ALBANY — It was a disappointing start, and they knew it.
The Great Danes get their chance 7 p.m. Wednesday back at SEFCU Arena to show they’ve learned from the mistakes they made in their season-opening loss last weekend to Lehigh. Those miscues were numerous for the UAlbany men’s basketball team, but nearly all of them came back to the same thing.
“I thought we reverted back to six to eight weeks ago, where every play somebody was trying to hit a home run,” head coach Will Brown said after his team’s 74-70 loss to Lehigh. “Everybody was trying to make the great play.”
Against Canisius on Wednesday night, the Great Danes need to make simple ones — and to play with an urgency from the game’s start. UAlbany only lost by four points in its opener, but needed a late-game run to get the score close after trailing by double-digits for a large chunk of the game.
While redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy played well against Lehigh, most of his teammates struggled. Healy scored 21 points on 5 of 12 shooting, while the remaining Great Danes scored 49 points on 14 of 46 shooting. Only senior Ahmad Clark and sophomore Antonio Rizzuto added double-digit scoring efforts for the Great Danes with 11 and 12 points, respectively.
Brown didn’t like his team’s offensive approach for much of the game. UAlbany ended up taking 31 free throws to Lehigh’s 15, but the Great Danes took 28 of their free throws after halftime. For much of the game, UAlbany was content to fire away from 3-point range.
“Half our shots were 3s,” said Brown, whose team only made 8 of 29 from downtown.
A bright spot for UAlbany was freshman Trey Hutcheson, a perimeter player competing despite needing a brace to support a finger in which he tore tendons on his left hand. Hutcheson ended up with six points, two rebounds and two assists in 15 minutes, most of which came down the stretch.
“The thing about Trey is he’s rock-solid,” Brown said. “He’s not going to [try to] do anything that he’s not capable of doing.”
Like UAlbany, Canisius heads into the matchup with an 0-1 record. Canisius lost to Brown 75-68 in its opener, a game in which senior Malik Johnson scored 24 points and had nine rebounds, five assists and four steals in 40 minutes.
Canisius was picked to finish seventh in the MAAC this season, while UAlbany was picked fourth in the America East. After playing Canisius, UAlbany plays Saturday at Manhattan, a squad picked to finish fifth in the MAAC.