Great Danes realize they must start cleaning up their act

The University at Albany must solve its turnover problem when it hosts New Hampshire today at SEFCU
PHOTOGRAPHER:

A familiar problem keeps plaguing the University at Albany basketball team.

“We’re a model of consistency,” said head coach Will Brown, whose Great Danes committed 21 turnovers in Thursday’s 58-47 loss at Stony Brook. “One of our main problems is that teams are denying Will Harris and Tim Ambrose the ball on the wings, and they’re not doing a good enough job of getting open. That’s leading to forced action and plenty of turnovers.”

The turnover problem is one of the main reasons why the Great Danes have a four-game losing streak — their longest since Nov. 21 through Dec. 6, 2006 — heading into a home game against New Hampshire at 2 today at SEFCU Arena.

Brown said the Great Danes are taking measures to stop the turnovers.

“[Friday] we started mixing in a couple of new sets that don’t involve getting the ball to the wing to initiate our offense,” he said. “That should take some pressure off Anthony Raffa and also some pressure off Ambrose and Harris. Hopefully, that will alleviate some of the pressure for all of us. They are just a few minor adjustments. Only time will tell if it works. The stuff looks great in practice, but we haven’t used it yet in games.”

Albany fell behind by 10 points to Stony Brook but then rallied in the second half and drew within two points, 41-39, with 7:16 left in the game. Albany was still within three points, 48-45, with about three minutes remaining, but the Seawolves ran off 10 unanswered points to pull away.

“We shot better than they did, and we outrebounded them, but the difference was all those points they scored off turnovers,” said Brown. “When you shoot between 40 and 50 percent from the floor, and you have 21 trips without scoring in a tight game, you’re not going to win.

“We are in the top half of the league in both defense and rebounding, but in the last three or four games, teams are getting easy layups against us because of the turnovers.”

After the Stony Brook loss, the Great Danes (5-7, 13-12) dropped from fourth to fifth place in the league standings. New Hampshire (4-7, 9-14) is seventh.

“We only have four games left in the regular season, yet we haven’t played New Hampshire yet. That’s mind-boggling,” said Brown. “Then we have to play them twice in 10 days. I’m not sure why it worked out that way. But New Hampshire is a dangerous team because of how many threes they shoot. If we guard their dribble-penetration and force them to make twos instead of threes, we’ll have a good chance to win.”

The Danes are relatively healthy, but Harris, who has been nursing a sore knee, picked up the flu on the way back from Stony Brook late Thursday night and didn’t practice Friday.

“He’s got that bug back, and he’s taking meds. Hopefully, he’s feeling better by game time,” said Brown.

Ambrose (13.8 ppg), Harris (13.0 ppg) and Raffa (10.5 ppg) are the top three scorers for the Great Danes. Senior forward Brian Connelly is next at 7.8 ppg.

New Hampshire is paced by Tyrece Gibbs, a 6-foot-3 senior who averages 13.7 points per game. He is also among UNH’s all-time leading scorers with 1,205 career points.

Alvin Abreu (12.4 ppg), Tyrone Conley (8.5 ppg), 6-5 Radar Onguetou (5.2 ppg) and 6-8 Dane DiLegro (5.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are other key players for UNH, which also has Eric Gilchrese (8.8 ppg) back after missing 13 games.

Categories: College Sports

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