10, Wilbekin 4-9 1-2 10, Yeguete 1-2 0-0 2, Frazier II 1-5 0-0 3, Prather 6-11 4-5 16, Hill 3-4 4-4 10, Finney-Smith 6-10 3-4 16, C. Walker 0-0 0-0 0, D. Walker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-49 14-18 67.

Halftime—Florida, 34-28. Three-point goals—UAlbany 4-13 (Evans 2-5, Johnson 1-1, Hooley 1-5, Haas 0-1, Ennema 0-1), Florida 3-12 (Finney-Smith 1-3, Frazier II 1-4, Wilbekin 1-4, D. Walker 0-1). Rebounds—UAlbany 27 (Evans 7), Florida 30 (Young 10). Assists—UAlbany 10 (S. Rowley 4), Florida 11 (Wilbekin 4). Total Fouls—UAlbany (NY) 15, Florida 14. Fouled Out—Puk. A—16,074.

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