Albany, NY — The victory for the University at Albany Great Danes wasn’t necessary a difficult one Sunday afternoon, but it almost was.
Even though the Danes (12-9, 3-3) ended up pulling away to win by 18, 81-63, over the University of Maine Black Bears (5-17, 1-6) the visitors got as close as two in the second half before Albany went on a 19-3 run to give themselves a more than comfortable 18 point lead to lean on in the final 9:27.
“I was pleased with the first 15 minutes, then we had an 8-10 minute lull where we went back to some bad habits,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “I thought we finished very well the last 15 minutes of the second half. We just need to keep playing with that sense of urgency.”
David Nichols finished with 28, one short of his career high that came against Siena last month, while Devonte Campbell had career highs with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Postgame, Maine Head Coach Bob Walsh said he “didn’t know” what made Nichols such a good player and he “didn’t know Nichols all that well.”
“David’s really good. That stuff probably shouldn’t bother me but it does,” Brown responded. “David’s worked really hard to put himself in this position and I would think on every scouting report Nichols-Cremo has been circled eight million times. Nichols-Cremo, Nichols-Cremo, Nichols-Cremo, Nichols-Cremo.”
Nichols, however, didn’t seem to care much.
“He’s probably never really seen me play in person,” said Nichols. “Given my role last year and playing limited minutes I can’t really blame him for saying or thinking that.”
Nichols’ backcourt teammate and Danes leading scorer, Joe Cremo, didn’t provide as much as usual. The Scotia-Glenville grad finished with only eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and had five turnovers.
“Joe had a tough one today,” Brown admitted. “I took him out three or four times because I didn’t like his body language. He was upset with himself.”
That allowed Campbell to step up. The sophomore hit three field goals and made all six of his free throws for his 13 points, good enough for second on the team in the game.
“I think I got implemented into the starting lineup because of my defense,” Campbell said. “I think I did a pretty good job on Myers (Maine’s leading scorer- finished with 18 points, 6 coming after the 19-3 run). I also think I did a good job on the boards offensively and defensively.”
The game was also the Fourth Annual Coaches Cure Cystic Fibrosis Event, as UAlbany coaches and managers wore sweatsuits and Coaches Cure CF pins while the players wore t-shirts during warmups to raise awareness and support for the battle against cystic fibrosis.
“One thing I take very seriously is I have a platform, Brown commented. “For us to work with Coaches Cure CF, I welcome the opportunity with open arms. It’s an opportunity for our guys to raise awareness, for us to give back. IT’s tremendous. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy doing.”
The Danes will return home Wednesday night when they host Vermont, who Brown says are “the top team in the league and it’s not even close”, at 7, as the look to add on to their current three game win streak.