TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In order to stay in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the America East, the University at Albany men’s basketball team had to win its’ final two games of the regular season. The Great Danes checked box No. 1 Saturday night at home, getting off to a hot start, and building an early lead over visiting NJIT. The Danes never let go of that lead; Sarju Patel hit five three-pointers to lead UAlbany to an 82-68 victory.

It was also senior night for the Danes, making the win even sweeter.

Head Coach Dwayne Killings“The message to the team before the game was that we had 80 minutes remaining of our regular season and that we had to do something important over the next 40 [minutes] to be able to do something important over the last 40 [minutes]… Now we have to go on the road. I’m excited to go up there to Vermont for another big-time challenge if we want to extend our season.”

Key Stat Lines:

  • Recording a season-high 25 points on 7-10 shooting from the field, Sarju Patel led the team in scoring.
  • Earning his third double-double in row, Jonathan Beagle grabbed 13 boards and 17 points. Also led the team with three assists.
  • The Great Danes had four players in double-digit figures: Patel (25), Gerald Drumgoole Jr. (19), Beagle (17) & Da’Kquan Davis (12).
  • Marcus Jackson’s presence was felt on the defensive end, picking up three steals.
  • UAlbany shot 43.9% (25-57) from the field and 34.6% (9-26) from three, NJIT shot 44.8% (26-58) from the field and 40% (8-20) from three.

How it Happened:

  • Seeing five lead changes in the opening six minutes of the first half, Da’Kquan Davis’ seven points gave the Great Danes a 13-11 advantage going into the first media TO.
  • Hitting a barrage of three-pointers NJIT pulled ahead, but Gerald Drumgoole Jr. cashed a three to tie the game at 22 with 8:28 remaining in the half.
  • Da’Kquan Davis hit another three pointer to get the Great Danes to 25 points, but NJIT retained a 26-25 advantage heading into the final media TO.
  • Sarju Patel sparked a 13-0 scoring run in the final four minutes of the half after he hit two consecutive three-pointers to give the Great Danes the lead. The run resulted in UAlbany heading to the locker room with a 44-32 advantage at the half. 
  • Jonathan Beagle led all scorers in the first half with 14 points, followed by Davis with 10. Adam Hess led NJIT with seven at the half.
  • In the first half the Great Danes shot 47.2% (17-36) from the field and 35.7% (5-14) from three. The Highlanders shot 46.4% (13-28) from the field and 50% (5-10) from deep.
  • Opening the second half with a 9-5 scoring advantage, and going 6-6 from the free-throw line, UAlbany held a 53-37 lead with 16:55 on the clock.
  • Continuing to dominate on the offensive end, Patel cashed a corner three to give the Great Danes a 20-point lead at 59-39 with 15:10 left to be played.
  • Both teams struggled to knock down shots as the midway point of the second half approached, leaving UAlbany ahead 61-43, with 10:10 remaining.
  • NJIT clawed at the Great Danes’ advantage, going on a 10-2 scoring run to cut the lead down to 65-53 with 5:41 to go in the game.
  • Stepping up on the defensive end, UAlbany shot 6-6 from the line in the final two minutes of the game to secure the 82-68 win over NJIT.

Next: The Great Danes wrap up the regular season this Tuesday with a 7:00 p.m. matchup at Vermont. They’ll need not only need a victory over the Catamounts to keep hopes alive for the eight-seed, but NJIT also has to lose on the road Tuesday against New Hampshire.