UAlbany Men's Basketball Four-Game Win Streak Ends with 62-50 Road Defeat at Vermont
BURLINGTON, Vt. – The UAlbany men’s basketball team had a halftime lead against the America East’s first-place squad, but fell at Vermont 62-50, ending the Great Danes’ four-game winning streak.
UAlbany (18-12, 9-6 AE) led by three at the half and kept pace with Vermont (25-5, 15-0 AE) most of the second period. But Vermont ended the game on a 26-9 streak to take the victory.
“I thought our guys played hard, and we fought,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “For about 32 minutes, we put our team in position to be successful, but lost the battle in the last eight minutes.”
With the win, Vermont secures the America East regular season title and 1-seed in the upcoming league tournament. UAlbany is now tied for third place with UMBC and New Hampshire and will need to defeat Hartford on Saturday to get the 3-seed in the America East Tournament.
As a team, UAlbany shot 50% from the field and 53.8% from three-point range. Vermont had the advantage on the free throw line with 10-for-12 to UAlbany’s 1-for-2.
David Nichols led UAlbany with 18 points, hitting four from beyond the arc, with three assists. Joe Cremo tallied 12 points, four rebounds and three assists while Travis Charles was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for eight points and four rebounds.
For Vermont, Payton Henson finished with 14 points and six rebounds. Ernie Duncan and Anthony Lamb had 13 and 12 points respectively.
Nichols scored first on a second chance pull-up from the baseline. UAlbany’s defense kept Vermont at the perimeter and held off two possessions; after a Vermont three, Nichols scored again off a screen up top the arc to make it 4-3 UAlbany in the opening four minutes.
Defenses continued to be tested as both sides continued to use most of the shot clock. At 10-7 Vermont, Cremo hit the long three off a quick pass from Mike Rowley, then Dallas Ennema added a jumper, spinning off his defender from 12 feet out. UAlbany then went to its frontcourt, with Charles netting two, one from the free throw line and the other along the baseline, to complete the 9-0 run and put the Great Danes up 16-10 with 9:35 left in the 1st.
Vermont broke the run off free throws, but the UAlbany defense continued to hold, keeping the Catamounts without a field goal for over six minutes. Costa Anderson added to UAlbany’s lead with a kickout three from Charles to push UAlbany up 19-12.
The home team got a couple of three down, pulling to within one. Nichols broke out of a double team on the halfcourt trap for a wide open Rowley layup, then Cremo hit a one-hand floater while falling in the paint to put UAlbany’s lead back to five. UAlbany held the lead the rest of the half, being up 27-24 at the break.
Into the 2nd, Vermont hit four of its first five baskets. Nichols countered Vermont’s production, hitting a quartet of three-pointers in a row to keep UAlbany ahead 39-32 with 15:30 in the 2nd.
Vermont continued its strong shooting in the second half, finding space underneath the basket. A Dre Wills layup tied it up at 41-41 with just under 12 minutes left in the 2nd.
UAlbany took back the lead as Rowley went down the lane and hit his layup. The Catamounts continued to go into the paint, getting a 6-0 run, primarily on free throws, to go up 47-43, later leading 51-45 with 6:55 to play.
Cremo got a much needed UAlbany three to get the Great Danes back within one possession. Vermont’s play in the paint led to more free throw attempts, and UAlbany could not cut into the deficit further. Despite a late jumper by Charles, UAlbany fell to Vermont 62-50.
UAlbany will prepare for Senior Night in the home regular season finale on Saturday, February 25th as the Great Danes host Hartford at 7 p.m. at the SEFCU Arena.