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America East Tournament: Hooley's Late 3 Propels Albany to NCAA Tournament

Peter Hooley's last second 3-pointer brought Stony Brook to its knees, giving the Great Danes their third consecutive championship title and NCAA Tournament bid.

With four seconds left on the clock, the Albany Great Danes -- down by two and the ball in their hands -- needed a miracle. The Stony Brook fans were relentless, believing that they had finally gotten their chance to dance.

Peter Hooley had something different in mind.

Stony Brook had taken the lead at the end of the first half and refused to let it go. Jameel Warney and Carson Puriefoy showed they clearly carry the team, scoring 43 of the team's 50 points. The only other players who broke into the box score were Kameron Mitchell who hit a 3-pointer and Scott King who finished the game with four points.

Both teams struggled on offense in the first half. Albany went 6-for-29 and Stony Brook had only a little edge, going 5-for-28. The shots were just not falling. That was until Warney went on a run to pick up 10 of the last 16 points in the half, giving the Seawolves a 20-16 lead at the half.

"Stony Brook did a great job. They forced us to go zone," said Albany coach Will Brown. "I hate zone, can't stand zone. But we had to find a way where they couldn't just come down and throw it into the big fella [Warney]."

Albany stuck to their original plan. They played like they did every other game and managed to claw their way back from a seven-point deficit with 2:54 remaining. Thanks to a pair of missed free throws, a foul from Warney and a foul from Puriefoy, the Danes climbed to within one point with 17 seconds left.

Puriefoy had a chance to make both free throws for a 3-point lead and possibly give his team the title of America East Champions if they could hold the Albany offense.

The crowd watched as the second of his two foul shots rimmed out. Ray Sanders drove down the court for a layup. Off of a miss, Mike Rowley tipped it out to the top of the key and in to the hands of Peter Hooley.

"I saw Sam point to the rim and I guess I thought he wanted me to go try and lay it up, but i decided to shoot it anyway," Hooley said. "When you've got angels watching you, you can do anything."

One of those angels was likely Hooley's mother, who passed away from cancer in January. The junior spent a month away from his team to be home with his family in Australia.

Everyone  in SEFCU Arena watched as Hooley launched what looked to be an off-balanced 3-point shot. With 1.6 seconds left on the clock, the fans erupted in cheers as the ball swished through the net and the Danes led 51-50.

"Once I saw it in Peter's hand and once I saw it come out of his hands, I knew it was going in," Brown said.

The fans stormed the court once the final buzzer went off, in a sea of purple, gold and tears.

Sam Rowley, Albany's captain, could not have been prouder of his fellow Australian:

"There couldn't have been a more fitting end," Rowley said. "You couldn't write this stuff. It's unbelievable. To do it within the game it was unbelievable, but you take into account the context of everything that's happened, it's just beyond words.

"I'm proud of him, I'm proud he could do this for his mom, for his family, for the fans, the team, the coaches, for everybody.

"This was just a perfect moment and I"m proud to say he's my friend, and my teammate."