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UAlbany MBB Week In Review

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It was a roller coaster week for the University at Albany men’s basketball team in the final week of January.

UAlbany started out with its most well-played performance of the season, an 83-39 victory over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for their second straight conference victory.

The Danes held the Retrievers, the America East’s highest scoring team, to just 39 points on 32 percent shooting from the field and 10 percent from the three-point arc.

Travis Charles, better known as the “Walking Bucket” by his teammates and coaches, led all scorers with 21 points to go along with six rebounds. Charles shot a dominating 60 percent from the field in the win.

Junior guard David Nichols was not far behind with 17 points and grabbed two boards. Guard Joe Cremo was held to just 8 points on 4-for-10 shooting.

UAlbany sophomore guard and fan favorite Nick Fruscio scored the Great Danes final basket, attacking in the paint for a layup to put a wrap on the game. The crowd at SEFCU Arena erupted as Fruscio scored his first basket of the 2017-18 campaign.

The Great Danes then traveled up to Burlington, VT to take on the defending America East champion Vermont Catamounts.

That is the same place and opponent where the Great Danes fell in the title game one season ago.

Ten months later, the rosters and the stakes may have been different but the results were the same.

Behind the hot hand of athletic playmaker Trae Bell-Haynes, the Catamounts overwhelmed a stout UAlbany defense allowing the third-fewest PPG in the America East. Bell-Haynes led all scorers with 21 points, adding three rebounds.

The Catamounts ferocious defense, ranked second in points allowed in the conference, gave problems for the Great Danes all night long and held UAlbany’s backcourt duo of Nichols and Cremo to just 19 points combined in the game.

Nichols did reach the 1,000 career point mark in the loss.

Another hard-fought game, we had a tough scoring drought,” head coach Will Brown said. “Give credit to Vermont, they do not beat themselves or waver from the game plan. We had opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”

UAlbany will have one more opportunity to take on the conference champions before tournament time on Feb. 8 at SEFCU Arena in Albany where the Great Danes are 11-1 this season. They’ve struggled and are just 5-6 on the road.

The Danes would wrap up a two-game road trip on Long Island versus conference rival Stony Brook in Suffolk County, NY. Nichols and Cremo got back on track with 14 points apiece in the win.

After being held scoreless in the first half, Nichols notched 14 of UAlbany’s 31 second-half points.

Charles dominated from the charity stripe shooting 8-of-9 from the free throw line to go along with seven rebounds.

In the final 3:21 of each half combined, UAlbany outscored Stony Brook 15-1 with 7-1 in the first half and 8-0 in the second half.

Next up for the Great Danes: they’ll return for a two-game homestand at SEFCU vs University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont as they continue America East conference play.

Coach Will Brown preaches the philosophy of getting better each and every day so the team will be at its best come March. UAlbany has made strides in recent weeks but they have plenty of work to do before then if they want to give UVM a run for their money come tournament time.


Rob "Lep" Lepelstat is the sports editor of the Albany Student Press. Along with the ASP, Lep works as Vice President of ATV and sports director for WCDB. He's also had internships at CBS/ Westwood One Sports, ABC Television in NYC, ESPN Radio Albany, etc.

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