The Albany Great Danes and the Vermont Catamounts have been the top two teams in the America East Conference since conference play began in early January. This is the first game between the two teams, as the Great Danes will host the Catamounts in the season finale on February 28. But the Great Danes have not lost a conference game, and with Vermont losing earlier in the season to New Hampshire for their first conference loss, they really needed to get a victory against the Great Danes.
Albany started off slowly, with Sam Rowley hitting their first four buckets from the floor, all 4 layups, and they trailed 9-11 to Vermont at the 8 minute TV timeout left in the first half. That was when the Great Danes went on a run before the half, with Mike Rowley hitting 2 buckets, Ray Sanders hitting a layup and a 3 pointer, Sam Rowley hit two free throws and a jumper, and Evan Singletary hit a 3 as well and they went on a 16-6 run to close out the first half and led 25-17.
The Great Danes would hold the lead throughout the second half, and at the final TV timeout they led 39-34, and Evan Singletary immediately hit a jumper to extend the lead to 7 points. Ethan O'Day hit two free throws for Vermont, and Albany responded with another Sam Rowley jumper to lead 43-36, but then the Great Danes shooting went cold.
Trae Bell-Haynes hit a three pointer to cut the deficit down to four, and then the Catamounts started to foul. Kurt Steidl hit two free throws for Vermont, and then Trae Bell-Haynes added another one before Albany would make any, which cut the lead to one. Evan Singletary finally hit a free throw to give the Great Danes a 2 point lead, but with 16 seconds left in the game, Dre Wills dunked it to give the Catamounts a tie game. With just 1.5 seconds left, Evan Singletary hit a three pointer for the Great Danes to give them a 3 point lead and Vermont's final shot would miss giving Albany another conference win.
Scoring: Sam Rowley of the Albany Great Danes, 18 points
Rebounds: Ray Sanders of the Albany Great Danes, 13 rebounds
Assists: Ray Sanders of the Albany Great Danes and Trae Bell-Haynes of the Vermont Catamounts, 3 assists each
Blocks: Ethan O'Day of the Vermont Catamounts, 5 blocks
Player of the Game: Evan Singletary of the Albany Great Danes, 13 points, 2-4 from 3, and 3-5 from the free throw line, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and the game winning shot with just 1.5 seconds remaining.
Next up for the Albany Great Danes (13-7, 8-0) is the cellar dweller of the America East, the Maine Black Bears (2-19, 1-7), and they play in Maine at the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday, January 31. Meanwhile, the Vermont Catamounts (11-10, 6-2) will face the Hartford Hawks (11-10, 4-4) on the same day at Chase Arena in Connecticut.