UAlbany BKB: Turnovers cause Danes’ downfall

In order to snap a three-game losing streak tonight at Stony Brook’s Pritchard Gymnasium, the Un­ive
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In order to snap a three-game losing streak tonight at Stony Brook’s Pritchard Gymnasium, the Un­iversity at Albany must value the basketball.

Even when the Great Danes shoot well, as they did in an 88-75 defeat at Binghamton Monday night, Albany loses too many possessions with costly turnovers. The Danes shot 50 percent against the Bearcats, yet they turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 26 Binghamton points.

“We can’t afford to have that,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown, whose Danes have dropped to 5-6 in the America East Conference and 13-11 overall. Stony Brook is also 5-6 and 13-11.

Although the records are the same, Brown says Albany and Stony Brook are different types of teams.

“Stony Brook is a pretty good team, and they play hard, but in my mind, the biggest difference is that they don’t turn the ball over much. They get a shot most of the time down the floor, and they don’t have careless turnovers.”

In the first meeting between Albany and Stony Brook at SEFCU Arena last month, Stony Brook won, 58-45.

“That was another game where Tim Ambrose didn’t play much because of foul trouble. I think Timmy got five fouls in 15 minutes, and Will Harris was hurting. We just fell apart in that game,” Brown said.

“The problem, though, is that our turnovers lead directly to baskets for the other team. They are careless and lazy turnovers that lead to dunks and layups for the other team. If a team isn’t shooting well against you, the turnovers help them get

going. If a team is shooting well against you, then when you turn the ball over, it gets them in an even better rhythm with easy transition baskets, and it can be demoralizing.

“It’s not a knock on our kids. But our biggest weakness has been that we don’t have a very good basketball IQ as a team. That takes a lot of time to develop, where you have to break a lot of bad habits. Sometimes, you don’t develop it at all. That’s why I get so frustrated.

“As a coach and a former player, I take those things for granted. When somebody does something on the floor like throw a poor pass, you don’t know why they do it. What we’re trying to develop on this team is a greater basketball IQ and a better appreciation for the game. We’ve got five games to do it before the America East Conference tournament.”

Stony Brook tops the America East Conference in scoring defense at 62 points per game. Junior Muhammad El-Amin, a transfer from Lansing (Mich.) Community College, is seventh on the league scoring chart at 15.3 ppg. Freshman Bryan Dougher adds 11.6 ppg, and has 58 three-pointers. Tommy Brenton, a 6-5 freshman, contributes 7.3 points and 9.3 rebounds, best in the league. Chris Martin and Demetrius Young each average eight points a game.

Ambrose, a 6-0 sophomore guard, has scored 29 and 28 points, respectively, in his last two games, and tops the Danes in scoring at 13.8 ppg. Harris (13.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and freshman point guard Anthony Raffa (10.8 ppg) are Albany’s other key players.

“I’m not as concerned that we lost three games in a row as I am with how we lost those games,” said Brown. “The teams we lost to are first, second and third in the league. We were flat in the first half in all three games, but in two of those games, against Boston University and Vermont, it was a one-possession game with two minutes left. The Binghamton game was rather disturbing because of the turnovers.”

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