Danes have up and down week
David Nichols hit back to back to back three pointers down the stretch to help UAlbany defeat UMass Lowell on Thursday night, 91-81 for their 20th win of the season.
On Sunday UAlbany couldn’t close out against the number two seed in the America East UMBC, in a crucial matchup where they lost 68-60 despite 25 points from Joe Cremo.
Nichols led the Great Danes balanced attack on Thursday with 25 points, 19 in the second half, as five different players scored in double figures. Travis “Walking Bucket” Charles scored 17, Costa Anderson had 15, Joe Cremo 13 and Greg Stire added 11.
Trailing 14-11 in the first half, Costa Anderson hit a three pointer for the Great Danes, sparking an 11-0 run.
Stire hit two free throws during that run to put the Great Danes 16-14 with 13:16 remaining in the first half to give the Great Danes the lead, and from that point on they never trailed again, leading by as many as 15 at the half.
UAlbany (20-9, 8-6), which shot 60-percent from the field, fought off a furious comeback from the Riverhawks (9-16, 3-9), who tied the game at 58-58 after a 15-0 run. Then tied the game again at 61-61, led by Jahad Thomas with 22 points. All five Riverhawks’ starters were in double figures.
Travis Charles hit a pair of free throws to put the Great Danes up 63-61, sparking an 8-0 for the Great Danes. The Riverhawks then used a 7-0 run to close the game within one at 77-76.
UAlbany then went on a 14-5 run to end the game thanks to four consecutive baskets David Nichols, three of them three pointers.
“It is always tough win on the road,” Coach Will Brown said after the win. “I think we were a little tired in the second half, and Lowell seemed re-energized after that run, but the most important thing is here that we came away with a win.”
Sunday was a different story for the Great Danes as they couldn’t hold off UMBC down the stretch, as UMBC ended the game on a 12-3 run over the last 3:06.
Cremo led the Great Danes with 25 points, 18 of those on the first half, but 15 Great Dane turnovers in the game allowed UMBC (19-9, 10-3) to rally from 12 down in the second half to take control of the game.
UMBC’s Jarius Lyles was the complete opposite of Cremo in the second half. After finishing the first half with only four points, Lyles poured in 18 points in the second half to finish with 22 on the night.
After a David Nichols three put the Great Danes up 12 with 18 minutes to go in the second half, Kyles scored ten straight for UMBC. Brandon Horvath hit consecutive three pointers and then K.J. Maura scored five straight points for finish off a 21-8 run by UMBC to put them up one with five and a half minutes left.
Maura scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half and Joe Sherburne put in 14 of his own for UMBC.
The story of the second half was the defense for UMBC lead by Lyles and Maura who had 4 steals combined and at one point forced three UAlbany turnovers in a row.
“I thought we did a good job exciting the game plan in the first half, but UMBC came out with a lot of energy in the second half and forced some turnovers,” Coach Brown said after the loss. “I think we were tired with the third road game in a row for us.”
The win snapped an eight-game losing streak against UAlbany for UMBC, who had also lost 17 out of their last 18 against the Great Danes, including a 44 point loss in Albany earlier this season.
The Great Danes have two games left in the conference season, both at the SEFCU Arena. Upnext on the schedule the Great Danes face Maine next Saturday the 24th at 7p.m. and then finish up the season on Tuesday the 27th against Binghamton.
This is UAlbany’s fourth consecutive 20 win season.
On Thursday, Greg Stire finished the game with eight rebounds, placing him at 698 career rebounds, that’s good enough for 10th all-time in UAlbany history. The senior is 58 rebounds away from Sam Rowley, who holds the all-time record with 756 from 2011-15.