DAYTON, Ohio -- The first game of the NCAA Tournament was a perfect segue from the regular season -- on the screwball side.
After a winter of odd twists and turns, no ordinary opener would do. Albany’s 71-64 win against Mount St. Mary’s wasn’t ordinary.Strangeness by the numbers:
- Albany opened the game with a 21-2 run. Then Mount St. Mary’s answered with a 21-2 run. So they started over again at a 23-23 tie.
- Albany, the winning team, had 14 turnovers.
- Mount St. Mary’s, the losing team, had four.
- Mount St. Mary’s, the losing team, had 21 points off the bench.
- Albany, the winning team, had none.
- The shooting percentage gap was staggering -- Albany at 57.4 percent Mount St. Mary’s at 36.7 percent. Yet the game was in doubt until the final minute.
- Mount St. Mary’s shot 37 3-pointers, or two more than it had 2-point attempts and free throws combined.
- Albany’s Sam Rowley flirted with a triple double – eight points, 13 rebounds and seven turnovers.
- Mount St. Mary’s leading scorer, Will Miller, scored 21 points off the bench. He took 12 3-pointers and no 2-pointers.
The message seemed clear. Now that the party had begun, don’t expect much routine.