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UAlbany men's basketball, Cremo grind out win

UAlbany men's basketball, Cremo grind out win

Great Danes top Canisius
UAlbany men's basketball, Cremo grind out win
UAlbany's Joe Cremo goes for a layup against Canisius.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ALBANY — Joe Cremo went down, clutching his right ankle after colliding with a teammate midway through Saturday’s second half.

Looked bad.

Looked like his night against Canisius — at least — was over with the way the University at Albany men’s basketball junior reacted when he hit the SEFCU Arena floor.

“I wasn’t worried about the game,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “I was worried about all the games after tonight when I saw him go down.”

Then, Brown went out onto the court. Had a chat with Cremo — “Just tweaked it,” Cremo said — and felt a little better, felt like he knew how to cure the sharp pain the player was feeling.

“Done for the night?” Brown asked the team’s trainer.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” came the hurried response from Cremo. “Help me up, help me up.”

Cremo headed back to the locker room, but reappeared at the scorer’s table after about a minute of game action. Right after he checked back in, Brown called out to his player.

“Joe,” Brown said, “you good?”

No verbal response came, just a shift into a defensive stance and a bit of a scowl. Cremo just kept playing, just kept grinding — and the Great Danes followed suit, as they scored a 68-65 win more because of their collective mentality than anything else.

“We got to find a way to win,” Cremo said of his veteran team’s mindset. “That’s part of college basketball.”

Cremo didn’t play particularly well, but nobody on UAlbany did, really, except for fifth-year senior Travis Charles. The Great Danes’ unsung hero, who just makes baskets and key plays, had 24 points on 10 of 16 shooting, plus six rebounds.

Like usual, Charles stayed humble. He credited Cremo and junior David Nichols — who shot 2 of 11 and scored six points — for setting him up for open shots and had no use for when someone alerted him he’d scored a new career-high.

“I don’t care,” Charles said. “We won.”

His coach, though, heaped praise upon him.

“He plays to his strengths. That’s a compliment because there’s so many kids that want to do things that they’re not good at doing just to try to prove a point to you,” Brown said. “Travis keeps it simple. He’s effective, he’s efficient, and while our defense has been up and down this year, we’ve been able to win because of our offense because of the consistency we’re getting from him.”

UAlbany (11-2) looked a step slow for much of the first half against Canisius (4-7), but the Great Danes put together a 13-5 run to get into halftime down only 35-34. Canisius led by as many as 10 points in the first half, a period Canisius opened making 10 of 12 shots.

“They were out-competing us and they were doing it in our own building in front of our own people,” Brown said of the Great Danes’ start.

UAlbany went ahead early in the second half, though, and never gave back the lead in the final 13:41. Cremo hurt his ankle with 10:08 to go and checked back in with 8:43 left and UAlbany ahead 45-43.

“And we were good the rest of the way,” Brown said.

The teams traded a few baskets at first, but then Cremo and Charles got going. With Canisius trailing 49-48, Cremo and Charles scored the Great Danes’ next 11 points. Still, a late-game stop was needed to preserve the win — and Cremo provided the hand in Canisius sophomore Isaiah Reese’s face on the last-second shot that was way off the mark.

Cremo finished with 16 points, with nine of those coming in the final 6:28. Senior Greig Stire added 10 points for UAlbany, while Reese had 19 for Canisius and senior Jermaine Crumpton had 16.

Cremo said he’s sprained his right ankle a “bunch” during his playing career. Not finishing the game, though, was not an option.

Neither was losing.

“Tonight,” Cremo said, “we just grinded it out.”

CANISIUS

Crumpton 7-13 0-0 16, Lotts 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 4-7 0-0 8, Reese 7-13 2-2 19, Molson 4-8 0-0 9, Sanks 1-5 1-3 3, White 2-6 0-0 4, Planincic 1-2 0-0 2, Foley 2-4 0-0 4, Hitchon 0-2 0-2 0. Totals: 28-61 3-7 65.

UALBANY

Campbell 3-6 2-2 8, Charles 10-16 4-6 24, Stire 5-7 0-0 10, Nichols 2-11 1-3 6, Cremo 5-10 5-7 16, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Conway 0-0 0-0 0, Foster 1-2 2-2 4. Totals: 26-53 14-20 68.

Halftime score: Canisius 35, UAlbany 34. Three-point shooting: Canisius 6-22 (Crumpton 2-4, Johnson 0-3, Reese 3-6, Molson 1-3, Sanks 0-3, White 0-2, Planincic 0-1), UAlbany 2-10 (Campbell 0-2, Nichols 1-4, Cremo 1-3, Anderson 0-1). Rebounds: Canisius 29 (Crumpton 9), UAlbany 33 (Stire 7). Assists: Canisius 19 (Reese 6), UAlbany 11 (Cremo 5). Turnovers: Canisius 10, UAlbany 12. Total fouls: Canisius 20, UAlbany 11. Fouled out: None. Technicals: None. Attendance: 2,541.

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

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