Posted at: 01/15/2014 11:49 PM
By: Chris Onorato
LOWELL, MASS.- The University at Albany men’s basketball team (8-9, 2-2 AE) let a lead slip late and fell 70-66 in overtime to UMass Lowell (4-11, 3-1 AE) at the Costello Athletic Center on Wednesday night. The River Hawks have now won three straight games in conference play.
“Lowell played extremely hard,” said head coach Will Brown. “I thought we had opportunities to close it out in regulation and we didn’t take advantage. We missed 10 free throws. UMass Lowell hung around and scraped and clawed and fought. They got the win and they deserve a lot of credit.”
In his first career start, sophomore guard Ede Egharevba got off to a hot start, leading the Great Danes with four points early. UAlbany was 3-for-4 from the field in the early moments of the game.
UMass Lowell responded with Tyler Livingston from the three-point line. Livingston hit the first three of the game with just 1:30 gone. The River Hawks hit five threes in the first half (5-14, .357), including two from Akeem Williams to keep the score close at the half.
But the Great Danes forced the River Hawks into foul trouble early. Two UMass Lowell starters had two fouls with 13 minutes left in the half, and UAlbany was in the bonus at 11:33.
UAlbany went on a 5-0 run thanks to good defense. Sam Rowley got back on a 2-on-1 fast break opportunity to prevent an easy basket, and Gary Johnson forced a 10-second call moments later to keep the lead.
In the midst of the Purple & Gold’s run, the River Hawks went on a four-minute scoring drought. Egharevba went in for a slam off a steal with six minutes left to give UAlbany a six-point lead.
The Great Danes went into the locker room with their largest lead of the half, 32-26 after Anders Haas hit a three at the buzzer. Egharevba led the squad with eight points at the break. DJ Evans had four points, five rebounds and four assists.
UMass Lowell opened the second half shooting 3-for-4 from the field, and cut the lead to three. The River Hawks took a hit when Livingston picked up two fouls in 18 seconds with 16 minutes remaining.
The Great Danes found some foul trouble of their own when Gary Johnson picked up his third foul with 11:47 left in regulation. Egharevba committed his third foul shortly thereafter. UAlbany was in the midst of a six-minute field goal drought at the time.
The River Hawks looked to gain back the momentum with eight minutes left in regulation, but a defensive effort from Rowley and a big block from John Puk kept the UAlbany lead at four, 51-47. Evans hit a jumper on the next possession to end the Purple & Gold scoring drought and provide some breathing room.
UAlbany had a seven-point lead with four minutes left, but the Great Danes missed three shots and three free throws over the next three minutes. The score was tied at 59 at the end of 40 minutes.
UMass Lowell took its first lead since the 15:13 mark of the first half with 3:50 left in overtime. The River Hawks went 3-for-5 from the field and 5-for-8 from the charity stripe in the overtime period to put the game away.
Evans played the entirety of the game and ended up with 13 points to go with six assists and six rebounds. Rowley and Johnson also had 13 apiece, while Egharevba nearly had a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
UAlbany (8-9, 2-2 AE) hits the road for Maine (3-12, 1-2 AE) on Saturday at 2 p.m.