ALBANY, N.Y. – Despite leading with just over three minutes left to play, the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s basketball team (9-7, 1-3 AE) fell, 57-47, at America East foe UAlbany (5-10, 1-2 AE) on Wednesday.
“This was a tough loss for us,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “We are trying to find ourselves right now. It’s been a tough start to conference play. Obviously, 1-3 was not what we hoped for. Just doing a little soul searching, trying to figure ourselves out. I’m sure my guys will respond the right way, just not off to a real encouraging start in league play.”
Sophomore Max Brooks (Waldorf, Md.) set a new, all-time program record with 10 blocks on the night. He added nine points and five rebounds. Senior Everette Hammond (Silver Spring, Md.) totaled 13 points to pace the River Hawks, while sophomore Ayinde Hikim (Washington, D.C.) totaled four assists.
Hammond logged the first five points of the night for the River Hawks, but both sides got off to a slow start offensively. Halfway through the period, Hikim drove to the hoop for the first of six straight points in a 9-2 run that gave his squad a 14-11 advantage with 7:48 remaining in the first. After a pair of quick lead changes, the visitors were back on top, but the Great Danes’ Matt Cerruti floated in a last-second jumper to give the home team a 21-20 edge at the break.
The River Hawks opened the second half with increased pressure, as graduate student Justin Faison (Prince George’s County, Md.) drained a three from the top of the key to spark a 15-4 run that gave UMass Lowell a 35-25 lead with 14:36 to go.
The game of runs tilted back in favor of the Great Danes, though, when a 17-2 spurt that was capped off by back-to-back threes made it 42-37 at 8:22. However, Brooks would then take control and march the River Hawks right back into the lead, 43-42, with buckets on three straight possessions.
UMass Lowell led once more down the stretch until UAlbany scored the final 13 points of the night to seal the outcome.
The River Hawks are off this weekend before hosting Maine on Wednesday, January 19 at 7 p.m.
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