Danes Prevail in Dog Fight
ALBANY, N.Y. — In perhaps the biggest win of the season, the University at Albany Great Danes defeated the UMBC 78-69 on Wednesday night at SEFCU Arena.
The win is not only the Danes’ third win in a row, and improved the team record to 17-11 (8-5 in conference play), but the team now owns sole possession of third place in the America East with three games remaining on the schedule.
“I thought this was a good win for us,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown after the game. “You don’t want to put pressure on our guys, but we talked to them about how this was a separation game. (UMBC is) the most difficult team in our league. They’re averaging 83 points a game, and we’ve held them to 50, and we held them to 69 tonight. I think we’re getting better, this was a good win.”
Forward Devonte Campbell had a career high in two categories Wednesday night with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Campbell averages just 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on the season and rose to the occasion when his number was called.
Knowing the stakes of this game and he, “just stayed ready,” said the sophomore when asked about his performance. “The ball went in the basket tonight. Nothing new, nothing un-ordinary, nothing that I haven’t done before in terms of being prepared for the game.”
“Devonte was absolutely outstanding. On a night that we had to deal with some adversity. It’s huge that Devonte had a night like he did tonight,” Brown added.
The adversity came in the form of perhaps the worst game of Joe Cremo’s collegiate career. He scored just four points, going 0-for-5 from the field along with three assists. Cremo also fouled out with 2:29 left in the second half. Cremo, who averages about 17 points a game, was looking to put on a show as SEFCU Area hosted Scotia Night. Cremo is from Scotia, NY and had a loud cheering squad for him at the game.
While there are still a few more games in the regular season to worry about, Coach Brown is also looking ahead to when the calendar flips and when the madness begins.
“Even though we played very well on the road, you have to see the light and the end of the tunnel, which is the conference tournament,” Brown said. “We want to put ourselves in a position to make sure that we get a home game, at least in the first round.”
“We want as many opportunities to play at home as possible,” said point guard David Nichols. “So that’s really our goal now: to take it a game at a time, and we know that if we do our job we should be sitting at in the three seed when the conference tournament comes around.”
This is now the seventh season in a row the Danes have had at least a .500 record in America East play. They have done so with three games still left on their schedule. The Danes will spend the next two games on the road. They travel to Maine on Sunday, a team that UAlbany already beat 81-63 late last month. They’ll hit the road again for a trip to Burlington to square off with Vermont, who sits in first place with an unblemished conference record. UAlbany will end the regular season at home when they play Hartford at SEFCU Arena next Saturday, Feb. 25.