ALBANY — Ahmad Clark headed into Saturday’s game dealing with a back injury, a strain that’s made life difficult for the UAlbany men’s basketball senior guard for more than a week.
UAlbany’s 76-70 America East Conference win at SEFCU Arena against Maine?
Yeah, it did little to help the healing process.
In the win, Clark set single-game program records for free throws made and attempted with 19 and 24, respectively, as part of a 29-point effort in which he was fouled 17 times. Clark broke free-throw records that belonged to Brian Lillis, who made 16 of 18 foul shots in a March 2008 game.
“I’m beat up a little bit, but I’m glad we got the win,” said Clark, who also had seven rebounds and four steals. “That’s all I’m worried about. I’ll get treatment [Sunday] with [assistant athletic trainer] John [Sylak], and I should be fine.”
According to sports-reference.com’s database, no player this season — through Friday’s action — had made or taken as many free throws in a game as Clark did Saturday against Maine.
While Clark was fouled the most and took the most free throws in Saturday’s matchup, the game included many more whistles than the ones constantly sending the UAlbany senior to the foul line. While the Great Danes were called for 20 fouls, Maine was called for 35 fouls — which is the most this season for a team in a game that ended after regulation, according to sports-reference.com. The only team to be called for more fouls in a game this season was Milwaukee, which committed 42 fouls in a triple-overtime loss to Western Michigan back in November.
Beyond Clark’s individual program records, UAlbany also set program records for made free throws with 36 and attempted foul shots with 47. Previously, UAlbany’s program record for made free throws was 35 — it did that twice — and its record for attempted free throws was 44, which it set two years ago at Maine.
UAlbany’s 47 foul shots were the fifth-most in a game this season, and second-most in a game that ended in regulation. Its 36 made free throws was the second-most for a game that ended after regulation, and third-most overall this season, according to sports-reference.com.
“I don’t know if it was entertaining or not,” Maine head coach Richard Barron said. “It certainly was a game that was determined at the free-throw line. I mean, 47 free throws — I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
UAlbany head coach Will Brown said he “knew it was going to be a physical game,” and he liked the way his team stayed aggressive against the Maine defense to continue to draw whistles.
But . . .
“There was no flow to the game,” Brown said. “It was an ugly game.”
But it was one UAlbany won, a game the Great Danes seized control of midway through the second half after Maine moved ahead 47-46 with 11:21 to go. After UAlbany (2-0, 9-8) fell behind Maine (0-3, 4-13), the Great Danes put together a 24-7 run; from there, UAlbany maintained at least a two-possession lead.
“I thought we stopped playing a little bit and I don’t think we executed to our capabilities,” Brown said of how Maine ended the game within six points after the Great Danes had built their lead to as many as 16. “We allowed them to get back in the game, and a lot of that was self-inflicted.”
In UAlbany’s third win in a row, freshman Trey Hutcheson scored all 15 of his points in the second half, while redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy added 11 points despite struggling with his shot. Healy, shooting 37% from 3-point territory this season, made 1 of 9 long-range attempts against Maine.
For Maine, redshirt junior Nedeljko Projovic scored 26 points.
Clark finished one point shy of his career-high. The guard — who was on the receiving end of a second-half flagrant foul by Maine senior Andrew Fleming — said his mindset entering Saturday’s game was to attack whenever possible.
“They’re a bigger team, [a] slower team, so I tried to speed up the tempo a little bit today, but try to remain under control like coach Brown and the coaching staff [have] been trying to get me to do my whole career here,” Clark said.
UAlbany next plays Wednesday at New Hampshire.
Fleming 3-7 1-2 9, Prijovic 9-16 3-5 26, Antoms 0-2 0-0 0, El Darwich 4-12 5-6 14, Wright-McLeish 0-2 2-2 2, Larsson 1-4 1-2 3, Okoh 1-3 0-1 2, Stumer 2-8 0-0 6, Yagodin 0-2 0-0 0, Ingo 1-1 0-0 3, Iluyomade 2-2 0-0 5. Totals: 23-59 12-18 70.
Hank 1-2 3-4 5, de Sousa 2-5 0-2 4, Hutcheson 5-9 3-3 15, Clark 4-11 19-24 29, Healy 3-12 4-5 11, Rizzuto 0-0 4-4 4, Lulka 1-4 2-3 4, Anderson 1-2 1-2 4, Hansen 0-1 0-0 0, Lauderdale 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-46 36-47 76.
Halftime score: UAlbany 36, Maine 32. Three-point shooting: Maine 12-36 (Fleming 2-6, Prijovic 5-11, Wright-McLeish 0-2, El Darwich 1-5, Larsson 0-1, Okoh 0-2, Stumer 2-6, Yagodin 0-1, Ingo 1-1, Iluyomade 1-1), UAlbany 6-24 (de Sousa 0-3, Hutcheson 2-5, Clark 2-5, Healy 1-9, Anderson 1-2). Rebounds: Maine 33 (Fleming, Antoms, Larsson 5), UAlbany 34 (Hutcheson 8). Assists: Maine 15 (El Darwich 4), UAlbany 10 (de Sousa 4). Turnovers: Maine 17, UAlbany 13. Total fouls: Maine 35, UAlbany 20. Fouled out: El Darwich, Wright-McLeish, Rizzuto. Attendance: 1,885.