UAlbany Menís Basketball Uses 26-3 Run to Defeat Brown 80-76 to Finish Tip-Off Tournament
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The UAlbany men’s basketball team used a 26-3 run in the second half to defeat Brown 80-76 in its final game of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.
Down 11 in the second half, UAlbany (3-2) rallied back, not allowing a Brown (1-4) field goal for over an 11-minute span. UAlbany led by as much as 14 in the second half and held off a late Brown comeback attempt to win.
“I told the guys at halftime, we pride ourselves on toughness, defense and rebounding, and we did not see that in the first half,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “I wanted them to play for the guys that helped make this program, and I think our guys responded.”
Joe Cremo was named to the All-Tournament Team from the Springfield Bracket after the game. He finished with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in the contest.
As a team, UAlbany shot 50% from the field and outrebounded its opponent 37-28.
Marqueese Grayson led all UAlbany players with 21 points. Greig Stire had his third career double-double off 14 points and 12 rebounds while David Nichols finished with 12 points, six rebounds and two steals.
For the Bears, Steven Spieth had 25 points, including going 10-for-10 on free throws, plus seven rebounds. Obi Okolie tallied 17 points.
UAlbany focused its early efforts under the basket. After a Brown three, a Stire layup, four straight points for Cremo and a power move to the basket for a layup by Mike Rowley completed an 8-0 run for an 8-3 advantage in the opening five minutes. Grayson hit a wing three a minute later for an 11-3 UAlbany lead.
Brown fired away from three, shooting 10 times from beyond the arc out of its first 15. Brown broke the run with a corner three from JR Hobbie; UAlbany kept the lead with efforts down low. A Nichols three put UAlbany ahead 16-9.
Brown took advantage of a couple of fast breaks to push ahead, going up with a Spieth three up top the arc to lead 20-19 with 8:11 left in the 1st. The Bears added two more layups and free throws to make the run 17-3 and lead 26-19 with under six in the first.
UAlbany pulled to within one possession, continuing to attack in the paint. Brown did the same, leading to layups on their end. A layup by Grayson pulled UAlbany back within four, but Brown saw Spieth score five points in 21 seconds to take a 39-30 advantage into the locker room.
Action picked up in the early part of the second half as each side went for layups. Stire had a strong jam after Nichols pulled a double team. Brown got a couple of fastbreak layups to go up 47-36 at the first media of the second half.
After Will Brown chatted with the team, UAlbany responded with a couple of baskets along the baseline, then Grayson buried a corner three to pull UAlbany back within one possession. UAlbany continued with Cremo hitting two free throws and a layup down the baseline.
UAlbany’s offense continued to hit shots in the paint, and the defense stopped Brown under the basket and at the perimeter. With contributions from Cremo, Rowley, Ennema and Nichols on offense, UAlbany built a 28-3 run and led 64-50 with 7:30 left to play.
UAlbany’s defense continued to hold, not allowing a field goal for over 12 minutes to Brown. Brown kept going with free throws and pulled to within nine 70-61 at the final media of the 2nd.
Brown went after UAlbany with halfcourt traps, and with 1:20 remaining, got to within one possession at 71-69. After an exchange, Grayson hit a three up top the arc to push UAlbany ahead by five. Brown again and again got within one possession, but UAlbany held with free throws until the end. UAlbany took the 80-76 victory.
The Great Danes will now prepare for the Albany Cup for the first time ever at the SEFCU Arena, taking on Siena on Sunday, November 27th at 7 p.m.