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Three Key Takeaways.
- Back to back 21-2 runs don’t happen that often… Albany opened the game by going on a 21-2 tear, and it appeared as if they were about to put the game completely out of reach early. Mount St. Mary’s roared back with an equally impressive 21-2 run of their own to even things up, and the rest of the evening settled into a close back-and-forth contest the rest of the way.
- The difference in the game: tempo. Albany’s bench is shallow and only played 16 total minutes beyond the starters. Mount St. Mary’s likes to play a fast-paced game, but they were atrocious from the field in the first 10 minutes. They did a great job forcing Albany to pick up the tempo by pressing in the second half, and when they did, Albany made too many mistakes. Mount St. Mary’s seemed to go away from what got them there in the last 10 minutes, purposely slowing things down, which allowed Albany not only to stay fresh, but to take the advantage down the stretch.
- First round jitters. Both teams looked very sloppy at times, and this allowed for some streaky runs from both in the first half. Mount St. Mary’s started the game 0-of-11 from the field, including an ice-cold 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. Albany had 14 turnovers, but Mount St. Mary’s failed to capitalize on enough of those opportunities. Ultimately the poor three-point shooting in the first half by Mount St. Mary’s led to their demise. One bright light was Will Miller, who was 7-of-12 from three-point range and seemed to knock down shot after critical shot to change momentum when they needed it most.
Star of the Game. D.J. Evans, Albany – Evans set the stage in the opening minutes with several key baskets and assists, and he always seemed to be there when Albany needed him the most. He had nine rebounds to go along with his team-leading 22 points, despite being just 5’9”. His ball-handling was instrumental to the Danes’ victory, as Mount St. Mary’s caused most of their turnovers when he was off the floor. He also had a critical rebound off a Mount St. Mary’s miss with 12 seconds remaining, and hit both free throws to ice the game.