ALBANY, N.Y. – Sophomore Kalil Thomas (New Orleans, La.) recorded a career-high 19 points to pace the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s basketball team (8-10, 7-7 AE) in an 81-69 loss at UAlbany (5-7, 5-5 AE) on Saturday afternoon.
Although the River Hawks led, 42-40, at halftime, the Great Danes outscored the visitors, 41-27, in the second to earn the comeback decision.
“I thought both teams played really hard,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “Credit to Albany. There was no backing down. They came in and played tough and physical for 40 minutes. I thought we did a lot of good things. The thing I’m happiest about is I don’t think my team is satisfied right now that we came here and won one of two. The only thing I thought we left on the table tonight was free throws.”
Thomas matched a personal best with four three-point field goals. Junior Allin Blunt (Bowie, Md.) added 11 points in the outing, while sophomore Connor Withers (Manassas, Va.) finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Freshman Max Brooks (Waldorf, Md.) led the team on the glass with a season-high 10 rebounds, as well.
Graduate student Salif Boudie (Bamako, Mali) completed a three-point play to put the River Hawks on the board first in the contest, but the teams would play evenly matched and trade the lead four times before the Great Danes scored nine in a row to pull ahead, 20-16, with 11:43 remaining in the first half.
Freshman Anthony Blunt (Bowie, Md.) hit a three to spark a 9-3 run that put the River Hawks back in front, 25-23, halfway through the period. The teams continued to trade buckets, though, with the home side on top twice more in the first until Brooks sunk one of his signature, two-handed dunks to help UMass Lowell create a five-point margin. And even though the Great Danes cut the difference to just one, Brooks slammed another, and Anthony Blunt converted at the line to give their squad a 42-40 advantage at the break.
UAlbany opened the second half on a 15-2 run to turn the momentum and create a 55-44 lead with 14 minutes left to play. Allin Blunt and Daley scored back-to-back buckets to make it a seven-point game, but the Great Danes put together a 9-2 spurt later in the period with the help of strong free throw shooting to take their largest lead, 77-60, at 4:21
Daley banked in a jumper and Thomas followed with his fourth triple to cut the difference to 12, although the team was unable to come any closer in the 81-69 outcome.
After six straight games on the road, the River Hawks are back home next weekend to host Harford in a single game on Sunday, February 21.
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