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Albany splits pair of games at Hall of Fame Tip-Off

The Great Danes hung on against Brown and fell to Grand Canyon.

Steph Crandall, Mid-Major Madness

If there’s one thing an Albany fan can tell you, it’s that the Great Danes get to the line and they make it count.

This weekend at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off, they did just that, but also committed quite a few fouls themselves, having three players foul out in total for both games. They were whistled for an uncharacteristic total of 21 fouls in a loss to Grand Canyon and 25 fouls in a narrow victory over Brown.

It seemed like a weird twilight zone experience to watch the Great Danes miss shots, pick up silly fouls, and just be disorganized.

“Our program has been built on defense, rebounding, and toughness,” Albany coach Will Brown said after the Grand Canyon game. ‘There were long spurts where we showed none of that.”

Albany Great Danes at Mohegan Sun Arena for the Naismith Tip Off
Steph Crandall, Mid-Major Madness

While the Great Danes lost the game, there are always positives to take away from it, as Brown said.

“I am not happy that we lost,” he said. “I am not happy with our overall defensive effort, but I also am smart enough to realize that’s a terrific opponent we played. And that’s a team that’s going to win a lot of games.”

If the Lopes are truly going to win a lot of games, DeWayne Russell will have a huge impact, much like he did against Albany. The 5’11 guard scored 30 points on 11-19 shooting and dished out 10 assists to lead Grand Canyon to the 82-77 victory.

Their second game didn’t start out much better for Albany, but it used a 26-3 second-half run to erase an 11-point deficit. While the Great Danes held on with the 80-76 win, it definitely didn’t go as Brown planned.

“We’ve prided ourselves on toughness, defense, and rebounding,” he said. “We showed none of that in the first half.”

Fortunately, their free throw attempts were significantly better than in the Grand Canyon game. While their 66.7 percent shooting from the line wasn’t bad, the 78.6 percent against Brown was far more Albany-like. Joe Cremo led the way with 10-10 shooting from the stripe. He finished the game with 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

Albany’s Joe Cremo against Brown
Steph Crandall, Mid-Major Madness

Greig Stire managed to finish with a double-double with 12 rebounds and 14 points. But that also came with four fouls.

With Thanksgiving on the way, Albany has a week of rest until its next game at home Sunday against Siena.