Updated: 03/03/2014 3:24 PM
Created: 03/03/2014 12:09 AM WNYT.com
By: Chris Onorato
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – University at Albany men’s basketball (15-14, 9-7 AE) fell 73-68 at Stony Brook (21-9, 13-3 AE) on Sunday afternoon, earning the No. 4 seed for the America East Tournament next weekend.
“It was a good basketball game, and we just missed a few opportunities,” said head coach Will Brown. “Their seniors made some good plays down the stretch, and when you’re playing the second-place team at their place you can’t call it a bad loss.”
The Great Danes opened the game hot from the field, going 4-for-5 for an early 11-2 lead. Stony Brook was kept to a slower pace and failed to score for the first two minutes of the game.
Both teams went deep into the shot clock with each possession as the first half went on. Stony Brook came back to go 3-for-5 from the field after starting 1-for-3 in the first five minutes. The Seawolves narrowed the lead, but threes from Dallas Ennema and DJ Evans kept Stony Brook from going on a significant scoring run.
UAlbany began slowing down on offense, hitting a three-minute scoring drought in addition to a 1-for-10 clip from the field mid-way through the half.
Sam Rowley led the Purple & Gold at the half with eight points.
Peter Hooley kicked off the second half with three of his 13 second-half points just 20 seconds in. After Rowley made a lay-up and converted on the and-one, UAlbany took back the lead, 37-35.
The Great Danes went 6-for-10 in the first six minutes of the second half to open up an eight-point lead. Will Brown’s squad extended its lead to as many as 10 with four made free throws from Gary Johnson.
UAlbany put the Seawolves in the bonus with 10:13 left in the second half, but Stony Brook’s Jameel Warney picked up his fourth foul with 8:09 left. Upon Warney’s exit, Stony Brook went on a 16-0 run while UAlbany went scoreless for five minutes.
The Seawolves went 9-for-10 in the final eight minutes of the game, and took a nine-point lead with 1:32 left, 66-57. Evans and Hooley hit a pair of threes to narrow the margin to five. Hooley hit two free throws and another three-pointer to bring UAlbany within three, but the Seawolves made their free throws down the stretch.
Evans, Hooley and Rowley scored 15 points apiece. Johnson also finished in double figures with 11 points. Johnson and Rowley led UAlbany with eight boards, marking a new career high for Johnson.
THE AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT
The Great Danes will face UMBC in the America East Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 8 at approximately 2:30 p.m., in the 4-5 match-up. Will Brown’s squad is the No. 4 seed for the fourth consecutive year after finishing 9-7 in league play for the fourth-straight season.
Saturday, March 8 - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Vermont vs. No. 8 New Hampshire, 12:00 p.m. - ESPN3
No. 4 Albany vs. No. 5 UMBC, 30 mins following. - ESPN3
No. 2 Stony Brook vs. No. 7 Maine, 6:00 p.m. - ESPN3
No. 3 Hartford vs. No. 6 Binghamton, 30 mins following - ESPN3
Sunday, March 9 - Semifinals
Semifinal #1, 5:00 p.m. - ESPN3
Semifinal #2, 30 mins following - ESPN3
Saturday, March 15 - Title Game
Semifinal Winners - 11:30 a.m. - ESPN2