Even though the University at Albany’s starters were pulled with more than nine minutes remaining, the Great Danes kept the pedal to the metal en route to one of the most convincing victories in program history.
UAlbany, avenging an 81-79 loss at Maine last month, pounded the Black Bears 108-64 in the rematch Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 2,716 at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes shot 57.7 percent from the floor, outrebounded Maine 51-25 and sank 19 of 24 shots from the free-throw line.
It was the most points scored for UAlbany since a 101-55 win over Division III Green Mountain on Nov. 26, 2000. Earlier that same season, the Great Danes beat Southern Vermont 108-84.
UAlbany remained undefeated at home (12-0) and improved to 10-3 in the America East Conference and 21-7 overall. Maine, playing without leading scorer Kevin Little because of an injury, dropped to 4-9 and 8-18
Senior guard Ray Sanders led four players in double digits with 22 points, four assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Dallas Ennema came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points to go along with seven rebounds and senior Peter Hooley added 12 points, three assists and two steals. Senior point guard Evan Singletary contributed 11 points, eight assists and two steals.
STAR OF THE GAME
UAlbany senior Ray Sanders, who scored 22 points.
“I thought our guys did a good job executing the scouting report,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “We made them a contested jump-shooting team. Our defense kept getting stops that allowed us to get out in transition. Our decision making and shot selection were good. They were motivated to play today.”
Maine coach Bob Walsh knew very quickly that the outcome of Sunday’s game would be dramatically different than what happened Jan. 15 in Orono, Maine.
“Albany is a championship-level program that played great today. I was really impressed with what they do and how they do it,” he said. “That’s exactly where we want to get to. It was a really impressive performance by Albany. Today, they dictated everything from the beginning. It snowballed after the first few minutes. They competed with an edge we were chasing all day.”
All the Great Danes felt they had something to prove against Maine, but they also were still upset about losing at New Hampshire last Thursday night.
“We didn’t have to be reminded to play hard on defense. The memory of the Maine game still lingers,” Hooley said. “We wanted to make a statement.”
“We wanted to bounce back from a tough one at UNH,” Sanders said. “Coach Brown made it clear not to let up against this team. This was a lot of fun today. We got a lot of help from our guys off the bench.”
Isaac Vann led Maine with 26 points. The Black Bears never led. UAlbany held a 64-26 edge in the paint and a 21-3 edge in second-chance points. UAlbany’s bench outscored Maine’s 47-15.
Next up for UAlbany will be league-leading Stony Brook Wednesday night at SEFCU Arena.
“Every team wants to compete against the best, and right now, Stony Brook is the best team in the league,” Hooley said. “We gave that one away at Stony Brook [a 69-63 loss].”
“I think we can beat Stony Brook,” Brown said. “I don’t know if we will on Wednesday night, but I think we’re the only team in the league that has a chance.”
Former UAlbany head coach Richard “Doc” Sauers was honored before the game for his 60 years of service to the college as a basketball coach and a women’s golf coach. He won 702 games in 41 years with the basketball program.
Eke 1-4 2-4 4, Vann 10-18 3-6 26, Harewood 1-6 0-0 2, Calixte 3-10 4-4 12, Lawton 1-6 2-2 5, Pirovic 1-3 0-0 2, Ward 0-2 0-0 0, Melmed 1-4 0-0 3 Gloger 4-5 2-2 10, Reid-Knight 0-5 0-0 0. Totals: 22-63 13-18 64.
Rowley 2-3 4-4 8, Stire 4-4 0-0 8, Singletary 4-7 3-3 11, Sanders 9-14 3-4 22, Hooley 5-9 2-2 12, Andrews 2-5 2-3 7, Cremo 4-11 1-2 9, Nichols 2-4 2-2 7, Peters 4-4 0-2 8, Ennema 5-10 2-2 16. Totals: 4-71 19-24 108.
Halftime: UAlbany 51-29. 3-point goals: Maine 7-26 (Vann 3-5, Harewood 0-2, Calixte 2-6, Lawton 1-3, Pirovic 0-2, Ward 0-2, Melmed 1-4, Reid-Knight 0-2); UAlbany 7-21 (Sanders 1-4, Hooley 0-2, Andrews 1-2, Cremo 0-3, Nichols 1-2, Ennema 4-8). Rebounds: Maine 25 (Vann 5); UAlbany 51 (Cremo 8). Assists: Maine 10 (Pirovic 4), UAlbany 21 (Singletary 8). Personal fouls: Maine 20, UAlbany 19. Officials: Gary Prager, Bill McCarthy, John Gill. Attendance: 2,716.