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America East First Round Recap

March 9, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




America East First Round Recap

Recap by Adam Reich

No. 8 Stony Brook 65, No. 9 UMBC 59
The Seawolves withstood a late UMBC charge to hold on for the win. Led
by forward Mike Popoko (11 first half pts) and reserve guard Bobby
Santiago (9 first half points), the Seawolves came out storming as
they outscored the Retrievers 21-7 to start the game. UMBC clawed
their way back, but solid free throw shooting down the stretch from D.
J. Munir (team-high 16 pts) put the game away.

Stony Brook led 58-47 with 3:30 left in the game when Rob Gogerty
scored six straight points to pull UBMC within five at 58-53 with two
minutes to go. The junior guard, who finished with a game-high twenty
points, drained a long three and converted a three-point play before
the rally was thwarted.

Early on Popoko was able to slice through the UMBC defense and get
himself to the line, where he was a perfect 7-for-7 in the opening
stanza. Santiago, on the other hand, found himself open on the
perimeter. The sophomore, who is averaging only 3.4 points per game,
knocked down all three of his first-half attempts from beyond the arc.

UMBC responded with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 21-14
with 8:45 to play in the first half. Gogerty hit a pair of treys to
keep UMBC within striking distance in the first half, but overall the
Retrievers were stifled by an active Stony Brook zone defense. They
committed an uncharacteristic nine turnovers as the Seawolves took a
38-24 lead at the break.

For Stony Brook, Popoko finished with thirteen points, while Mike
Konopka had a game-high seven rebounds. Gogerty shot 5-of-7 from
three-point range for the Retrievers who finish the season at

No. 7 New Hampshire 43, No. 10 Albany 38
New Hampshire escaped with the win in what was the lowest scoring game
in America East Tournament history. Neither team could get into an
offensive groove, as the two squads combined for 29 turnovers and 36
fouls. But in the end it was the play of reserve guard Jermaine
Anderson and Griffin Walker that helped UNH survive Albany’s upset bid
in this foul-plague battle.

Anderson sparked a 6-0 UNH run with a steal and lay-up that gave the
Wildcats a 36-30 lead with just under four minutes remaining. He
finished with a game-high six assists to go along with nine points and
seven boards. Walker, who shot only 2-of-9 for the game, made his only
buckets count, as each of his hoops helped the Wildcats extend the
lead down the stretch. The Great Danes had numerous chances to tie the
game with under a minute to go, but each attempt came up empty.

The Wildcats were able to open up an early 15-7 lead as the Great
Danes struggled at the onset. Albany looked completely out of sync,
turning the ball over five times in the first six minutes. But the
Great Danes buckled down on the defensive end and clawed their way
back, holding UNH scoreless for a five-minute stretch. Albany took its
first lead, 21-19, on an Aquawasi St. Hillaire put-back with 1:45 left
in the half. St. Hillaire tallied nine first-half points and five
rebounds with UNH forward Ben Sturgill relegated to the bench with two
fouls.

For the game New Hampshire and Albany shot 33.3% and 31%,
respectively. The two teams were even more futile from beyond the arc,
shooting a combined 3-of-26 (11.6%). Blagoj Janev led the Wildcats
with eleven points, while St. Hillaire tallied eighteen points and
twelve boards for the Great Danes, both of which were game-highs.

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