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Albany Trumps Hartford Hawks to Stay Undefeated in America East Conference

While the 62-53 score in Albany's favor are what people will remember from this matchup, it's what happened before the game that brought the Hawks and the Great Danes together for a moment, ignoring conference rivalries.

The Albany Great Danes walked into the home of the Hartford Hawks Thursday night, hoping to expand their winning streak, and keep their perfect conference play record despite their recent hardships, and that's exactly what they did.

Without their leading scorer, the Great Danes relied heavily on underclassman. Junior Peter Hooley had left the team to go home to Australia for personal reasons, leaving them without a huge part of their offense. While they were able to rally together to beat Stony Brook on their home court Monday, many wondered if their pure adrenaline and excitement would carry over into their next games.

Sam Rowley netted a career high 22 points against the Hawks. Being the only Dane in double digits, it was clear that their offense ran almost entirely through him. But if you asked Sam to talk about his playing, he credits the rest of his team "A lot of my shots, it's the other guys that did the hard work to get me the ball for an open layup... I think we do a great job as a team... whatever the stats are, it's a team effort."

While Rowley's career high and the Great Dane's 6-0 record were the talk after the game, there was something that went on before the game that caught people's attention. Both Albany and Hartford have a large Australian presence, and with Peter Hooley back home with his family, particularly his mother who is battling colon cancer, the Hawks decided to show their support for both the team and the Hooley family by presenting Albany with a check to the South Australia Cancer Council in honor of Peter's mother, Sue.

"I'm fortunate enough to know Coach Gallagher a bit and also the Australian guys there... and it shows a level of maturity, I think, when you can be joking around with those guys before the game, even during the game Coach Gallagher was joking with me, and then compete all out for 40 minutes and after the game it's 'good game, look forward to seeing you next time'. It just shows the character of those guys," Rowley said.

Albany Head Coach Will Brown had a similar reaction, touting nothing but praise for John Gallagher and his team:

"John Gallagher called me last night to tell me that they were going present the check, and he wanted to give it to me at half court, and he was going to have Corban Wroe give it to me. And then they came and approached me today and Corban had asked Coach Gallagher if he could give it to Sam, because they have a relationship and they know each other... That was a class move. Not only did John give me a check, but John reached out to Peter. I think that says a lot about John and his character, and the type of guy he is... That's something that I thought was impressive and I think not only  is his family going to appreciate that, but I think our team really appreciates that and all the respect we have for Hartford, we even have more now."