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Clark stars, Brown picks up 300th win with UAlbany men's basketball

Clark stars, Brown picks up 300th win with UAlbany men's basketball

Great Danes top Niagara
Clark stars, Brown picks up 300th win with UAlbany men's basketball
Ahmad Clark drives toward the basket during Saturday's game.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

​ALBANY — Following a milestone win recorded on the strength of a sensational second-half shooting display, UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown’s players doused him with water in the team’s locker-room celebration at SEFCU Arena.

So Brown showed up at Saturday night’s post-game press conference after his team’s 84-80 win against Niagara in a soaking-wet shirt — and with a sore back since, somewhere in the excitement of that celebration, his youngest son Landon joined the fun with a water bottle sent right into dad’s back.

“He was just having fun. I don’t think he had any idea what everybody was cheering,” said Brown, smiling after his 300th win leading the Great Danes. “I just think he thought they were pulling a prank on me.”

It should have come, though, as no surprise that the tossed water bottle found its mark once it was launched. After halftime, UAlbany made its first seven shots as it quickly erased an 11-point halftime deficit, then the Great Danes kept up their high-level shooting to halt their losing streak at three games.

“A little of everything,” UAlbany senior Ahmad Clark said of what went so right for the Great Danes in the second half. “Energy. Effort. Focus.”

UAlbany made 73.9% of its shots in the second half, plus 16 of 19 free throws. Before cooling off a bit, the Great Danes made 14 of 17 shots to open the second half and connected on their first 11 foul shots.

“They came out with great energy,” Niagara head coach Greg Paulus said. “Whenever you shoot 74%, it’s typically because you’re getting a lot of shots around the rim and higher-percentage shots.”

Clark was the driving force behind that for UAlbany, a club that has only shot better than 50% from the field as a team twice in its first dozen games. The senior guard scored a game-high 26 points on 8 of 12 shooting, plus had eight assists and six rebounds.

“Clark did a really good job drawing fouls and creating opportunities for others,” said Paulus, whose players fouled Clark on nine different occasions.

UAlbany pulled away with a late 10-0 run highlighted by a go-ahead 3-pointer from freshman Trey Hutcheson on a broken play. Out of a timeout, Clark tried to dribble through a pair of Niagara defenders, but the senior lost control of the ball that then found its way to a wide-open Hutcheson.

“The ball just popped out right in front of me,” said Hutcheson, who scored a career-high 18 points. “Reached down, grabbed it, there was nobody in front of me — so I let it go.”

After that 3, the Great Danes then made five free throws to go ahead 81-73 and complete their 10-0 run. The first of those free throws after Hutcheson’s clutch 3 was granted to UAlbany after a technical foul was called on Niagara junior James Towns for the team’s second flopping violation of the game, a costly call in what was a three-point game with less than a minute to go.

“No thoughts,” Paulus said when asked about the play.

Besides big nights from Clark and Hutcheson, UAlbany received 16 points from redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy and 10 from sophomore Malachi de Sousa. The Great Danes played without starting guard Antonio Rizzuto (Achilles) in the victory, which saw them make 28 of 50 shots from the field.

Towns scored 25 points for Niagara, which dropped to 2-6 with the loss.

UAlbany evened its record at 6-6 with the win, while Brown secured his 300th win for a program he’s in his 19th season leading.

“My first couple years here, we took a lot of losses because we were trying to build a Division I programs,” said Brown, whose record at UAlbany includes 274 defeats. “So it’s nice to win 300 games.”

It was a special night for Brown’s players, too.

“I’m blessed. Been here for my third year now,” Clark said. “When I came in here, I knew how much of a great coach he was and how much of a great program this is. I’m just glad to be a part of it. I respect him and his family so much, and I’m just glad to be a part of his 300th win and we’re just trying to keep it going.”

UAlbany next plays Wednesday at St. John’s.

UALBANY WOMEN FALL

With a season-low scoring output, the UAlbany women’s basketball team fell 49-41 against St. Francis Brooklyn on Saturday at SEFCU Arena.

