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Great Danes Win First NCAA Tournament Game in Basketball, Advance to Face Florida

D.J. Evans (3) rallies teammates John Puk (44) and Sam Rowley (14) during the Great Danes' first-round game in the NCAA Tournament against Mount St. Mary's. (Photos Gregory Shamus, Getty Images)

DAYTON, Ohio (March 18, 2014) -- The UAlbany men's basketball team outlasted Mount St. Mary’s 71-64 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, capturing its first victory in the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level in team history. The Great Danes got 21 points from D.J. Evans and 20 from Peter Hooley at the University at Dayton Arena.

With the win, the Great Danes (19-14) earned a trip to Orlando, Fla. to take on top-seed Florida. The game is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 4:10 at the Amway Center in Orlando.

The Great Danes came out on fire and ultimately made all the plays it needed down the stretch to win the opening game of the NCAA Tournament. UAlbany started off on a 13-0 run, and built its lead up to 21-2 before Mount St. Mary's staged a comeback.

Peter Hooley
UAlbany's Peter Hooley goes up for two of his 20 points in the Great Danes' 71-64 victory over Mount St. Mary's.

The Mountaineers followed the Danes' start with a 21-2 run of their own, tying the game at 23. The teams battled back-and-forth for the remainder of the first half before a layup by Hooley and a jumper by Evans sent the Danes up 35-31 at the break.

John Puk made a jumper to give the Great Danes a 37-31 to start the second half, but Mount St. Mary's slowly chipped away at the lead, and eventually getting out in front 40-39 following a three-pointer by Will Miller.

The Mountaineers built their lead out to 45-41 at 14:08 in the second half, before the Great Danes settled down and began establishing their half-court offense.

A jumper by Hooley put UAlbany up 48-46 at the 12:42 mark, and the Great Danes would never trail the rest of the way. Gary Johnson finished with 13 points for UAlbany, and John Puk and Sam Rowley chipped in with 8 apiece.

"It means a lot," said coach Will Brown. "There's no better feeling. Like I told our kids, we're going to be in the history books at the University at Albany forever."

Miller finished with 21 points off the bench for Mount St. Mary's (16-17), all on three-pointers.

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