UMass-Lowell has caused quite a stir with their latest performance. They may only have four wins to their name in their first year of a Division I schedule, but three of those have come in America East play. A 70-66 win over reigning conference champions, the Albany Great Danes, in overtime has definitely caused a confidence boost for the River Hawks.
"I thought it was a really gut-wrenching, tough, hard played game against a big physical Albany team, and our guys responded." said Lowell head coach Pat Duquette
To say their win wasn't a true win would be taking away from the hard work Lowell put into the game, but to say Albany wasn't playing at their best would be an understatement.
Albany is suffering from the loss of top scorer Peter Hooley due to an injury sustained in practice before the game, also on the bench were Luke Devlin and Dallas Ennema. Their best scorer still on the court, Sam Rowley, has an injury to his dominant wrist, making him reluctant to use it. But as the reigning America East Champions, they should be able to overcome the current rash of injuries
"We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had when we had them and Lowell hung around and scraped and clawed and fought, they played well. They got the win and they deserve a lot of credit." said Albany head coach Will Brown
"He's got the kids playing really hard, playing unselfishly and believing. And now that they've won three conference games in a row, you know, it's not a fluke. They should feel good about what they're doing right now because they're doing it the right way."
UMass-Lowell came into the game boasting incredible confidence. Having two America East wins under their belts, there's nothing that beats the determination of an underdog on their home court. And with Antonio Bivins back on the court to complement Akeem Williams and Kerry Wheldon, the seniors really dominated the game. The trio combined for 45 of Lowell's 70 points.
"We got out rebounded which was expected given their size, but we really made up for it by taking care of the ball and having 15 assists and only 8 turnovers. To me, I thought that was the most important part of the game, is how well we executed offensively, how much discipline we showed down the stretch, getting into our stuff, running key plays and obviously making big plays." said Duquette
One of the biggest plays that night was a jumper by Bivins to tie the game towards the end of regulation and send it into overtime. Free throws were their friend in the end, making 14 of 22, while Albany had missed 10, going 17 for 27 on the night.
Both teams only have a few days to recharge for their next game on Saturday. Albany travels to Maine in hopes of bouncing back from their shocking loss, while Lowell will be tested to see how good they can really be when they head down to Long Island to take on current top America East contenders, Stony Brook.