CARS HOMES JOBS

UAlbany vs. Fairfield: Danes surprise Stags

Sunday, February 24, 2013
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— The University at Albany’s big man put in a giant performance in Saturday’s ESPN BrackeBuster game.

Six-foot-10 junior center John Puk, who averages only 4.3 points a game, scored 13 and grabbed seven rebounds, including three on the offensive glass, to lead the Great Danes past Fairfield, 58-50, at Webster Bank Arena.

The Great Danes, 20-9 overall and 10-4 on the road, reached 20 wins for the third time in their Div-ision I program history.

Playing without injured starter Peter Hooley (concussion), the Great Danes used balanced scoring and clutch defense to beat the Stags. UAlbany recorded 11 steals for the game — just their second time this season with 10 or more.

The game was close in the first half, with seven lead changes and three ties. Neither team grabbed a lead of more than three points for the first 15 minutes of play.

The Great Danes, who also got 13 points from sophomore forward Sam Rowley, took over the final five minutes of the first half, going on a 7-3 run to grab a seven-point lead, 26-19, with 1:38 left.

UAlbany began the second half on a 7-0 run that was sparked by Puk inside, scoring five of the seven points during that spurt. The Danes led, 34-24, with 17:10 left.

The teams traded baskets for the next 10 minutes, with the Great Danes going 6-for-6, on junior guard DJ Evans’ 4-for-4 and Gary Johnson’s 2-for-2, to get the lead to 10, 47-37, with 4:40 left in the game,

Fairfield (17-12), of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, went on a 13-9 run to cut the deficit to six, 56-50, with 29 seconds remaining. The Stags’ Marcus Gilbert hit a contested three in the right corner to get Fairfield within two possessions.

Evans sealed the game for the Great Danes with his second steal of the game and hit one of two from the free throw line.

UAlbanyis 2-3 all-time in BracketBuster games.

UAllbany dominated at the free throw line, sinking 21 of 30 shots. The Stags were just 10-for-13.

The Great Danes will play their final home game in the regular season on Thursday against New Hampshire at SEFCU Arena. UAlbany will honor seniors Jayson Guerrier, Blake Metcalf, Jacob Iati (again), and Mike Black.

UALBANY (58)

Rowley 4-6 5-8 13, Johnson 3-9 3-4 9, Puk 4-7 5-6 13, Iati 3-7 2-2 9, Black 2-7 1-4 5, Evans 0-3 5-6 5, Metcalf 2-3 0-0 4, Guerrier 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-42 21-30 58.

FAIRFIELD (50)

Gilbert 2-6 0-0 6, Matthews 3-5 5-5 11, Mikulic 2-7 0-0 6, Needham 6-11 3-4 15, Nickerson 1-4 0-2 2, Jenkins 1-4 0-0 2, Barrow 0-4 2-2 2, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Johnston 2-4 0-0 6. Totals 17-45 10-13 50.

Halftime: UAlbany, 27-24. Three-point goals: UAlbany 1-6 (Iati 1-3, Evans 0-1, Black 0-2), Fairfield 6-21 (Johnston 2-4, Mikulic 2-6, Gilbert 2-6, Nickerson 0-1, Jenkins 0-1, Needham 0-3). Fouled out: Barrow, Needham. Rebounds: UAlbany 33 (Puk 7), Fairfield 25 (Barrow 5). Assists: UAlbany 7 (Black, Iati, Johnson 2), Fairfield 10 (Needham 3). Total fouls: UAlbany 14, Fairfield 21. A: 3,678.

 
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