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Albany wins First Four game to advance in NCAA

Albany Guard D.J. Evans On Career Night

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- D.J. Evans scored 22 points, including two clinching free throws with 12.6 seconds left, to lead Albany to its first NCAA tournament victory, 71-64 over Mount St. Mary's on Tuesday night in the First Four.

The Great Danes (19-14) advance to meet overall No. 1 seed and top-ranked Florida on Thursday in Orlando.

It was a wild game of incredible turnarounds, with the Great Danes bolting to leads of 13-0 and 21-2, only to have The Mount (16-17) bounce back with a 21-2 run of its own to pull even.

Peter Hooley had 20 points and Gary Johnson 13 for Albany, winless in its three previous NCAA trips.

Hooley, one of three Australians on the Albany roster, hit two free throws with 2:43 remaining to stretch the lead to 65-62. After Julian Norfleet countered with a bucket, Hooley again pounded his way to the basket and lofted a shot over a defender for a 67-64 lead at the 2-minute mark.

It stayed that way with the teams missing big shots. Rashad Whack and Norfleet each missed potential tying 3s before Evans was fouled with 12.6 seconds left and hit both shots to increase the lead to five points.

Norfleet then missed another 3 and Albany finally could call itself an NCAA winner.

Will Miller led The Mount with 21, all on 3s. He didn't get a shot off in the last 3:32.

Whack added 16 points and Sam Prescott 14 for The Mount, which electrified the crowd at the University of Dayton with 3-point fireworks. The Mountaineers hit 12 of 37 shots behind the arc to time and again come back from deficits.

The glut of 3-pointers was nothing new for the Mountaineers. They came in with an offense heavily dependent on shots behind the arc. They averaged 9 of 25 on 3-pointers coming in.

Albany had made some racket in the NCAAs before, but had never come out on top. In 2006, the Great Danes led by double figures in the second half but lost to Connecticut, 72-59. A year later, they held their own before falling Virginia, 84-57. A year ago, as a 15 seed, they battled Duke throughout before coming up short, 73-61.

Albany led 35-31 at the break, but that didn't tell the story of one bizarre half.

The Mount couldn't do much right for the first 8-plus minutes. The Great Danes raced to a 13-0 lead. The Mountaineers missed misfired on their first 11 shots from the field, including six behind the arc.

Even after Whack finally got them on the board with a driving layup at the 13:17 mark, the Great Danes kept pouring it on. When Hooley cut through the lane for a layup at the 11:33 mark, Albany led 21-2 and the Mount St. Mary's white-clad cheering section was silent.

Just that quickly, things turned around.

A team fueled by 3s finally went on a surge after Miller hit the first of his three first-half 3s. That touched off an 18-0 run, with Miller leading the way with three long bombs and Norfleet adding one.

After trading such huge swings of momentum, now the teams traded baskets.

From a tie at 31, the Great Danes closed the half with Hooley scoring off a long pass from Evans after a steal. Then in the final seconds, Evans hit a baseline jumper for the four-point lead.

Mount St. Mary's was also making its fourth NCAA appearance, although it had won once before - a victory over Coppin State in 2008 in the old format of an opening-round leading into the big tournament.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
gpmwdm March 18 2014 at 11:30 PM

THE MOUNT RULES!!!

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2 replies
brian gpmwdm March 19 2014 at 8:14 AM

I saw the game. They blow.

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1 reply
Steve brian March 19 2014 at 11:23 AM

Yes Brian, you do blow!

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ae12wrangell gpmwdm March 19 2014 at 11:31 AM

Enjoy that moment. The Mount is not going to the Sweet Sixteen, or Elite Eight, or the Final Four, or even, God Help Us, the Championship game. The Mount will, instead, be crushed in the next round, and the final score will be beyond brutal.

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Derrick and Ann March 19 2014 at 12:35 PM

Albany is going to upset Florida.Bracket buster.watch.

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1 reply
Sacramento Sign Derrick and Ann March 19 2014 at 4:50 PM

NOT a chance

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aol english March 19 2014 at 2:15 AM

Congratulations, DJ. You played a great game.

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Timothy March 19 2014 at 11:50 AM

Upset is in the air against Floridia. Albany 83 Forilda 79 a major upset is coming!!
Tim Maloney
USA 89113

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1 reply
Sacramento Sign Timothy March 19 2014 at 4:52 PM

I'm not really a Florida fan, but you can predict Florida 79, Albany 63

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dtsv180 March 19 2014 at 1:13 AM

It does not matter if they win or lose. They get to experience being in the greatest college basketball tournament in history.

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hockey March 19 2014 at 12:24 AM

A 16 - 17 team should not have any chance to be playing in any Tourney ever! Get rid of the Conference Championships and send the Conference champions who have won all year along with top remaining teams and play ball. I know, the Tournaments at the end of the year are making the NCAA too much money so that will never happen. Money rules, not educatons.

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billwiltfang March 19 2014 at 11:01 AM

Go MSU!

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fzubrin March 19 2014 at 10:58 AM

Albany grad here, '72. This would be a bigger upset with Florida than David v. Goliath. At least the Danes will get some warm weather after a typical Albany winter. Go Danes!

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1 reply
billwiltfang fzubrin March 19 2014 at 10:59 AM

Yeah....not gonna happen.

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Pat March 19 2014 at 9:07 AM

Good news for Albany. A chance to get out of the cold, in Orlando. At least they will have a chance to go to DisneyWorld! Go Gators!!!

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neveragain000000 March 19 2014 at 8:09 AM

GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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