After latest loss, a ‘heart-to-heart’ conversation for UAlbany men’s basketball

UAlbany men’s basketball during practice at UAlbany SEFCU Arena in Albany on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
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UAlbany men’s basketball during practice at UAlbany SEFCU Arena in Albany on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

 

A lengthy team meeting followed the UAlbany men’s basketball team’s 71-52 non-conference loss Tuesday at Yale, a locker-room session that Great Danes guard Jamel Horton described as a “heart-to-heart” conversation between coaches and players.

“Player to player, coach to coach, coach to player, player to coach — everyone just getting things off their chest that they feel needs to be heard and needs to be adjusted,” Horton said. “A lot of it is looking in the mirror.”

It wasn’t until approximately an hour after Tuesday’s loss that members of the Great Danes took questions from media members. First-year head coach Dwayne Killings said the locker-room talk was UAlbany’s version of a “state of the union,” and a necessary one after the team’s issues on the offensive end of the court have only seemed to get worse as the season has gone alone.

“To our guys’ credit, I thought we had a really good, open, honest community just now in our locker room after the game, just about where we’re at and how do we get out of the space that we’re in,” Killings said.

Through eight games, where are the Great Danes at?

“If you look at all of our games, I think there’s spots in the games that we do some really good things,” Killings said.

But?

“We can’t string it together,” Killings said, “and we can’t do it consistently enough.”

Playing against the preseason Ivy League favorite, UAlbany (1-7) made 37.3% of its shots from the field and 6 of 17 from 3-point territory. Yale — at 39% — didn’t shoot much better than UAlbany, but made 10 of 29 3s, attempted eight more free throws and committed five fewer turnovers than the night’s visitors.

UAlbany actually had a relatively solid second half. After making 8 of 25 shots and shooting 1 of 9 from 3 in the first half, the Great Danes were 11 of 25 from the field and 5 of 8 from 3-point territory in the second half. Much of the Great Danes’ second-half positives, though, came during a 13-0 run after Yale (6-5) had taken a 56-31 lead.

August Mahoney, a guard from Saratoga Springs who graduated from Albany Academy, snapped that UAlbany run with two of his 13 points. Azar Swain led Yale with 21 points, while Matthue Cotton added 13.

For UAlbany, which trailed 30-19 at halftime and by as many as 25 points in the second half, Jamel Horton had a team-high 11 points. The Great Danes had no other double-digit scorers on a night that saw them commit 19 turnovers and produce only nine assists.

Killings said there were too many possessions Tuesday that ended with UAlbany “going 1 on 1” and “going off-script,” and that was one of his key topics during the team’s post-game meeting.

“We can’t play like that,” said Killings, whose team is averaging 57.1 points per game this season.

UAlbany next plays Saturday against Columbia at SEFCU Arena, a contest that serves as the Great Danes’ “Big Purple Growl” game. Horton said the Great Danes need to grow from their loss at Yale, and be ready to bounce back against another Ivy League foe.

“We’ve got to keep looking forward,” Horton said. “We can’t keep dwelling on losses. Eventually, we’ve got to get it together. We don’t live in losses; that’s how you adapt a losing culture.”

“There’s a lot of things we have to figure out,” Killings said.

Categories: College Sports, Sports

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