|Score By Half|
ALBANY, N.Y. – Mike Smith and UAlbany’s David Nichols went blow-for-blow in a battle of point guards with the Great Danes earning an 86-82 triumph in a wild affair. Smith netted a career-best 27 points and drilled five treys for the Lions (1-6). Nichols finished with 27 points to go with five steals.
It was a tale of two halves. In the first, baskets were a premium for both teams. Columbia shot 21-of-31 (67.7 percent) after the intermission, but the Great Danes (8-1) made a living at the foul line and knocked down 18-of-21 of their attempts.
The Lions played its strongest defensive first half of the season, holding the Great Danes to 11-of-33 shooting from the field, but committed 10 turnovers and found themselves behind at the half. Lukas Meisner pulled down 10 of his 11 rebounds in just 16 minutes of action and knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key as the horn sounded to make it 29-26 at the break.
Over the first 10 minutes, the lead changed hands six times until Nichols scored six of his 10
Smith scored the Lions’ first 10 points of the half to give Columbia a 36-33 advantage with 16:57 remaining when a pair of first-years took over. Gabe Stefanini and Jaron Faulds
From there, the Great Danes started attacking the baskets and getting to the charity stripe to get back into the game. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Devonte Campbell eventually put UAlbany back in front, 58-57 with 8:38 to play. The teams went back-and-forth over the next several minutes until Rodney Hunter kicked the ball out to Smith, who canned his fourth of five trifectas to bring it back to a six-point lead for Columbia with 4:50 on the clock.
Joe Cremo answered with a three of his own and powered his way to another and-one to even the score with 2:52 on the clock. After a Faulds layup, Nichols knocked down a 3-ball and posted a steal to give his team the lead back until Smith knotted things up one last time with a triple to make it 79-79 with 48 seconds left.
Nichols had the ball in his hand again and drained a long trey 22 seconds later. Smith hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe and Joe Cremo made it a two-possession game after a pair of foul shots with 16 seconds to play. The Lions did get a quick bucket in the paint, but Nichols sank two more free throws to ice the game.
Faulds and Stefanini both had career-nights. Faulds recorded 17 points, four
Cremo added 25 points for UAlbany on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor and went 8-for-8 from the foul line.
The Lions will host Quinnipiac this Monday, December 4 in their home opener. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting gocolumbialions.com/tickets or calling 888-LIONS-11.
- Columbia fell to 1-5 all-time against UAlbany and have lost four straight in the series.
- UAlbany held just a 37-36 advantage in rebounding. The Great Danes came into the game ranked No. 7 in the NCAA in rebounding margin (+12.1).
- Smith has now reached double-figures in 16 consecutive games, dating back to last season.
- Meisner’s six assists established a new career-high
- Tonight’s game marked the end of a seven-game road trip to start the season for the Lions.
- Saturday marked the first time this season an opposing player did not record a double-double.