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Wagner's Second-Half Rally Falls Short In 66-63 Loss At Albany
Box Score / Box Score (PDF)

Albany, NY - Senior Jonathon Williams (Richmond, CA / Kennedy / City College of San Francisco) led Wagner with a season-best 26 points, but it was not enough as Albany squeaked out a 66-63 victory in non-conference action at SEFCU Arena. With the win the Great Danes improve to 5-2 while the Seahawks fall to 1-3.

The Green & White will now return to Staten Island for its home opener on Wednesday, November 28 against Princeton. Tip time in the Spiro Sports Center is slated for 7:00 pm.

Williams was near-perfect for the evening, converting on 10-of-11 from the floor – including all five of his shots in the second half – while making good on all six free throws en route to posting his fifth career 20-point game.

Trailing by eight with 2:11 remaining, Wagner seven-straight points in just 1:37 to make it a one-possession game at 65-63 with 34 seconds to play. After junior Kenneth Ortiz (Newark, NJ / Science Park / Southern Mississippi) split a pair from the line, Williams followed with four-straight free throws of his own. Then on the ensuing possession the Golden State native stole the ball and converted a layup on the other end draw the Seahawks to within two at 65-63. After Jacob Iati split a pair from the line, the Green & White had one last chance to tie the game. Following a timeout, freshman Eric Fanning’s (Trenton, NJ / Perkiomen (PA)) three-point attempt from the top of the key bounced off the side rim, allowing Albany to escape with a 66-63 lead.

The game had the makings of a Great Dane win early in the second half. After junior Naofall Folahan (Cotonou, Republic of Benin / Wilbraham and Monson Academy (MA) made good on two free throws to start the second half, Albany went on a 10-2 run in opening up a 46-31 lead with 15:32 to play.

Albany opened up its biggest lead of the night, only to see Wagner get back in the game thanks to an impressive offensive performance over the final 15:24 of the game that saw the Seahawks convert a 12-of-16 from the floor.

After draining his first three pointer of the night with 10:04 to play, freshman Dwaun Anderson (Suttons Bay, MI / Suttons Bay / Michigan State) registered one of his game-high three blocks on the defensive end. Sophomore Mario Moody (So., East Orange, NJ / East Orange) took advantage of the opportunity and cut the lead to 53-45, while forcing a Great Dane timeout in the process.

The Green & White kept fighting, trimming the deficit to single-digits on three more occasions only to have Albany answer each time. With Wagner down 64-54 with 3:06 to play, the Seahawk persistence finally paid off as the Green & White broke through with a 9-1 run over the next 2:32 to make it a one-possession game for the first time since late in the first half. Unfortunately, the deficit was too big make up as the Great Danes defeated Wagner for the first time in six tries.

After halftime, the Seahawks converted a blistering 59.1 percent (13-for-22) from the floor, 50.0 percent (3-for-6) from long range and 87.5 percent (7-for-8) from the line en route to nearly erasing a 15-point second-half deficit.

Wagner’s impressive shooting exhibition helped the visitors shoot 51.1 percent (23-for-45) from the floor, 40.0 percent (4-for-10) from long range and 81.3 percent (13-for-16) from the line – all season-bests. Additionally, the Seahawks won the battle of the boards (28-24) for the third time this year, while turning the ball over a season-low 14 times.

Unfortunately, the Green & White defense allowed the Great Danes to make good on 52.3 percent (23-for-44) from the floor.

Williams led Wagner in scoring (26) and rebounding (7) for the fourth-straight game to start the year and deposited 14 of his game-high total after halftime while not missing a shot (5-for-5 FG / 4-for-4 FT) during that time.

Also chipping in with a pair of big performances was the freshman tandem of Anderson and Fanning, as each player scored eight points while combining to go 6-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-6 from long range over 39 productive minutes. Anderson also blocked a career-high three shots despite playing most of the second half with four fouls. Rounding out the top performers was Ortiz, who led all players with six assists.

Albany opened up a 36-27 lead at intermission thanks to a half-closing 12-3 run after freshman Langston Burnett (Beltsville, MD / St. Vincent Pallotti) drained a pair at the line with 4:29 to play in the first half.

Williams kept the Seahawks in the game in the opening stanza, leading all scorers with 12 of the Green & White’s 27 points.

Mike Black led the Great Danes with 19 points, while Jacob Iati (14 points) and Blake Metcalf (12 points) also hit for double-figures.

Follow Wagner Athletics on Twitter (@wagnerathletics) for all the latest news and updates on the athletic department, @WagnerHoops for news and updates on the men's basketball program and @bashirmason to follow the Seahawks' first-year head coach.

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