When you've got angels watching, you can do anything.
Peter Hooley said that last year after hitting the game winning three in the America East Championship game, to send the Albany Great Danes back to the NCAA tournament. Their road win against Hartford had a similar feel to it. But not because of a game winning shot.
A year ago Hooley was back home in Australia, unfortunately having to deal with the passing of his mother. Their game against Hartford happened to fall on the anniversary of her passing, making it a rough day for everyone. "I probably got 30 minutes sleep last night. " Hooley said, "I was pretty worried about how I was going to come out today."
A lack of sleep didn't seem to bother Hooley. He stepped up his game, coming only three points shy of tying his career high of 30 points. He picked up the only double-double of the game and was miles ahead of anyone else points wise. Having been in a recent scoring slump, hitting all five of his free throws and four of nine from beyond the arc; it's arguably one of his best games of the season.
The Great Danes and the Hartford Hawks have an interesting relationship. Not just because they both have multiple players from Australia, but because when these two teams meet, Albany tends to do amazing things. "It seems like every time Peter Hooley is shooting bad, the best team for him to face is Hartford." said Hartford Head Coach John Gallagher
In a way, he's right. Two years ago, these teams faced each other with astounding results. Albany's three point percentage was a high of 69.6%, going 16 for 23. Hooley had 25 in that game. There's something about Hartford that makes Albany play their best.
"I don't know [what it is] but we need to bottle it," head coach Will Brown said.
Albany's offensive attack threw Hartford completely off guard. They couldn't really get started in scoring, which lead to being a little less productive on the defensive end.
"A lot of it has to do with our inept offense . . . we did have four missed layups around the rim." said Gallagher. "And compound that with some defensive breakdowns."
Cleveland "Pancake" Thomas has been a hot hand lately for Hartford, not only grabbing a new career high of 35 against Rider earlier in the season, but breaking that high at New Hampshire with 38. Thomas ended with only eight points, missing both of his three point shot attempts.
Taylor Dyson, the lonesome senior who also brought in a new career high this season, was almost nonexistent with five points and two rebounds. The only two players for Hartford to reach double digits were junior Jalen Ross and freshman Jason Dunne with 12 and 10 respectively. Dunne may have only played 11 minutes of the game, but he sure gave his all and it definitely showed.
Meanwhile, Albany was dominating the boards and the free throw line. They had a whopping 49 boards and made 19 of their 25 free throws. Not to mention they hit 11 of their shots from beyond the arc.
Albany continues their road stint with a game against UMBC on Wednesday while Hartford will host UMass Lowell.