In a game that St. Francis led 4-3 after one quarter, UAlbany made 17 of 62 shots from the field, 5 of 25 from 3-point territory and committed 19 turnovers. UAlbany led 28-27 heading into the fourth quarter, but never led again after St. Francis tied the game with 9:40 left in regulation. UAlbany only trailed 45-41 with 37 seconds to go after a 3-pointer from Kyara Frames, but, from there, UAlbany missed its final five shots and St. Francis made four free throws to seal the win.

Patricia Conroy led UAlbany with eight points off the bench, while Khepera Stokes had seven. Each of UAlbany’s top-three leading scorers on the season struggled. Alexi Schecter had five points on 2 of 7 shooting, Frames had six points on 2 of 17 shooting and Amanda Kantzy scored six points on 3 of 14 shooting.

Frames had a dozen rebounds and four assists to lead the Great Danes in both categories.

For St. Francis, Nevena Dimitrijevic had 16 points.

The Great Danes dropped to 4-7 with the defeat and next play Friday at Bryant.

MEN

UALBANY 84, NIAGARA 80

NIAGARA

Kratholm 3-4 0-0 6, Roberts 3-5 0-0 9, Hammond 6-13 3-4 18, Solomon 5-9 6-6 17, Levnaic 0-1 0-0 0, Towns 9-15 4-4 25, Kuakumensah 1-5 0-0 2, MacDonald 1-5 0-0 3, Brown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-57 13-14 80.

UALBANY

Lulka 1-2 0-0 2, Hank 1-1 0-0 2, Hutcheson 6-10 3-6 18, Clark 8-12 8-9 26, Healy 4-8 5-5 16, de Sousa 3-7 3-3 10, Lauderdale 4-6 0-0 8, Hansen 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 28-50 19-23 84.

Halftime score: Niagara 40, UAlbany 29. Three-point shooting: Niagara 11-25 (Roberts 3-5, Hammond 3-6, Solomon 1-3, Levnaic 0-1, Towns 3-5, Kuakumensah 0-1, MacDonald 1-4), UAlbany 9-19 (Lulka 0-1, Hutcheson 3-5, Clark 2-3, Healy 3-6, de Sousa 1-3, Hansen 0-1).  Rebounds: Niagara 18 (Hammond, Solomon 4), UAlbany 29 (Lulka, Clark 6). Assists: Niagara 14 (Hammond 6), UAlbany 19 (Clark 8). Turnovers: Niagara 8, UAlbany 11. Total fouls: Niagara 23, UAlbany 13. Technical fouls: Towns. Attendance: 1,776.

WOMEN

ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN 49, UALBANY 41

ST. FRANCIS

Lassen 3-10 2-2 8, Jordan 5-11 0-0 10, Dimitrijevic 5-14 6-7 16, Fisher 0-5 0-0 0, Johnson 2-13 2-2 7, Anderson 3-5 0-0 6, Richardson 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 19-62 10-11 49.

UALBANY

Kantzy 3-14 0-2 6, Haegerstrand 2-7 0-0 5, Schecter 2-7 1-2 5, Frames 2-17 0-0 6, Stokes 3-5 1-2 7, Om 0-2 0-0 0, Decortes 2-3 0-0 4, Aslan 0-0 0-0 0, Conroy 3-7 0-0 8. Totals: 17-62 2-6 41.

St. Francis 4 10 13 22 — 49

UAlbany 3 12 13 13 — 41

Three-point shooting: St. Francis 1-13 (Dimitrijevic 0-3, Fisher 0-1, Johnson 1-8, Anderson 0-1), UAlbany 5-25 (Kantzy 0-4, Haegerstrand 1-3, Frames 2-10, Stokes 0-1, Om 0-2, Conroy 2-5). Rebounds: St. Francis 39 (Lassen 12), UAlbany 43 (Frames 12). Assists: St. Francis 9 (Johnson 4), UAlbany 14 (Frames 4). Turnovers: St. Francis 10, UAlbany 19. Total fouls: St. Francis 12, UAlbany 15. Attendance: 761.

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

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