Second Half Surge Sends UAlbany Men’s Basketball to 69-55 Road Victory over UNH
DURHAM, N.H. – Fueled by a combined 39 points and eight steals from Joe Cremo and David Nichols, the UAlbany men’s basketball team ended the game on a 24-10 streak to grab a 69-55 victory at New Hampshire on Monday night.
With the score tied at 45-45 with 11:32 to play, UAlbany (15-11, 6-5 AE) held UNH (14-10, 5-5 AE) without points for five minutes, going on a 10-0 run in that span. UAlbany did not trail by less than seven the rest of the way to pick up the key road win.
“This was a good win for us; I have great respect for the UNH program with some great games over the years,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “We got off to a slow start, but after the first six-seven minutes we had a nice half, and then the second half, except for a four-minute lull, we showed some maturity and poise.”
With the victory, UAlbany jumps ahead of New Hampshire for fourth place in the America East. As a team, UAlbany had just five turnovers to 14 assists, keeping UNH to 28.6% from three-point range.
Nichols had UAlbany-highs with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals, adding 16 points. Cremo had a game-best 21 points, including going 4-for-5 from three, plus had four steals and four assists.
“This game, we just trusted each other, with guys willing to make the extra pass and be willing to knock down shots,” said Cremo. “That is what we have to do every game.”
“Every game in-conference is a big game, it is a big win on the road after dropping one at home,” said Nichols.
For the Wildcats, Iba Camara got a double-double off 12 points and 14 rebounds. Daniel Dion led the team in scoring with 18 points, adding three assists.
Each side had strong defense to begin, with UAlbany having trouble getting inside and UNH being stopped on mid-range jumpers. Off a quick layup and high floater off the back of the rim for Taylor Lessiner, UNH took an early 9-4 lead five minutes in.
After Nichols hit a jumper to pull UAlbany within three, UNH scored the next six to establish a nine-point advantage. Charles hit a 15-footer, then a turnaround jumper just outside the paint, to make it 15-10 UNH at the under-11 mark in the 1st.
Charles hit another jumper to start a UAlbany run. As the UAlbany defense held the other way, Dallas Ennema started to fire away, hitting a three and a long jumper just inside the arc to complete the 7-0 run and make it a 17-17 tie game with under seven in the 1st.
UAlbany’s run continued as the Great Danes held UNH without a basket for almost five minutes. UAlbany found some success from three, with Nichols and Cremo hitting from behind the arc, as the Great Danes continued the run to 19-5 with a 27-20 lead in the final three minutes of the half. A final exchange of baskets gave UAlbany a 29-22 lead at the break.
Brown’s team came out of the locker room and attacked the paint. This led to UAlbany starting the half on a 7-3 run, capped by a steal and score then a rebound and score from Nichols, for a 36-25 lead two minutes in. UAlbany escaped the UNH press and added a pair of threes to make it 42-30 with 15:54 left in the 2nd.
UNH started to run more with the press, leading to an 11-2 sprint. Cremo got a free throw to put UAlbany’s lead back to two possessions at 45-41 with 12:19 left to play. UNH tied it up with a free throw and a kick-out three to make it 45-45.
After a Charles jumper, UAlbany twice stole a UNH possession and bolted down the floor for two points. The defense continued to hold UNH to the perimeter, with a Cremo corner three and a Campbell free throw completing a 10-run over a span of five minutes, putting the Great Danes up 55-45 with under seven to play.
Breaking the UNH press, UAlbany had answers for Wildcat baskets; following a Leissner layup underneath, Cremo hit another three-pointer from the corner to send UAlbany up 64-54 with 3:45 left to play.
UAlbany played strong defense and used the shot clock the rest of the way. After Nichols rebounded a Jaleen Smith missed shot, UAlbany took a minute off the clock with an offensive rebound. Cremo finished the possession with a layup with 1:34 to go.
The UAlbany defense allowed one point in the final 4:10 of the game, taking the victory 69-55.
UAlbany will get set for a SUNY showdown in Vestal on Thursday, February 9th at 7 p.m., taking on Binghamton at the BU Events Center.