Nicholsís 28 Points Sends UAlbany Menís Basketball to Third Straight Win with 81-63 Victory over Maine
ALBANY, N.Y. – David Nichols finished with 28 points, just one shy of his career-high, to lead the UAlbany men’s basketball team to its third conference victory with an 81-63 home win over Maine on Saturday afternoon.
UAlbany (12-9, 3-3 AE) held Maine (5-17, 1-6 AE) to 22 points in the first half, the lowest allowed by the Great Danes in a half of conference play this season. Up five with 12:24 left in the 2nd, UAlbany went on a 13-0 run with scoring in six straight possessions to build an 18-point lead and essentially seal the game.
“I was pleased with the first 15 minutes, then we had an 8-10 minute lull,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “I thought we finished very well. We just need to keep playing well with that sense of urgency.”
Nichols scored 28 points off 12-for-19 field goals and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. 12 field goals in a single game made ties for eighth all-time in UAlbany history.
For Maine, Wes Myers was the only player to score double digits, getting 18 points with six rebounds and two steals. Vincent Eze ended with eight points and four rebounds.
Early on, Maine looked to use the shot clock while UAlbany tried quick attacks. A Mike Rowley layup underneath and a fast break Nichols jumper pushed UAlbany up 4-0 in the opening 2:30.
After Maine go to within one, Greig Stire had a layup out of a timeout, then Nichols flew down the court to score a layup and one, adding a close range jumper to complete a 7-0 run for a 13-5 UAlbany advantage.
Maine’s play towards the rim led to layups to bring the visitors within four. Again Nichols led the offense, pulling a double team to feed a wide open Campbell for a layup, then hitting another pull-up. After a Charles free throw and Eze layup, Charles added two more free throws and a 12-footer. A transition layup by Costa Anderson, strong man-to-man defense, a Campbell long three and another Charles layup completed the 11-0 run and pushed UAlbany ahead 31-13 with five minutes left in the 1st.
UAlbany’s offense went cold for the next couple of minutes, with Maine holding the Great Danes to two points in the last 5:20 of the 1st. A late three-pointer by Danny Evans made it 33-22 at the half.
The Black Bears continued to climb back into the game with its zone defense, using Eze free throws and Myers baskets to pull within two at 37-35, standing the half on a 13-4 spurt.
Following an exchange of points, Joe Cremo hit a runner inside the paint, followed by Nichols hitting a reverse layup, to push UAlbany advantage back to seven at 43-36 with 12:41 to play.
After a layup by Ilija Stojilkovic, UAbany’s pressure and crashing the glass started to pay off. UAlbany scored on six possessions in a row, with a couple of steal and scores from Nichols and Campbell, to combine for a 13-0 run. The Great Danes burst ahead 56-38 with 9:27 left to play. Later, an alley-oop dunk by Campbell made it 64-43 with under seven.
At 68-52, UAlbany put together one last run to seal the game. A couple of layups followed by a quick strike three-pointer by Anderson completed the 7-0 streak and made it 75-52 with 3:25 left.
In the closing minutes, Nick Fruscio hit his first collegiate basket with a three-pointer at the shot clock buzzer with a minute to go. Maine hit a couple of later threes, but UAlbany took the win 81-63.
UAlbany now prepares to battle Vermont, which stands in first place in the America East, on Wednesday, January 25th at 7 p.m. at the SEFCU Arena to complete the homestand.