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'Ugliest game of the year' awaits UAlbany men's basketball at Manhattan

'Ugliest game of the year' awaits UAlbany men's basketball at Manhattan

Great Danes are 1-1
'Ugliest game of the year' awaits UAlbany men's basketball at Manhattan
Ahmad Clark is shown during Wednesday's game.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

​ALBANY — A bounce-back performance Wednesday left UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown encouraged with his team’s potential for the 2019-20 season. 

“The game honors toughness,” Brown said after Wednesday’s 26-point win against Canisius, which followed a disappointing loss against Lehigh. “If you play tough, you have a chance to win. Lack of toughness, you’ve got no shot.”

That’s especially true for the Great Danes against their next opponent, as UAlbany visits Draddy Gymnasium to take on scrappy Manhattan at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“They play differently than any team on our schedule,” Brown said. “They’re going to play that funky zone for 40 minutes and they’re physical. They foul every possession, and you can’t call fouls every possession.”

Brown added: “So ball security is going to be huge for us and we’ve got to get to the free-throw line. We can’t allow that zone to force us to launch 3s.”

By its own choosing, UAlbany launched 3-pointers in its opening loss, as the Great Danes took half their shots from 3-point territory against Lehigh. Against Canisius, UAlbany made a concerted effort to attack the basket, and took 36 of its 55 shot attempts from 2-point range.

That type of approach needs to stay with the 1-1 Great Danes when they play 1-0 Manhattan.

“We’ve got to attack the lane and create for others,” UAlbany sophomore Malachi de Sousa said. “If it’s an open 3, shoot it, but, other than that, we’ve got to try to attack the lane.”

And the Great Danes need to embrace what kind of game awaits them at Draddy.

“This,” Brown said, “is going to be the ugliest game of the year. Manhattan’s biggest strength — and I think this is a compliment to coach [Steve] Masiello is how hard they play. They play like every possession is for the national title.”

Manhattan was picked fifth in the MAAC preseason’ coaches poll, one spot ahead of Siena. Manhattan’s Pauly Paulicap and Warren Williams were each preseason All-MAAC third-team selections.

“We need to be ready for a battle,” Brown said.

UAlbany topped Manhattan 89-79 last year.​​​

WOMEN FACE SYRACUSE

The UAlbany women's basketball team travels to Syracuse to take on the 20th-ranked Orange at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

The two teams last met in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament where the Orange defeated the Great Danes 76-59.

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