The Albany Great Danes scored the America East tournament title last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. This season, they have picked up right where they left off, currently sitting in first-place in the conference standings. The Great Danes entered Friday night with an impressive 12-game winning streak, all of which were in America East action.
Albany took a night off from the grind of conference play to close out their non-conference slate with a road game at NJIT. The Highlanders entered Friday on a roll of their own, having won their previous five games. Most people remember the Highlanders from earlier in the season when they sent shockwaves across the NCAA with their upset road win over the Michigan Wolverines.
One of these winning streaks was going to come to an end on Friday night, and unfortunately for the fans in attendance, it was that of the Highlanders.
Albany came away with a hard-fought 65 – 59 victory on the road over NJIT.
NJIT opened the first half hot from three point range, making two of their first three attempts to go up 6 – 0 within the first two minutes of action. Ryan Sanders would get the Great Danes on the board at the 17:23 mark, and then four straight points from Sam Rowley would bring Albany back to within 2 points.
The Highlanders would go on an 11 – 4 run to take a 19 – 10 lead with less than 12 minutes remaining in the opening half. Winfield Willis scored four points for the Highlanders during their strong stretch of play.
The teams would trade blows on the offensive end before NJIT would retake a nine point lead, thanks to two three-pointers from Willis. Albany would respond, with a barrage of three pointers, two of which were from Peter Hooley. The Great Danes tied the game up at 27 – all with 4:29 left to play in the half.
Both teams would trade long balls in the closing minutes of the first half, and that’s how it ended. Albany and NJIT entered the break all tied up at 30.
In the second stanza, Albany opened on a 9 – 3 run to take a six point with just over 16 minutes to go. As was the trend in the first half, neither team could gain much separation from the other. NJIT didn’t let Albany stretch their lead to more than six, thanks to strong free throw shooting from Rub Ukawuba and Damon Lynn.
With just over 9 minutes to play, the Highlanders would momentarily retake the lead, thanks to an and-one play from Tim Coleman. Dallas Ennema responded with a jumper for Albany to tie the game, and the back-and-forth action continued.
Albany would again stretch the lead to six points before Lynn hit a three pointer for the Highlanders and Daquan Holiday made two free throws to make it a one point game with 46 seconds to play.
However, Albany was able to close out the game on a 5 – 0 run in the last 46 seconds to come away with the victory. Thanks to some timely free throws from Ray Sanders and Peter Hooley, the Great Danes were able to pull away from the stingy Highlanders.
Albany kept their winning streak going with a 65 – 59 win over the NJIT Highlanders on Friday night.
The Great Danes used a balanced scoring attack to lead them to victory on Friday night, as five different players reached double figures in the win. Sam Rowley led the way, scoring 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds in the win. Ten of Rowley’s 16 points came in the second half.
Peter Hooley recorded 10 points off the bench to help lead the team to victory.
For the hometown NJIT Highlanders, Winfield Willis and Tim Coleman led the way for the team. Each player scored 15 points in the loss. Damon Lynn was held to just 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting, doing most of his damage from the free throw line (4-of-4).
The win was the 13th straight victory for the Albany Great Danes (18 – 7, 12 – 0). After a brief break from the wear and tear of America East play, the Great Danes get back at it on Tuesday when they welcome the Stony Brook Seawolves to town.
The NJIT Highlanders (15 – 11) saw their five-game winning streak come to an end in heart-breaking fashion against Albany. The Highlanders will look to bounce back in their next time out when they take on the University of Maine-Fort Kent on Monday.