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Fate sealed by four on floor-From TU.

Shorthanded Danes beaten by Hartford -Troy Record

Hawks Show 8 Are Enough, Win 4th In A Row-Hartford Courant

January 26, 2004

By WOODY ANDERSON, Courant Staff Writer


Hartford is beginning to get it.

After losing four players and some difficult games, the Hawks are getting used to playing with eight. Sunday, they defeated equally depleted Albany 57-48 at Chase Family Arena, their fourth consecutive victory.

The Hawks (8-8, 3-4 America East) overcame a slow start with an 18-2 run late in the first half and clinched their fourth consecutive victory over the Great Danes by making 9 of 11 free throws in the final 85 seconds.

Point guard Aaron Cook led the Hawks with 19 points, including 13 in the second half, and freshman guard Rich Baker had his best game with 11 points, five rebounds and two assists.

It was Baker who helped pull the Hawks out of their offensive funk in the first half. Albany (3-14, 1-7) used a triangle-and-two on Cook and Ryan Stys, the Hawks' top scorers. It took Hartford 7:21 to score its first field goal.

"In the first half it was real physical coming off screens, but Rich opened it up for us," Cook said. "They had somebody else to worry about."

Said Albany coach Will Brown: "Obviously, Baker was told to drive, and he got into the cracks and hurt us."

Baker had seven points in the first half, and his pass to Louis Bosley in the low post for a layup gave the Hawks their first lead, 12-11 with 7:59 left. That play started the Hawks' 18-2 run, the key to their 31-18 halftime lead.

"My role is to provide a spark, play as hard as I can on defense," said Baker, who didn't expect much playing time this season. But as the team lost players to injury, illness and other reasons, Baker has been getting 15 to 20 minutes a game during the winning streak.

Albany was playing with seven players, but its defense kept the Danes in the game. They cut the deficit to 35-31 with 11:34 remaining, but the Hawks went on a 10-2 run that included a Cook three-pointer.

"We could have put the game away a lot of times," Cook said, "but they made threes and we made turnovers."

Albany played out the final seconds with only four players, after three fouled out. Guard Jon Iati, limping from an ankle sprain sustained early in the game, scored 17 points.

"We play ugly," Hawks coach Larry Harrison said. "We have a hard time scoring, but we're dedicated to outworking teams. Trapping. Rotating. Putting pressure on the ball and creating offense from our defense. We have to win by committee, all eight guys."

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