Rowley’s Double-Double, Nichols 21 Points Not Enough as UAlbany Men’s Basketball Falls at Canisius 77-64
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Despite Mike Rowley notching his first double-double of the year and David Nichols scoring a game-best 21 points, the UAlbany men’s basketball team suffered its first loss against a New York-based opponent this season, falling at Canisius 77-64 on Monday night.
UAlbany (6-5), working on a two-day turnaround on the road, pulled to within one against Canisius (6-5) early in the second half. Canisius’s 12 three-pointers helped the home team keep the advantage throughout the second half for the win.
“We are much better than we played tonight, but we have been inconsistent defending as a team,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “You live and you learn, and we have a couple of days to get ready for Saturday.”
Tonight was UAlbany’s first defeat against a New York-based opponent since January 22nd, 2016.
UAlbany had four players earn double-figure scoring and outrebounded its opponent for the third straight game.
Rowley picked up his double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, adding two steals. Nichols almost had a double-double with 21 points and eight rebounds while Joe Cremo tallied 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
For Canisius, Phil Valenti went 5-6 from three-point range form 19 points and eight rebounds. Kassius Robertson also got 19 points, adding four assists and two steals.
Canisius connected on five of its first six possessions, including a couple of threes from the wing, to lead 12-2 early. Greig Stire scored two layups in succession to end the run, but a Canisius sixth make in as many attempts put the home team up 15-6 at the first media.
UAlbany defense starting forcing Canisius misses at the perimeter, leading to transition attacks. Including a kickout three in transition from Nichols to Marqueese Grayson, UAlbany went on a 7-0 run and pulled to within two at 15-13.
The home team continued to hit its shots with fast-paced play, including a couple of threes with over 15 left on the shot clock. Canisius got into a 13-4 spurt to rebuild its advantage to 28-17 at the under-eight media in the 1st.
The UAlbany guards hit a couple of baskets as UAlbany tried to chip away. The Great Danes’ defense held Canisius without points in the final 4:23 of the first half, using baskets by Rowley and Nichols to pull within five at the half, down 32-27.
UAlbany came out of the locker room in a furious pace, seeing Stire hit a layup and rebound Canisius’s missed jumper, leading to Rowley hitting a layup the other way to pull the Great Danes within one. Canisius got another quick scoring run of 8-0 on three possessions, leading 40-31 after three minutes elapsed in the 2nd.
Canisius continued its firing from three and connected, leading to a combined 22-8 spurt into the under-12 media timeout. With Valenti and Robertson constantly hitting threes, Canisius led 54-39.
Following a couple of exchanges, Nichols hit a layup and one, then added another layup off his own defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for another score to pull UAlbany within 10 at 58-48. A Jermaine Crumpton three and four Isaiah Reese free throws built the advantage back to 17 for Canisius.
UAlbany again tried to slowly chip away at the deficit, with two more Nichols baskets in 25 seconds bringing the Great Danes back within nine at 67-58 with 2:22 remaining. But that is as close as UAlbany came, as late free throws sealed the game for Canisius 77-64.
UAlbany returns to SEFCU Arena for its final home game of the 2016 calendar year, hosting St. Francis Brooklyn at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 17th.