A strong late-game performance led by a defensive effort held back Yale as UAlbany picked up a victory on Friday night at SEFCU Arena by a score of 80-72 to start their 2017-18 campaign 3-0.
The game was back and forth early onas neither side led by more than five in the first half, and this was also the case for the first parts of the second half. The Danes began to make their run towards the middle of the second half, slowly pulling away for a stretch of about five minutes, leading by as much as 16 during that time frame. The big second half was orchestrated by the efforts of Joe Cremo and Travis Charles. Cremo had 11 points in the second half and finished up with a team-leading 20, and Charles also had 11 in the second frame, 19 in total.
Yale, seemingly out of nowhere, began to claw their way back into the game in the final five minutes of the contest. The Bulldogs cut the Albany lead to as little as four points with just over two minutes left during a 15-4 run coming in a stretch of under five minutes.
The comeback, however, eventually fell short as a three from Miye Oni in the final minute of the game proved to be too little, too late. Albany had to scratch and claw their way to a victory after it seemed like they would be cruising to a 3-0 start to the season, the first time they’ve done that since turning Division 1 for the 1999-2000 season.
In the first half, there were 10 lead changes, and was anybody’s game. Yale led 39-36 at the half but were outscored by 11 in the second and turned a 17-15 rebounding battle in their favor into a 40-30 Albany advantage on the boards by the end of the night. Also, Yale took 28 three-pointers and only hit seven of them which also led to their demise.
The Bulldogs were led offensively by Alex Copeland who had 17 points on 7-15 shooting. Oni had 15 of his own.
Yale falls to 1-3 on the season following the loss. They will be back in action on Sunday, returning home to face Division III Curry College. Start time is set for 2 p.m.
Albany is now 3-0, and will finish their short two-game home stand on Monday as they also take on Division III foe SUNY Oneonta. The tip for that game is set for 7 p.m.