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Comeback Falls Short At Albany

Miye Oni (Photo courtesy of Robert Mayberger)
Miye Oni (Photo courtesy of Robert Mayberger)

Copeland Scores 17 Points To Lead Bulldogs

ALBANY, N.Y. - Joe Crespo led four players in double figures with 20 points as Albany, one of the favorites in America East, held off Yale 80-72 before a nice Friday night crowd of 2,717 at SEFCU Arena.

The Great Danes (3-0) did what they do best, pound the ball inside. In addition to Crespo, Albany got strong games from Travis Charles, who had 19 points and six rebounds. Devonte Campbell and Greg Stire each added 11 points.

Albany's starters combined to score all but 10 of the 80 points.

"They play to their strength," said James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the Bulldogs. "They are looking to get the ball inside and are really smart. They know who they are."

Alex Copeland paced the Bulldogs with 17 points. Miye Oni added 15 points and first year Azar Swain scored a career-high 11 off the bench.

Yale had a 39-36 lead after a back-and-forth first half. The Great Danes, though, opened the second half with an 18-6 run, capped by a Cremo three-pointer. The lead grew to 16 before the Bulldogs staged a ferocious comeback.

Trey Phills's putback pulled Yale within four, 72-68, with 2:07 left. David Nichols then answered with a tough, pull up jumper in the lane to stretch the lead back to six. The Great Danes hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Albany, which has been to the post season in each of the last six years, shot 54.2 percent from the field.

"They got too many easy shots off of penetration," Jones said. "Our problem was getting stops at the defensive end."

Offensively, the Bulldogs had one cold stretch at the start of the second half that helped the Great Danes take the lead.

"I thought we had a lot of good, clean looks that just missed," Jones said.

Albany entered the game with a +15.5 rebounding margin. The Bulldogs limited the Great Danes to 11 offensive rebounds.

The game was a homecoming for Jones, a 1986 Albany graduate who also served as an assistant coach at Albany. Jones played for and coached under the legendary Dr. Richard Sauers, one of only a handful of collegiate coaches to win more than 700 games.

"I've been here enough that it is almost second nature," said Jones of the return to his alma mater. "I have a great deal of fond memories, and it was nice to have so many friends and family in the stands."

The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday when they host Curry College at 2 p.m. at the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity