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America East semifinal recap: Albany knocks off Stony Brook in SUNY showdown

Albany and Vermont will play for the America East championship

Steph Crandall

If you’ve been part of the America East family for a few years, you should be aware of the rivalry between fellow SUNY schools, Stony Brook and Albany. They’ve gone head to head in multiple playoff games with the most recent memorable one being two years ago, when Peter Hooley threw up a Hail Mary three that went in with only seconds left that awarded Albany the America East Championship.

Though the stakes weren’t quite as high this time around, it definitely felt like it.

As with any game between these two teams, it was tight from the beginning. They spent the opening minutes trading buckets, with the occasional three in the mix to spice things up. At the end of the first half, each team had a clear leader, with David Nichols of Albany and Lucas Woodhouse being the only two on the court in double-digits with 12 and 13 respectively.

Costa Anderson made his only real mark on the game by hitting a three at the buzzer to give the Great Danes a 32-24 lead into the locker room at the half.

For the second half, Nichols wasn’t on his own any more. Devonte Campbell and Joe Cremo stepped up and added in 16 and 13 points respectively, while Nichols still topped the team with 19. Stony Brook, who only had Woodhouse to depend on for points, just couldn’t make shots fall.

“I think it was one of those nights,” Stony Brook head coach Jeff Boals said. “I thought we had some really good looks... To have Roland [Nyama] 0-4, UC [Iroegbu] 0-3, Akwasi [Yeboah] 1-4 and [Bryan] Sekunda 0-4, that hasn’t happened a whole lot this year.”

Woodhouse put Stony Brook on his back with 25 points, three assists, and two rebounds. It was a bittersweet end to a senior’s conference career.

“I said to Lucas at the end of the game, if Vermont didn’t have this unbelievable run, he probably would have Player of the Year in the league.” Albany head coach Will Brown said.

While the Seawolves won’t be making another appearance in the America East Championship, it’s likely that they will land themselves a postseason bid.

“I feel like we exceeded expectations,” Woodhouse said. “In our inclusive group, we felt like we could make it back to the NCAA Tournament.”

Albany will head up to Burlington to take on Vermont, who is still undefeated in conference, at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday. Grab some coffee and a donut and turn on ESPN 2 for your viewing pleasure.