The UAlbany men’s basketball team left its penultimate game of the regular season in a familiar position: needing to bounce back.
On the road against SUNY rival Stony Brook, UAlbany fell 66-50 in an America East game that saw the Great Danes trail by a double-digit margin for the majority of the second half. UAlbany trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half, as its three-game winning streak was snapped at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Long Island.
“I think they just beat us at every facet of the game,” said UAlbany’s Jamel Horton, who led the Great Danes with 14 points.
Horton only made 6 of 17 shots, but nearly every UAlbany player had a tough night shooting the basketball as Stony Brook secured the regular-season sweep of the Great Danes. UAlbany made 19 of 64 shots from the field, including 8 of 30 from 3-point territory, and was out-rebounded 48-26 in a loss that knocked UAlbany from second place down to a three-way tie for third in the conference standings ahead of Tuesday’s matchup with Hartford.
It was certainly a costly loss for the Great Danes, who still haven’t clinched a top-four seed — and a home game to start the playoffs — in the crowded league standings. While Stony Brook (9-8 league, 17-13 overall) is ineligible for the playoffs, UAlbany (9-8, 13-16) is one of five postseason-eligible teams with either seven, eight or nine losses as the regular season heads into its final days.
More than how it affected UAlbany in the standings, first-year head coach Dwayne Killings said the Great Danes’ lackluster performance was what was “going to bother” him.
“Because, at my core, competing is really important — and there were some possessions where we just did not compete the way we’re capable of,” Killings said during Saturday’s postgame press conference.
Stony Brook led 31-24 at halftime, and out-rebounded UAlbany 25-10 in the opening 20 minutes. After halftime, UAlbany stayed within striking distance of Stony Brook for the first several minutes, but the Seawolves took advantage of a scoreless stretch of nearly five minutes from UAlbany to increase a 10-point lead to a 19-point one midway through the second half. From there, UAlbany was never closer than 13 points.
Stony Brook received 18 points and 12 rebounds from Tykei Greene, while Anthony Roberts and Jaden Sayles each contributed 15 points.
Besides Horton, only Aaron Reddish scored double-digit points — and five of the freshman’s 11 points were scored in the final minute.
Horton said the outcome was “extremely [disappointing], and it was a loss we couldn’t afford,” but also that he was confident the Great Danes would be ready to produce a much different type of effort Tuesday against Hartford at SEFCU Arena in Albany.
“We’re going to stick together. We’re a good team. That’s what gives me confidence,” Horton said. “I mean, I wouldn’t let this loss define who we are, you know what I mean? I know we’re better than that. Every guy in the locker room knows we’re better than that. So it’s all about how you respond, honestly. So Tuesday’s a big game for us.”