Bill Ziskin

UAlbany Menís Basketball Suffers First Home Loss to Holy Cross 55-49

UAlbany Sports Information   11-30-2016

ALBANY, N.Y. – A late run by Holy Cross sent the UAlbany men’s basketball team to its first home defeat of the season as the Great Danes fell 55-49 on Wednesday night.

UAlbany (4-3) led by six at the half and led most of the second, but a 14-2 run in a span of just over six minutes by Holy Cross (3-4) sent the Crusaders to victory.

“I’m disappointed,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “We had 18 turnovers, and in a game like that, you cannot have 18 possessions where you don’t get shots.”

UAlbany outrebounded Holy Cross 37-20 in the game and held the Crusaders to 39.1% shooting.  Holy Cross countered with 11 made three-point baskets to UAlbany’s one.

David Nichols led UAlbany in scoring for the third game this season with 14 points, adding three assists.  Mike Rowley had a game-best 10 rebounds, adding six points and three assists while Greig Stire and Joe Cremo each contributed 10 points.

For Holy Cross, Robert Champion netted 22 points, including 15 in the second half, with three steals, while Malachi Alexander concluded with 17 points and seven rebounds.

After not connecting on the first three possessions, UAlbany took the early lead with a pair of layups down the baseline.  After a second three-pointer by Alexander, Rowley hit a turnaround putback to tie it up at 6-6 at the first media. Stire added a dunk for an 8-6 UAlbany lead.

Holy Cross switched from shooting for three to going into the paint, scoring three in a row off layups, including two off a pass without a dribble.  UAlbany kept after the paint, seeing Stire hit a couple of layups to tie it up at 12-12. 

The Great Danes held Holy Cross without any points for almost nine minutes as the Crusaders missed 11 straight attempts.  Going again the Holy Cross pressure defense, UAlbany continued to grind away with layups and free throws, going up 18-12 with under five in the half.

The visitors continued to fire away from three and connected twice in the final three minutes of the half.  UAlbany kept at it in the paint, with a drive down the baseline by Nichols for a layup making it 26-20 at the break.

UAlbany looked to break through the Holy Cross zone in the middle as the Crusaders fired from outside the arc.  A couple of Matt Husek threes on kickouts helped Holy Cross get to within one at 30-29 five minutes through the second.

Cremo helped break the UAlbany drought, pulling a double team for a pass to Rowley for the layup, then scored himself on a floater to pull UAlbany up by five.  After an Alexander three, both sides went cold for the next 2:30 as UAlbany kept a 34-32 lead.

As the physical play continued, UAlbany kept the lead as the sides kept trading points over the next couple of minutes until at the 4:30 mark, Alexander hit a kick-out three to send Holy Cross ahead, then Champion added another three for a 44-40 Crusader lead.

Nichols hit a fast break layup to get UAlbany within two, but was countered by a couple of Robert Champion deep threes.  UAlbany got back to within a couple of possessions but could not bridge the gap, falling to Holy Cross 55-49.

UAlbany will play another reigning conference champion this Saturday, heading east to play last year’s Ivy League winner Yale on Saturday, December 3rd at 2 p.m.

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