Albany had a historic night in the America East quarterfinals with some record-breaking stats. David Nichols scored a school record 40 points, Joe Cremo dished out a record 10 assists and the team hit the 100-point mark.
Not bad for a quarterfinal game.
Nichols started out hot, hitting four threes in the first half alone. His first three shots amped up the crowd enough to have the entire building in the Great Danes’ favor. And when you’re looking for revenge on Hartford for a loss in last year’s quarterfinals, that’s huge.
Nichols had an amazing night for a player that averages 1.3 three pointers a game. But when asked about it, he had to commend his teammates for getting him there.
“Everyone seemed to find me in the right spot,” he said after the game. “I don’t get three quarters of those shots without those great passes”
He wasn’t the only Great Dane in double digits as Cremo managed to add 14 to his 40. He also added a game-high 10 assists, giving him the only double-double of the game.
“We know how talented a player he is, on and off the court, he’s a great person. And tonight he really deserved what he got,” Cremo said about Nichols. “He put so much into it, and he works hard at it. So for him to go out there and do that, especially for his sister, it means a lot to him and a lot to this team.”
Two years ago Albany rallied behind Peter Hooley after the loss of his mother. Saturday morning David Nichols lost his sister. If you believe in angels, the Danes had two watching over them this game.
Hartford never stood a chance. Its offense was slow to get going, and when it did, the baskets just wouldn’t fall. When Hartford finally scored 31 points, Nichols had racked up just as many.
“David’s come a long way this year. The best is yet to come,” Albany coach Will Brown said.
With this season closing for the Hawks, John Gallagher has a lot to improve on. He said after the game that he’s excited for his recruits and how his young team can better itself over the offseason.
With with the win, Albany advances to the AE semifinals to face off against SUNY rival Stony Brook.
As for the rest of the tournament action Wednesday night, Vermont clobbered Maine in an 86-41 win, as expected. Vermont’s recently named Rookie of the Year, Anthony Lamb, went 10-for-10 picking up a game-high 23 points.
Binghamton came close to knocking off No. 2 seed Stony Brook, but ultimately fell, 70-60. Lucas Woodhouse topped the stats with 24 points.
UMBC also came close to knocking off higher seeded New Hampshire, but in the end, the four Wildcats in double digits were more than enough to propel them to victory.
The AE semifinals will take place Monday, March 6. Stony Brook will play host to Albany at 7:30 PM ET, while Vermont will host New Hampshire at 7PM ET. Both games will air on ESPN3.