Heading into tonight, Joe Cremo has already had his fair share of impressive games only 12 contests into his UAlbany career.
But tonight was a different story.
The UAlbany freshman and Scotia-Glenville native poured in a career-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting Wednesday night to lead the Danes to victory over the visiting Niagara Purple Eagles by a final of 65-56, easily his best game of his young Dane career, stepping up due to the scoring absences of Evan Singletary (0 points) and Peter Hooley (8 points on 2-of-10 shooting).
The Danes struggled on the defensive side early as Niagara guard Matt Scott scored 10 of the games first 22 points, including the visitors first 8 points and 10 of the Purple Eagles first 13 points.
The Danes struggled shooting the ball for the majority of the first half, but a huge 18-4 run led by 8 by Cremo and 8 from Danes big man Richard Peters to close out the final 6:02 of the first half gave the Danes a 32-24 advantage at the break which they would not give back up, led by 11 from Cremo shooting 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-3 from 3 and Ray Sanders who had 7 points in a perfect shooting first half.
And then Cremo would take over.
The freshman scored 14 points in the 2nd half, by far the most for a single Dane (the next leading scorers for the whole game for the home team were Richard Peters and Dallas Ennema with 9 apiece), converting a pair of acrobatic and ones that would swing the momentum heavily in the home team’s favor and keeping the crowd involved in the game.
But Niagara wouldn’t go away. They suffocated the Danes into 8 2nd half turnovers pressing full court through the majority of the final 20 minutes and had runs of 7-1 and 8-2 about midway through the 2nd half that would keep the Purple Eagles in the game.
But with 5:01 to go, Cremo converted his 2nd and one of the half giving the Danes a 59-48 advantage and starting a 9-2 run that would put them up 15 with 2:04 to go.
The Eagles finished the game on a 6-0 run, but it was too little too late as the Danes secured their 11th straight home victory.
Richard Peters finished with 9 points, 8 of them coming in 2:42 span in the 1st half sparking the big run to end the half, and Dallas Ennema also tallied 9 in the scoring column, including a pair of big three pointers that got the crowd on their feet. Evan Singletary finished with 0 points, but put up a new career high in assists with 10. Singletary only took 5 shots and contributed to the game in ways the Dane squad needed him to tonight. 59 of the Danes 65 points came from 5 guys (Cremo, Peters, Ennema, Hooley and Sanders), including 43 coming from 3 guys off the bench in Cremo, Ennema and Peters.
The Danes (9-4 and victors in 7 of the last 8) will hit the road after the Christmas holiday to take on St. Francis Brooklyn at the Pope Physical Education Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday night at 7 PM.