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2006 Dane's 1st NCAA Appearance

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 10:57 PM


Philadelphia, Pa. – Marcus Williams had 16 of his 21 points in the second half as second-ranked Connecticut rallied for a 72-59 victory over UAlbany in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 17 before 19,990 fans at the Wachovia Center.

UAlbany (21-11) trailed 33-30 early in the second half before reeling off 13 unanswered points. Lucious Jordan, who had 12 points, hit a driving layup to put his team ahead. Jason Siggers beat the shot clock with a three-pointer from the left corner to give his team a 43-33 lead with 14:26 remaining.

The Great Danes, who earned their first NCAA appearance by winning both the America East regular-season and tournament crowns, pushed out to a 50-38 advantage when Jamar Wilson hit a pull-up jumper in the lane with 11:34 left. Wilson, the America East player of the year, finished with 19 points and six assists.

Connecticut (28-3) then showed why they are one of four number one seeds in this tournament, by ripping off 17 of the game’s next 19 points. Denham Brown, who had 17 points, hit two free throws to tie the contest at 52 apiece. Williams, who made 7-of-11 shots from the field and added eight assists, then drilled one of his five three-pointers to give his team the lead for good. Williams and Brown would each make a three-pointer that increased the margin to 66-55 with 2:40 to play.

"Down the stretch UConn was patient and raised their level of play," said UAlbany coach Will Brown, whose team forced 17 Huskie turnovers, including 11 steals. "We got tired and were frustrated when it seemed there was a lid on the rim for a couple of minutes. We kept our emotion high for 30 to 35 minutes, but just faded."

UConn’s Josh Boone had nine of his 13 points in the opening period. The Huskies, who have won two national championships in their history, shot 58.7 percent from the floor on 27-of-46 attempts. Kirsten Zoellner, a 7-foot-1 senior, was the third UAlbany player in double figures with 12.

"We made it a point to really enjoy this experience," commented Brown. "I could not have been prouder as a coach for these kids. It’s amazing where they were and where they are now. The seniors have left their mark on this program."

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