Albany Wins Second-Straight #AEHoops MBB Title
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – For the second-straight year and fourth time since 2006, Albany is the America East men’s basketball champion. The fourth-seeded Great Danes outscored second-seeded Stony Brook, 15-6, down the stretch to post a 69-60 win in the league championship game Saturday at Stony Brook’s Pritchard Gym.
Albany, the league’s first repeat champion in seven seasons, earned its fourth NCAA tournament appearance since 2006 and will learn its NCAA tournament draw on Sunday at 6 p.m. The selection show will be nationally televised on CBS.
Peter Hooley scored 15 points, including seven in Albany’s closing run, and earned the tournament’s Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player trophy. He averaged 23.7 points in Albany’s three wins.
Stony Brook (23-10) came out firing in the first half, hitting four of its first five shots to take a 9-0 lead. After Will Brown, who joined Jim Calhoun as the only coach to win at least four America East crowns, called timeout, Albany countered with runs of 10-0 and 18-4 run, as the Great Danes hit six of their next seven shots after an 0-for-4 start from the floor.
The rest of half, which included two ties and five lead changes, was back and forth, as both teams shot well. The Great Danes, who shot 47 percent in the frame, maintained their advantage thanks to D.J. Evans, an All-Championship selection, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half. The Seawolves, who hit 54 percent of their first-half shots, made seven of their last nine attempts of the stanza, capped by a Ahmad Walker layup with 24 seconds left to make the score 34-31 Albany at the break.
The even play continued at the onset of the second half as Albany maintained its advantage and grew its lead to four on a Sam Rowley jumper with 15:04 left in the game. The Seawolves would take their first lead since early in the first half using a 7-0 run to take a 52-46 with 7:02 left on an Eric McAlister free throw as Rowley, an All-Championship choice, fouled out after scoring a game-high 18 points.
Albany (18-14), winner of six of its last seven games, came right back again however going on a 6-0 run of its own to even the score at 52 with 5:41 left. A game that featured five ties and nine lead changes overall was tied for the last time at 54-all as the Great Danes held the Seawolves to just 28 percent shooting after the break and scored 15 of the game’s final 21 points. Hooley, also an All-Championship had seven of them as he hit a layup and a game-sealing three-pointer with 1:04 left to go with a pair of free throws.
Carson Puriefoy led Stony Brook with 13 points while America East Player of the Year Jameel Warney had 12 points and nine rebounds. That duo earned All-Championship honors joining Evans, Hooley and Rowley.
Albany's America East title is its fourth all time and third since 2006 ... Albany matches last year’s feat as the lowest seeded team (4th) to ever win the America East title and just the fourth seeded lower than second to ever win the title ... Albany improves to 14-9 all time in championship play, while Stony Brook falls to 12-13 ... Albany is the third-straight team to win the title on the road and just the sixth to accomplish the feat in 31 games played at one team’s home facility ... With the win, Will Brown joins Jim Calhoun as the only coaches to win at least four America East championships … Albany is the fifth school to win at least four conference titles and first to do so without also losing a championship game ... Albany was 18-of-19 from the free throw line ... Stony Brook held a 35-32 edge on the boards ... Albany shot 46.7 percent for the game, while Stony Brook shot 39.3 percent … The Seawolves were just 2-of-16 from three-point land.