UAlbany Men’s Basketball Felled in Defensive Battle vs. Vermont 60-49
ALBANY, N.Y. – The UAlbany men’s basketball team held the league’s first place team to 60 points, Vermont’s lowest total against a conference opponent this season, but fell to the Catamounts 60-49 on Wednesday night.
UAlbany (12-10, 3-4 AE) trailed by six at the half to Vermont (17-5, 7-0 AE), then by 12 early in the second. UAlbany got to within single digits with six minutes remaining, but was not able to close the gap.
“This was an extremely physical game, my concerns coming into the game were defense and rebounding,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown. “I thought our guys did a solid job defensively and on the glass, but we struggled to put the ball in the basket.”
UAlbany outrebounded Vermont 43-37 and had eight steals in the game, but was held to 29.7% shooting in the contest.
For Vermont, Trae Bell-Haynes got 18 points, four assists and five rebounds. Kurt Steidl concluded with 10 points, five boards and three assists.
To begin, UAlbany looked to attack the basket while Vermont primarily fired away from behind the arc. Scoring was slow to begin, with Vermont connecting on its first three-pointer from Bell-Haynes 4:16 in to lead 8-4. Later, a Darren Payen dunk and a Dre Wills layup while fouled to push the Vermont advantage to 14-8 just over six minutes in.
UAlbany switched its defense up from man-to-man to zone, leading to the Great Danes to hold Vermont off the scoreboard for a couple of minutes. UAlbany’s assault in the paint continued, with a Travis Charles jumper and a baseline drive and layup by Nichols pulling UAlbany within one possession at 14-12.
After a three-pointer by Steidl, UAlbany held Vermont without points for over four minutes. Cremo hit two quick baskets, then after a two-minute stretch of no scoring, Mike Rowley hit a one-handed layup and one to give UAlbany the lead at 19-17 at under eight in the first.
The two sides exchanged the lead, with Vermont going up with a layup and one, then UAlbany countering with four free throws in as many attempts. Vermont pushed back with the free throw line and went back up, then Costa Anderson hit a layup driving down the lane to tie it up at 25.
Vermont went on a 6-0 run in the final three minutes of the first half to lead 31-25 at the break.
UAlbany’s drought continued into the start of the second half, with Vermont adding two more layups in the half’s opening three minutes for a 10-point lead at 35-25.
Defense continued to rule as Vermont built its lead to 12. Greig Stire countered Vermont baskets with a couple of layups under pressure, making it 43-33 with 11:25 left in the 2nd.
The sides continued to battle, with neither able to get a consistent run together. Stire and Nichols had baskets, with Rowley adding a free throw to pull UAlbany within single digits at 47-38 with six minutes to play.
UAlbany could not get closer quickly as a couple of three-point plays by Bell-Haynes and Ernie Duncan pushed the Catamounts up 15. Some late free throws and a deep three by Cremo got UAlbany back to within eight with 47 seconds remaining, but that is as close as the Great Dames came. UAlbany fell to the Catamounts 60-49.
UAlbany will finish this week on the road, taking on Hartford on Saturday, January 28th at 7 p.m. in Connecticut.