UAlbany Men’s Basketball Grabs Third Place in America East with 78-69 Victory vs. UMBC
ALBANY, N.Y. – Paced by Devonte Campbell’s second-straight double-double off a career-high 25 points and 10 rebounds, the UAlbany men’s basketball team moved into third place in the America East after a 78-69 home win against UMBC.
Down three at the break, UAlbany (17-11, 8-5 AE) outscored UMBC (16-10, 7-6 AE) 50-38 in the second period, including 17-for-19 on free throws in that half.
The win gives UAlbany sole possession of third place in the America East. UAlbany has a one-game lead on each UMBC and New Hampshire with three games left to play in the regular season. The top four teams in the America East host a game in the first round of the league tournament on March 1st.
“We had talked about this being a separation game,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “We want to make sure we put ourselves in position to get a home game in the first round of the conference tournament, and we are getting better and better.”
The win also guarantees that UAlbany has at least a .500 or better record in America East play that last seven seasons.
Campbell now has double-doubles in his last two games, combining for 37 points and 20 rebounds in those two contests. He went 7-for-12 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line against UMBC.
“We knew the stakes of this game, and the ball went in the basket tonight, nothing new that I haven’t prepared for,” said Campbell. “We did a great job in the second half.”
David Nichols finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Travis Charles had 11 points from off the bench while Costa Anderson had eight points off a perfect 8-for-8 free throw shooting, with all makes coming in the final 2:27 of the game.
For UMBC, four players scored in double figures, let by Jourdan Grant off the bench with 15 points and five assists. K.J. Maura had 14 points and three assists.
UAlbany’s guards got the early start for the Great Danes, with a couple of Joe Cremo free throws, a Nichols drive to the basket, a Campbell one-hand putback and a Nichols layup in transition giving the Purple and Gold an early 8-3 advantage after four minutes.
UMBC started to take threes, connecting on a couple to tie up the game. Maura stole the ball near halfcourt and raced to the basket for a layup to push the Retrievers ahead 12-10 with 7:50 gone.
Back and forth the teams tussled as both sides went for the paint in the next possessions. UMBC used a quick 5-0 run to take a lead, then UAlbany countered with its own, capped by a Nichols jumper from the free throw line and one to tie it up at 19-19.
UAlbany went cold on shooting for the next couple of minutes as UMBC hit shots on three straight possessions, capped by a corner three by Jairus Lyles, to take a 27-19 advantage with under five in the 1st.
UAlbany pushed back with its man-to-man defense, holding UMBC without points for almost four minutes. Campbell led on the offensive end with primarily free throws, adding a putback off a missed free throw. UAlbany was down three at the half 31-28.
Each side had a small run as the pace picked up in the second half. With UAlbany down 40-36, Campbell and Dallas Ennema hit kickout threes to push the home team ahead, then Nichols and Campbell added scores to complete the run at 11-0. UAlbany took a 47-40 lead with eight minutes gone in the 2nd.
Again UMBC pushed back, making three baskets from three different players to get within one. At 51-49, a Campbell three sparked another run, with Charles adding a turnaround layup and one plus another layup to make it 59-49 UAlbany with under five minutes left.
Twice UMBC pulled to within six in the next minute. With scores from three different players, UAlbany rebuilt the lead to 11 at 67-56 with 2:27 to play.
UMBC hit shots down the stretch, with UAlbany constantly breaking the press and Anderson hitting all eight of his free throws in the final 2:27. Two Anderson free throws with 26 seconds left rebuilt UAlbany’s advantage to three possessions. UAlbany held firm the rest of the way as the Great Danes took the win 78-69.
UAlbany will play the first of two last America East road games on Sunday, February 19th, heading to Bangor to play Maine at 2 p.m.