In past years a bad stench of basketball would have led to a number change in the loss column for UMass Lowell Riverhawks. On Wednesday night, they not only had one of those stretches but unlike previous years, found a way to bounce back and take control. Down seven at the intermission, the Riverhawks battled back outscoring the Great Danes by a whopping nineteen points in the second half. It led the way to a second straight conference win, 84-72 over UAlbany.
The Riverhawks (10-9. 2-2 in AE), placed five guys in double figures. They were led by sophomore guard Obadiah Noel’s 22 points and the seventh double-double of the season by Christian Lutete (13 points,11 rebounds). However, it may have been a pair of freshman that led the charge. Guard Bruce Daley (16 points, 7-of-9 shooting, and four assists) and Darius Henderson (10 points, five rebounds) were key contributors to the second haft comeback. Both guys had season-high point totals.
Riverhawks head coach Pat Duquette said: “it was a great comeback win at home”. He credited the win to his team’s ability to “stick with it, especially on the defensive end”. That ability to hang with it was put to the test in the first half as the Great Danes were knocking down shots from everywhere. In the first half, they shot 70% from the field (17-of-24), and a blistering five of seven from deep.
A tight first half was broken open by Albany’s ability to hit their shots. A 12-0 run by the Great Danes gave the visitors an eleven point lead at 24-13 with six and a half minutes left in the half. Devonte Campbell, (15 points, eight rebounds) had six of those points on two three-point bombs. The Riverhawks responded with a 14-6 run that got them back to within five at 30-25. Albany’s backcourt mates, Daley with four and Alex Rivera with six on his way to a 12 point night, kept the Riverhawks in the first half.
The Great Danes finished the half strong and when Rayshawn Miller hit a three from the right wing as time expired, Albany went to the locker room up by seven at 42-35. The key factors were 16 points for Albany on seven UMass Lowell turnovers and 16 more points in the paint. Great Danes head coach, Will Brown, was pleased with his team’s first twenty minutes, minus the nine turnovers they committed.
In the second half, UMass Lowell locked it down defensively and outscored Albany 49-30 in the process. They would tie the game at 47 on a Noel layup off of a Great Danes turnover. Then, Daley hit a foul line jumper to put the Riverhawks up 56-54 with 10:23 left. A Riverhawks six nothing run gave them their biggest lead to that point at 64-56. With eight minutes left, an 11-2 spurt by Lowell put the game away at 70-61 with four and a half remaining.
The Riverhawks ballooned the lead to as much as sixteen on three different occasions before settling on the twelve point win at 84-72. After the game, Bryce Daley was asked about his career night and said: “I took what the defense gave me”.
Albany (5-13, 0-3 in AE) got 19 points from Cameron Healy and 13 from Ahmad Clark. they stay on the road headed to UMBC While UMass Lowell begins a two-game road trip on Saturday at Hartford
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