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UAlbany men's basketball cruises past Canisius

UAlbany men's basketball cruises past Canisius

Great Danes even record at 1-1
UAlbany men's basketball cruises past Canisius
Malachi de Sousa dunks during Wednesday's game.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

​ALBANY — His team won convincingly Wednesday night, so UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown could laugh a bit as he looked back on Saturday’s disappointing start to the 2019-20 season.  

“You hope you don’t need a wake-up call after your first game,” Brown said, “but it was a good wake-up call for us.”

Following a 74-70 loss against Lehigh that finished with a deceivingly close score, UAlbany thumped Canisius 83-57 Wednesday at SEFCU Arena. The Great Danes still had sloppy moments, but their energy was consistent throughout a game they never trailed.

“We put emphasis on defense because we didn’t really guard Lehigh at all, honestly,” UAlbany sophomore Malachi de Sousa said.

Canisius only shot 34.5% from the field, while the Great Danes showed they had received Brown’s message after the first game not to settle for long-range shots. After taking half of its shots from 3-point territory against Lehigh, UAlbany’s first three shots were taken from within several feet of the basket, and the Great Danes took 36 2s and 19 3s against Canisius.

“We forced up too many 3s, I think, that maybe weren’t good shots in the first game,” UAlbany redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy said.

Healy and senior Ahmad Clark led UAlbany with 20 points apiece, while senior Kendall Lauderdale had 11 points off the bench, and de Sousa had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Redshirt sophomore Adam Lulka had nine points and five rebounds, but the Great Danes were a team-best plus-37 during Lulka’s 29 minutes on the court.

Canisius received 19 points from junior Majesty Brandon. 

UAlbany (1-1) led Canisius (0-2) 35-24 at halftime after it made 16 of 28 shots, including 13 of 16 from 2-point range, in the opening 20 minutes. The Great Danes pushed their lead to 20 points after a Healy 3-pointer with 13:16 left in the game, and UAlbany maintained at least a 15-point lead from there. For the final 6:50, UAlbany led by at least 20 points.

In the days between Saturday’s loss and Wednesday’s win, Brown said the Great Danes “went to work.” At practices, “the whistles were popping” to correct mistakes and make sure the basics were followed.

“If we left our feet on a shot fake, boom, we ran,” Brown said. “If we [had] careless turnovers, we ran. If we didn’t cut the court in half, we ran. Quick 3s, we ran.”

Before Wednesday’s game, too, Brown said he switched up how the Great Danes handled their shootaround, which usually consists of stretching, shooting, and working through some defensive sets and late-game situations.

“Today’s shootaround was [more] like a practice. We competed for, probably, about 25 minutes live. First time we’ve ever done that since I’ve been a coach here, and I’ve been a coach here for a while,” said Brown, who is in his 19th season as UAlbany’s head coach. “I don’t know if that helped today or woke them up, opened their eyes — but these guys want to win. It’s my job to get them to understand what it takes to win, to put them in a position to win. It’s hard to win at this level.” 

Ahead of a Saturday matchup at Manhattan, UAlbany looked Wednesday like a team that had learned critical lessons from its first defeat.

“It’s amazing,” Brown said, “what losing does to you, right?”

CANISIUS

White 1-6 2-2 4, Hitchon 2-4 1-3 6, Ahemed 0-0 2-2 2, Johnson 3-12 1-2 9, Harried 0-2 0-0 0, Henderson 3-10 2-3 8, Fritz 2-4 3-4 7, Brandon 8-18 2-2 19, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, St. Louis 0-0 0-0 0, Hadzic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-58 13-18 57.

UALBANY

Lulka 3-6 3-4 9, de Sousa 5-9 0-0 10, Hansen 1-2 0-0 2, Clark 7-12 3-4 20, Healy 7-10 3-3 20, Rizzuto 1-2 0-0 3, Lauderdale 4-6 3-4 11,Hutcheson 2-2 2-2 6, Doherty 1-3 0-0 2, Shafer 0-0 0-0 0, Hank 0-1 0-2 0, Fruscio 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 31-55 14-19 83.

Halftime score: UAlbany 35, Canisius 24. Three-point shooting: Canisius 4-23 (Hitchon 1-3, Johnson 2-6, Harried 0-2, Henderson 0-6, Fritz 0-1, Brandon 1-5), UAlbany 7-19 (Lulka 0-1, de Sousa 0-2, Hansen 0-1, Clark 3-5, Healy 3-6, Rizzuto 1-2, Doherty 0-1, Fruscio 0-1). Rebounds: Canisius 24 (Fritz 6), UAlbany 34 (de Sousa 10). Assists: Canisius 12 (Johnson, Fritz 4), UAlbany 15 (Clark 4). Turnovers: Canisius 13, UAlbany 13. Total fouls: Canisius 17, UAlbany 18. Technical fouls: Canisius bench. Attendance: 1,808.

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