Albany, N.Y. — Basketball is all about adversity and how a team can handle with playing from behind. The University of Albany Great Danes men’s basketball team found that out last night in an 86-82 non-conference win against Columbia University out of the Ivy League.
This game was a game of two halves. Both teams started the game off very poorly offensively while it was a defensive slug fest and the second half there was close to no defense at all.
Both Columbia (1-6 record) and UAlbany (8-1 record) shot under 35% from the field through the first half (UAlbany 11-31 and Columbia 10-33). It was ugly on both sides. Both teams were missing shots, turning the ball over and seemed like neither team were playing with a sense of purpose. However, even with the Great Danes playing quite poorly, the home crowd never let down and was able to cheer on the team and help them carry themselves to a three-point lead heading into halftime.
The second half was a completely different story however. Both teams kicked it up a notch and came out swinging from the get go.
Early in the second half of this clash of two very good and well-coached teams, Columbia pulled out ahead with a lead that grew to as much as ten points led by point guard Mike Smith. Smith electrified the court scoring 27 points and nearly taking out UAlbany by himself.
However, the Great Danes would not go down easily. The comeback was led by point guard David Nichols who scored a season-high 29 points, two rebounds and four assists and he hit critical three-point baskets during the Great Danes’ rally to get back into the game.
Junior guard Joe Cremo was also sensational and also contributed to the major comeback. He was honored prior to the game in a ceremony to congratulate him for scoring 1,000 career points during his current UAlbany playing career. He tallied a total of 25 points and shot 75% from three-point range in the victory.
After the game UAlbany head coach Will Brown was satisfied with the outcome of the game but he was not pleased of how his team got there. When asked what happened offensively during the first half of play Brown had one simple response. “I think our issues are laziness. We’re lazy sometimes offensively, we don’t cut hard, we don’t screen hard, we don’t move the ball side to side.”
He also praised the Columbia team because they did have UAlbany on their heels at times during the second half. “All the credit to Columbia…don’t be fooled by their record, they’ve played Villanova, Penn State and UConn so they’re pretty good.”
The University of Albany men’s basketball team now has four days off in order to get ready for Bryant University coming up on December 6th. This Gotham Classic game will be held at SEFCU Arena with tipoff at 7 p.m.