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UAlbany men's basketball gets back on track

UAlbany men's basketball gets back on track

Great Danes top Stony Brook, avoid 0-3 league start
UAlbany men's basketball gets back on track
UAlbany's David Nichols scored 19 points in Wednesday's win.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

ALBANY — Oh, yeah.

They’re pretty good.

The Great Danes reminded the rest of America East of that Wednesday with a 78-65 win against Stony Brook, a victory in which UAlbany looked the part of one of the conference’s favorites.

“We didn’t become a bad basketball team in a four-day period,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “We just got complacent.”

After ripping through its non-conference season with a 12-3 mark, the Great Danes stumbled to an 0-2 start in league play. UAlbany fifth-year senior Travis Charles said UAlbany approached Wednesday’s game at SEFCU Arena with a “sense of desperation” and that it was on the players — not the coaches — to get the Great Danes back on track.

“They do their jobs,” Charles said. “It’s time for us to do ours.”

That happened against Stony Brook (2-1, 7-10), as UAlbany (1-2, 13-5) controlled the glass, got stops and shot 52.7 percent from the field.

“This is how this team needs to play every time we step on the floor,” Brown said, “and, if we do, we’re going going to be a tough out.”

UAlbany led 33-29 at halftime after shutting out the Seawolves for the final 3:24 of the first half. Stony Brook kept it close with 7 of 11 shooting from 3-point territory, but the Great Danes scored 20 points in the paint and junior David Nichols scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half.

“He imposed his will to start,” Stony Brook head coach Jeff Boals said of Nichols, who made three 3s in the opening 20 minutes.

UAlbany opened it up after halftime. The Great Danes made 10 of 14 shots to start the second half and moved their lead into double-digits for good with 16:43 to go. UAlbany built its lead to as much as 22 points.

In a similar situation last year at Stony Brook, UAlbany didn’t hang on for what seemed like a certain win. Last January, Stony Brook ended a game against UAlbany on a 21-0 run to win 72-70.

“I don’t think something like that’s going to happen again this year,” Brown said.

Charles — who only played three minutes in the first half because of foul trouble — led UAlbany with 20 points on 7 of 11 shooting, while Nichols bounced back with 7 of 12 shooting after struggling with his shot in recent games.

“I don’t think I ever lost my confidence,” said Nichols, who had made 34 of 106 shots in UAlbany’s previous seven games. “I think I know what I can do as a basketball player, and I think my teammates and coaches have the utmost confidence in what I can do. It’s just simply going out there and doing it.”

UAlbany junior Joe Cremo added 10 points in the win, while senior Greig Stire had nine points and six rebounds.

For Stony Brook, junior Jaron Cornish and senior Tyrell Sturdivant each had 10 points. The Seawolves shot 41.7 percent in the loss.

UAlbany, which struggled on the glass in recent games, grabbed 78.4 percent of the rebounds off its defensive glass, plus controlled 28.6 percent of caroms on Stony Brook’s defensive end.

“We played like a team that was determined to win,” Brown said.

UAlbany next plays Saturday at Maine, a team that’s 4-14 overall on the season.

Regardless of an opponent’s quality, though, Charles said it’s on the Great Danes to bring an intensity to the court each night the rest of the season like the one they brought Wednesday to their home floor.

“It has to be like that all the time,” Charles said.

STONY BROOK

Sturdivant 3-7 2-2 10, Yeboah 2-6 0-0 6, Cornish 5-7 0-0 10, Saintel 2-7 2-2 6, Sekunda 3-7 0-0 9, Iroegbu 1-4 0-0 3, Almoncay 1-2 0-0 3, Olaniyi 1-6 0-0 2, Long 0-0 0-0 0, McKenzie 2-2 0-0 4, Garcia 4-8 0-2 9, Petras 1-4 0-0 2, Ochefu 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 25-60 5-8 65.

UALBANY

Campbell 3-5 1-1 7, Charles 7-11 6-7 20, Stire 4-6 1-2 9, Nichols 7-12 0-0 19, Cremo 4-11 1-1 10, Cochran 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Clark 1-3 3-4 5, Fruscio 0-0 0-0 0, Conway 1-2 0-0 2, Foster 2-5 2-2 6. Totals: 29-55 14-17 78.

Halftime score: UAlbany 33, Stony Brook 29. Three-point shooting: Stony Brook 10-20 (Sturdivant 2-3, Yeboah 2-4, Cornish 0-1, Sekunda 3-5, Iroegbu 1-3, Almoncay 1-1 Olaniyi 0-2, Garcia 1-1), UAlbany 6-9 (Campbell 0-1, Nichols 5-6, Cremo 1-2). Rebounds: Stony Brook 28 (Cornish 5), UAlbany 37 (Stire, Nichols 6). Assists: Stony Brook 17 (Cornish 7), UAlbany 20 (Cremo, Clark 5). Turnovers: Stony Brook 9, UAlbany 11. Total fouls: Stony Brook 18, UAlbany 11. Attendance: 2,288.

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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