ALBANY — It is always good to be home and there is no place like it. Home is where one feels safe and comfortable. Home is where one can accomplish the most and be at their best mentally and physically especially when it comes to basketball.
Playing on your home court in front of 2,579 die-hard fans is always an advantage to your team. Home court advantage in basketball is real, just ask the University of Albany Great Danes men’s basketball team. They played their final game of 2017 last night against the Kent State Golden Flashes and handled them 78-68 to improve to a perfect 8-0 at home (12-3 overall) to start of the season.
The Great Danes returned to the court and played a game for the first time in over a week since their narrow loss against the University of Louisville Cardinals on December 20. One would expect the team to be a little rusty, which they were but they were ready for the challenge in front of them. Kent State came out very aggressively to start the game and they were able to force a couple of mistakes and took advantage of them. Four turnovers in the first two minutes of the game led to six quick Kent State points which gave them a slight advantage. However, UAlbany was able to keep the score close throughout the rest of the period.
After a slow start and two early turnovers, Joe Cremo was able to get into a small rhythm, tallying 7 points while adding 5 assists. Travis Charles or how head coach Will Brown calls him, “the walking bucket” added 6 points and 3 rebounds while Alex Foster came off the bench to give the Danes an extra lift with 4 points and 5 rebounds.
The second half started off the same way with both teams playing hard defensively but UAlbany was able to pull away midway through and keep the lead for good. Travis Charles led all UAlbany scorers with 19 points and 9 rebounds while Joe Cremo finished with 14 points and 9 assists and late bloomer to the game David Nichols got hot late and finished with 15 points when only scoring 3 during the first half.
After the game head coach Will Brown was pleased how his team has performed defensively this past couple of weeks. “I thought our defense was pretty good against Memphis, our defense was pretty good against Louisville and I thought our defense tonight against a talented team [Kent State]”.
He also explained how the team still hasn’t reached its full potential and how there are not a lot of teams in the country that have not reached their peak going into conference play.
“I want to see this team get to another level before conference play. What I’m really excited about is that we’re 12-3 and I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface yet.” Brown also added “There’s not a lot of teams right now at the fifteen game point that can get a lot better, but I do think we’re one of those teams”.
UAlbany finished off 2017 strong and will now try to start 2018 the same way as they kick off America East conference play. They will play their first game of 2018 back home at the SEFCU Arena against the Hartford Hawks Wednesday, January 3 at 7 p.m.