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What you need to know for 12/14/2017

Slow start, but another win for UAlbany men's basketball

Slow start, but another win for UAlbany men's basketball

16-point win for Great Danes after halftime tie
Slow start, but another win for UAlbany men's basketball
UAlbany junior Joe Cremo makes a pass during Wednesday's game against Bryant.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

ALBANY — For a half, the exasperated expression rarely left University at Albany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown’s face.

In game No. 10 of the season, his one-loss team played to a halftime tie with a one-win Bryant squad at SEFCU Arena. After halftime, the look of disgust largely went away, but some of the confusion remained after UAlbany pulled away Wednesday for a decisive 84-68 win.

“You know, I just — young kids,” Brown said. “You never know what’s going through their minds. They want to win. They want to play well. They want to play hard. They want to keep their coach happy. They want to do all that stuff and, you know, sometimes, I think you’ve got to give the other team some credit because I thought Bryant played with great energy. I thought they played well and banged a bunch of 3s.”

But?

“We were just a step slow,” Brown said of his team’s opening 20 minutes.

Slow starts have become the norm lately for the Great Danes, who were able to shake off another lackluster first half to continue their winning ways.

UAlbany (9-1) started the second half on a 7-0 run and generally dominated Bryant (1-8) for the final 20 minutes of their meeting in the Gotham Classic. UAlbany held a double-digit lead for the final 9:28 as it recorded its first 9-1 start to a season since the 1993-94 campaign, before the Great Danes were a Division I program.

The first half, though, left a lot to be desired. UAlbany and Bryant were tied at 37at halftime as the Great Danes’ defense offered little resistance. Bryant made 6 of 13 3-pointers and had assists on 13 of its 14 baskets in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half? Bryant still made it share of 3s, but shot 10 of 29 overall as the intensity picked up from the Great Danes.

“It’s really mostly all effort — and communication, too,” said UAlbany junior Joe Cremo, who scored a game-high 24 points on 10 of 18 shooting. “I think when we’re talking out there, we’re all better defensively. We’ve got to keep getting a lot better and take more pride individually. Me, in particular, I know I have to get a lot better.”

“And when we get stops,” UAlbany senior Greig Stire said, “it lets us score easier.”

Bryant missed six of its first seven shots after halftime as the Great Danes quickly built up their lead. Cremo and junior David Nichols led the way for UAlbany, combining to score 31 points in the second half on 13 of 19 shooting.

For the game, Nichols finished with 17 points after only playing 11 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Meanwhile, Stire had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

UAlbany dominated the glass throughout the contest. The Great Danes grabbed 71.0 percent of rebounds on its defensive end of the floor, plus 44.8 percent of rebounds on Bryant’s defensive glass.

“They just kind of beat us up inside a little bit,” Bryant head coach Tim O’Shea said.

Next up for UAlbany is its annual meeting with Siena for the Albany Cup. That’s a rivalry game in which the Great Danes shouldn’t have a problem coming out ready to play in the first half, but Brown wants that issue to go away for good for his veteran team.

“I’m not sure right now why we’re riding that emotional roller coaster as far as getting off to slow starts or getting off to a slow start defensively,” Brown said.

But?

“It’s got to change,” Brown said.

Bryant

Carroll 6-11 1-4 15, Layman 3-5 0-0 8, Riley 1-2 0-0 2, Ndugba 4-12 2-4 13, Grant 2-4 0-0 5, Ware 0-3 0-0 0, McHugh 3-6 3-4 11, Johnson 1-4 0-0 3, Townes 4-14 3-4 11, Urmilevicius 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-61 9-16 68.

UAlbany

Campbell 3-8 5-6 12, Charles 2-8 0-0 4, Stire 5-6 1-1 11, Nichols 7-11 0-0 17, Cremo 10-18 1-1 24, Anderson 1-4 0-0 3, Clark 2-2 0-2 5, Conway 0-0 1-2 1, Foster 3-4 1-1 7, Cochran 0-0 0-0 0, Fruscio 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 33-61 9-13 84.

Halftime score: UAlbany 37, Bryant 37. Three-point shooting: Bryant 11-26 (Carroll 2-4, Layman 2-2, Riley 0-1, Ndugba 3-8, Grant 1-2, McHugh 2-4, Johnson 1-4, Townes 0-1), UAlbany 9-17 (Campbell 1-3, Nichols 3-4, Cremo 3-6, Anderson 1-3, Clark 1-1). Rebounds: Bryant 27 (Layman 9), UAlbany 40 (Stire 12). Assists: Bryant 21 (Ndugba 7), UAlbany 21 (Stire 6). Turnovers: Bryant 9, UAlbany 14. Total fouls: Bryant 16, UAlbany 14. Technicals: None. Fouled out: None. Attendance: 2,012.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Michael Kelly at mkelly@dailygazette.net or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter. For more college basketball coverage, head to dailygazette.com/blogs/the-outlet.

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