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Despite playing what Albany Head Coach Will Brown called “atrocitious transition defense”, especially in the second half, the Great Danes came away with a 91-81 win on the road at Lowell. They had five players in double figures as the backcourt of Joe Cremo (13) and David Nichols (25) combined for 38 points. Nichols himself hit three straight three’s down the stretch when Albany really needed it.

The Great Danes got 25 points off the bench, including seven from little-used big man Matt Conway to offset all five River Hawks starters in double-figures. They also shot a season-best 59.6% from the field, while committing a team worst 16 turnovers.

It all added up to a wild night at Costello Athletic Center. UMass Lowell jumped out of the gate, scoring the first five points in this game. A Matt Harris three (16 points, 4-of-9 from deep), was followed by a Jahad Thomas tip-in (he had 22 on 9-of-14 shooting).

Albany came right back and would tie the game at 14 at the 13:52 mark on a three by Costa Anderson (15 for him).  Then, they went on an 8-0 run to take a 22-14 lead with 11:38 to go.

The River Hawks cut it to four on three’s by Harris and a jumper from Obadiah Noel. It was 25-21 visitors with 10:16 left.

The Great Danes went on another run, this time a 7-0 spurt. All seven points were scored by 6-6 forward Travis Charles who finished with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The Great Danes had their biggest lead of the half at 32-21 with 7:41 to go.

The River Hawks answered back with a 6-0 run with Thomas, who both Coach Brown and Charles called after the game a “unique player”, accounting for five of them.  It was 32-27 Albany with 5:15 left.

Albany then ripped off a 12-4 burst, with Conway being a big weapon. He would hit two layups, then knock down a straightaway three-pointer. The Great Danes now had their biggest lead of 13, and it was 44-31 with two minutes left in the half. Albany would take a fifteen point lead to the break with them on a layup by Cremo. Albany had a 48-33 lead at the break.

The second half started much like the first with the River Hawk getting a 6-2 start to cut the lead to 11 at 50-39 a minute in. Ryan Jones, who was scoreless for the River Hawks in the first half, went off in the second twenty minutes. He would score all 18 of his points after intermission, including a layup that tied the game for the second time at 58-58 with 12:14 left in the game.

With the score tied for the third time at 61 apiece, Albany went on an 8-0 spurt to retake command of the game at 69-61 with 8:52 left. The River Hawks would not go away, cutting the lead down to one at 77-76, with 3:35 to play. Josh Gantz would have four points in this stretch, he finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

With the score at 77-76 Albany, Nichols took over. First, he had a layup, then showed off his range by knocking down three three-point shots. That put Albany back in front by nine at 88-79. The River Hawks had no answer this time and the final score was Albany 91 Lowell 81.

Afterward, Coach Pat Duquette said he was proud of his team’s second-half comeback.

When asked about his three-point shooting late in the game, Albany’s guard David Nichols. Said “coach drew up some great plays for me”.

The Great Danes improved to 19-8, 8-5 in America East. The River Hawks dropped to 9-16, 3-9 in league play.

UMass Lowell returns to the court on Sunday afternoon when they play host to Binghamton.

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