UAlbany Menís Basketball Challenges in First Half, Falls Late to #24 Cincinnati 74-51
CINCINNATI – The UAlbany men’s basketball team pushed #24 Cincinnati in the first half but fell to the Bearcats, after a long second half run, 74-51 in its second game of the Tip-Off Tournament.
UAlbany (1-1) led for nearly half of the first period against Cincinnati (2-0), holding its opponent to nine field goals and trailing by two at the break. The Bearcats broke away with a 21-4 run in the second half and did not relinquish the lead. As a team, UAlbany has outrebounded by only one to Cincinnati 34-33.
“They gave us trouble running our offense tonight, and had us play fast, at times too fast,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown. “For a good 25-27 minutes, outside of the turnovers we did a nice job, but I think they wore us out a bit.”
David Nichols notched a UAlbany-best 13 points, six assists and three steals, adding four rebounds. Joe Cremo concluded 12 points and four rebounds while Greig Stire tallied six points and six rebounds.
For Cincinnati, Jacob Evans III finished with 19 points and three steals. Kyle Washington got 13 points while Jarron Cumberland had 11 points.
Each side started with long possessions, draining the shot clock down. Washington got a free throw and a turnaround jumper for the only points in the opening 3:30. UAlbany kept Cincinnati at bay on the perimeter and down low, then attacked with Cremo. Cremo hit a jumper, then a reserve layup to give UAlbany a 4-3 advantage five minutes in.
Cincinnati attacked with full court pressure, forcing steals up top the arc. This led to four fast break plays in a row and an 8-0 Cincinnati run.
Stire ended the run with a putback layup, then Marqueese Grayson hit the three from the wing to get UAlbany within two. Next play, Nichols added a layup in traffic and one, plus two Travis Charles free throws completed a 10-0 run, giving UAlbany a 14-11 lead.
Each defense continued to play strong as the sides continued to exchange the lead. Nichols had strong drives to the basket off screens, with the team adding free throws, where Cincinnati countered with layups and the occasional three.
A mini 5-0 run, started by a Cumberland three, sent the home team up four late in the first. Charles grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back in to pull UAlbany within two at the half, down 29-27.
Out of the locker room, Cremo hit a layup down the baseline, then Nichols added a steal, sprint and score to give UAlbany the lead. Cincinnati took back the advantage with a free throw as both teams went for over three minutes with a field goal.
Cincinnati continued to run fast break plays, with Jacob Evans III leading the home team to 7-0 run to push the Bearcats up by eight. Mike Rowley ended the run with a layup, but Cincinnati added another 6-0 run to make it 47-35 Bearcats with 11:58 remaining.
UAlbany tried to slow down the pace of play as Cincinnati continued to push quickly. The Great Danes started going back and forth with the Bearcats, but could not close the gap. Cumberland started another run for Cincinnati with a three as the home team led 70-46.
Nichols and Charles hit some layups late, but Cincinnati took the win 74-51.
UAlbany has a quick turnaround, taking on Oneonta for the home opener on Wednesday, November 16th at the SEFCU Arena. Tickets are available through the UAlbany ticket office at ualbanysports.com/tickets or by calling 518-442-DANE.
UAlbany returns to the Tip-Off Tournament this weekend with a game against Grand Canyon in Connecticut on Saturday.