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Loss ends puzzling week for UAlbany men's basketball

Loss ends puzzling week for UAlbany men's basketball

Brown: 'I’m going to go bald coaching this group'
Loss ends puzzling week for UAlbany men's basketball
UAlbany head coach Will Brown is shown during Saturday's loss.
Photographer: Michael Kelly

ALBANY — University at Albany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown made a prediction after Saturday’s 61-52 loss against Dartmouth at SEFCU Arena.

“I’m going to go bald coaching this group,” Brown said.

Oh?

“But, actually, I’m having fun coaching this group,” Brown continued. “You might not sense that, but I am because it’s a giant jigsaw puzzle. It’s a challenge.”

The jigsaw-like nature of that challenge was on full display in a week that saw UAlbany lose at Yale on Tuesday before losing a 16-point lead in Saturday’s defeat. In the Great Danes’ loss against Yale, UAlbany’s defense was particularly porous, leaving the focus in preparing for Dartmouth on that end of the floor.

And, so, promptly, UAlbany produced one of its best defensive efforts of the season . . . and coupled it with its worst offensive showing of the campaign.

“We,” UAlbany senior Devonte Campbell said, “just missed a lot of shots.”

Junior Ahmad Clark, who led UAlbany with 19 points, said he wasn’t sure what caused a game in which the Great Danes made 18 of 60 shots for a season-worst 30.0 percentage. Redshirt freshman Cameron Healy wasn’t sure, either.

“I wish I could tell you,” Healy said.

In six different stretches, UAlbany missed at least five shots in a row. Four of those spans came in the second half when the Great Danes made only 7 of 31 shots.

“That really sums it up,” Brown said.

UAlbany, though, started strong. The Great Danes led by as many as 16 points in the first half and scored 31 of their 52 points in the opening 14:41 of play.

Before scoring five points in the game’s final 20 seconds, though, UAlbany registered 17 points in the previous 24:59 of action.

“We took a few too many jump shots,” said Brown, whose team made 7 of 11 from 3-point distance to start the game, then missed all but one of its final 13 attempts. “We didn’t attack the rim enough and I thought we stood and watched Ahmad a little bit — too much — as well.”

Dartmouth (8-5) had beaten UAlbany (3-8) earlier this season during a tournament game in Northern Ireland. In that 91-77 win in late November, Dartmouth made 17 3s and had three players score at least 20 points.

Faced with a much different start to Saturday’s game, Dartmouth head coach David McLaughlin said his team’s goal was to get into halftime facing a single-digit deficit. UAlbany ended up leading 34-25 at the break, and Dartmouth viewed that as a success after its rough start.

“At halftime,” McLaughlin said, “there was no panic whatsoever.”

Dartmouth started the second half with a 20-8 run and led for the final 8:48. Leading Dartmouth were junior Brendan Barry and sophomore Chris Knight with 16 points apiece.

For UAlbany, Clark’s 19 points came on a day where he shot 8 of 19. Healy added 11 points, but shot 3 of 13.

The Great Danes were without redshirt freshman Brent Hank who started the team’s first 10 games. Brown said Hank suffered a “pretty bad quad contusion” in Friday’s practice and is day-to-day going forward. UAlbany next plays Tuesday at Providence before playing Thursday at home against Manhattan.

Dartmouth’s 61 points represented a season-low total for a UAlbany opponent. The Great Danes’ 52 points were also a season-low total for a team that previously had scored at least 61 points in every game.

“It’s a frustrating, but fun, group,” Brown said. “We’ve got to figure it out. We took steps forward today defensively, but it doesn’t get any easier. We’re running into Providence who is an NCAA [tournament] team on Tuesday, so we’ve got to get better these next couple days — and we will.”

DARTMOUTH

Knight 8-11 0-3 16, Jackson 1-4 0-0 2, Sistare 1-6 5-6 8, Foye 4-11 0-0 10, Barry 6-11 0-0 16, Emery 1-3 1-2 3, Samuels 0-0 0-0 0, Slajchert 0-2 0-0 0, Rai 1-5 4-5 6. Totals: 22-53 10-16 61.

UALBANY

Campbell 3-9 0-0 8, Lulka 1-8 1-2 4, Rizzuto 2-7 3-4 8, Clark 8-19 0-3 19, Healy 3-13 4-5 11, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, French 0-0 0-0 0, Lauderdale 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 18-60 8-14 52.

Halftime score: UAlbany 34, Dartmouth 25. Three-point shooting: Dartmouth 7-24, UAlbany 8-24. Rebounds: Dartmouth 45 (Knight, Sistare 9), UAlbany 32 (Lulka 6). Assists: Dartmouth 15 (Foye, Barry 5), UAlbany 7 (Campbell, Rizzuto 2). Turnovers: Dartmouth 11, UAlbany 5. Total fouls: Dartmouth 18, UAlbany 16. Attendance: 1,740.

Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.

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