Albany, N.Y. - Earv Opong scored 13 of his career-high 25 points in the opening period, as Albany posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season with a 74-57 America East Conference victory over New Hampshire on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at the Recreation and Convocation Center.
Albany (5-14, AE 2-6) leaped to an early 19-10 lead on a jumper by Opong, who added four assists, three rebounds and three steals. The Great Danes later ran off 12 unanswered points to build a 38-17 advantage. Opong buried two 3-point field goals and hit a driving layup in that outburst. Albany made 16 of its first 26 attempts from the field en route to a 20-point halftime cushion.
In the final period, Opong's tip-in off the glass pushed his team's lead to 50-26 with 16:31 remaining. However, New Hampshire (7-13, AE 4-5) stormed back with 13 straight markers. Austin Ganly, a 6-foot-6 senior, had seven of his 13 points in that run.
The Wildcats, who had won six of their previous eight games entering the contest, could never get closer than 12 points in the stretch. Albany used the free throw line to keep its lead safe and canned 21 of 36 attempts on the night. Opong, a 5-foot-7 junior, made 6-of-6 from the stripe in the final two minutes.
"Our defense and rebounding are getting better," said Albany coach Will Brown, whose team won the rebounding battle, 43-32, for the second straight game. "We played with confidence in the first half and made some shots. We've got work to do yet to get out of the cellar in this conference." Antione Johnson scored 15 points for the Great Danes, who last recorded consecutive victories in February 2000, and also avenged a 71-60 loss to New Hampshire in this year's first meeting on Jan. 20. Freshman Chris Wyatt added 11 points and eight rebounds, both season-highs.
New Hampshire's Allen Gould and Jeff Senulis tallied 13 and 10 points, respectively. Senior forward Chris Brown, who was averaging 14.2 points and 10.1 rebounds on the season, was limited to one point and three rebounds.