The annual UAlbany Basketball Purple & Gold Scrimmage may only be just that, a scrimmage, to some fans, but the early preseason intrasquad did not lack it’s fair share of action between the two teams in the 32-minute match Friday night.
Scotia-Glenville graduate and UAlbany sophomore Joe Cremo was the most impressive player, tallying 37 points and bringing his well-known competitiveness to lead the Purple squad to overcome a 18-point halftime deficit to defeat the Gold side 77-71.
“Both teams played great and competed well,” Cremo said postscrimmage. “I hope the crowd enjoyed it. We just wanted to have some fun.”
Cremo will look to step into a starting role this season after coming off the bench in all 33 games last season, and with the loss of All-Conference Guards Evan Singletary, Peter Hooley, and Ray Sanders, the 518 product knows he must step up his game in an increased role.
“Our Guards last year scored a lot, so I know I have to pick up my scoring this year,” Cremo said. “I have to play my game and get the other guys involved while staying aggressive.”
Another guy that was highly involved was sophomore David Nichols, who led the Gold team with 26 points on the evening. Nichols, who like Cremo will look to have an increased role this season, received high praise from Head Coach Will Brown following.
“David looks really good,” Brown said. “He is Cremo’s partner- they’re good friends. they go to the weight room together, their roommates- and there’s no doubt he’s improved so far.”
Nichols was quick to begin the scoring, taking the tip from CBA grad Greig Stire straight to the hoop to give the Gold a 2-0 lead only four seconds in, and he wouldn’t look back, scoring 16- more than any other Gold player in the full contest- in the first 16 to lead his side to a 45-27 lead in the opening half.
After his backcourt partner had his way in the first half, Cremo would take over in the second. The local product had 23 points in the second half- including 13 of his team’s first 19 to begin the half- to rally his troops back to a one-point lead with 2:33 remaining. Cremo would have his way in the second half after that, scoring the team’s final seven points in that time frame to keep his team alive and send the game to overtime.
In the extra two minute period, the Purple side would have their way. Cremo and newcomers to the Great Dane 2016-17 squad Devonte Campbell, Marqueese Grayson, and Albany Academy graduate Nick Fruscio would split the scoring between them, outscoring the Gold side 9-3 in the overtime period to take the victory.
And for the reigning America East Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year, you could bet he wasn’t going to go down without a fight- even if it was just a scrimmage.
“I hate losing. I’m trying to get everyone to have the mentality for everyone to hate losing.”