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UAlbany snaps its losing streak

Danes beat UMBC again to halt their 8-game skid

February 14, 2010

By David Driver
For the Times Union
Used with permission

BALTIMORE -- Tim Ambrose of UAlbany stole the ball near midcourt late in the second half and took a few dribbles before dunking the ball over UMBC freshman Shawn Grant.

The basket gave the Great Danes a 60-47 lead with 6:09 left in the game and Ambrose did the obligatory chest bump with one of his teammates as UMBC called a timeout.

In a season of few celebrations, especially on the road against America East foes, the slam dunk punctuated a 75-62 victory for the Great Danes in a contest between the two teams now tied at the bottom of the America East standings.

"When I got the steal, the first thing I thought of was I am going to dunk it. I am glad I didn't lose the ball. I don't have any other comment about it," Ambrose, who had his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, said with a smile.

UAlbany head coach Will Brown, sitting beside Ambrose in a postgame news conference, sighed and said: "Oh, boy. Good answer."

There was a collective sigh of relief for UAlbany (7-21, 2-11), which had lost eight games in a row, the longest streak in the school's Division I history. The Great Danes had also lost nine straight on the road and 11 in a row against conference foes away from home since a win last season at Vermont. The last win of any kind for UAlbany came Jan. 16 at home over UMBC, 76-69.

Scotty McRae, also a reserve Saturday, made his first four shots and had 13 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Mike Black added 15 points and four assists as UAlbany made 52.9 percent of its shots from the field and won the battle of the boards, 44-32. "We played solid defense. We ran the floor. I was just trying to be aggressive," McRae said. "UMBC ... they are struggling just like we are."

But beyond the numbers was a determined effort by the Great Danes, who had several second-chance baskets, six offensive rebounds in the first half and solid man-to-man defense. In one sequence early in the game UAlbany's Will Harris, giving up 45 pounds to UMBC's Robbie Jackson, simply took the ball from the 7-foot center and passed to Black for one of his four 3-pointers.

"There was a sense of urgency. I think they just got fed up" with losing, Brown said of his team. "It helps to face a team we had already beaten. One of our goals was to own the glass. And we wanted to pound the ball inside."

Said Ambrose: "We played hard. That was the bottom line."

UMBC (3-23, 2-11) was led by Siena transfer Chris De La Rosa, who had 19 points. Chauncey Gilliam, the team's leading scorer this season, missed his first seven shots and had all 15 of his points after halftime.

Black, the rookie of the week in the league, had 12 points in the first half as UAlbany led, 37-26, at the break. Logan Aronhalt had eight of his nine points in the first half.