ALBANY — In the closing minutes of Wednesday’s 101-75 win against UMass Lowell, UAlbany men’s basketball redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy was within striking range of the program’s single-game scoring record.
“I knew he wanted it,” senior teammate Ahmad Clark said.
How was that?
“He came up to me, he was like, ‘Bro, I want it,’” said a smiling Clark, as Healy broke out into laughter sitting next to him during the post-game press conference. “I said, ‘I want you to score every time you get the ball.’”
“Yeah. That did happen. That did happen,” repeated Healy, glancing over toward head coach Will Brown, who had closed his eyes and started to shake his head. “But, more importantly, we were just trying to finish out the game the right way. Our defense was starting to slip in the end, so we were talking about that, too.
“It wasn’t all offense, Coach,” Healy finished.
But Healy’s offense carried UAlbany to a solid win at SEFCU Arena, as the 6-foot-3 guard did set the program’s single-game scoring record with 41 points, besting the record of 40 previously shared between Gary Holway and David Nichols. Healy made 13 of 23 shots from the field, 8 of 14 from 3-point territory, all seven of his free throws — and got a late-game layup to hang onto the rim before falling through for his record-setting final basket.
“I thought I missed it,” said Healy, who checked out of the game for good right after his final basket with 2:39 to go.
But Healy couldn’t miss for long stretches of Wednesday’s America East Conference game, one in which UAlbany (4-1, 11-9) shot 52.9% from the field as a team against a UMass Lowell (2-3, 8-12) squad that has allowed more than 100 points in each of its last two games.
“Shot the ball incredibly well and won the game outright,” UMass Lowell head coach Pat Duquette said of UAlbany, which was coming off a loss at Stony Brook. “I don’t think we had much of a chance.”
Later, Duquette added: “We never got them out of rhythm. We never took away those rhythm 3s.”
Especially for Healy, who has made a 3 in each of his 52 career college games. The guard had 19 points in the first half, then offered 22 in the second. After the game, he said it was "humbling" to set the school's single-game scoring record, and his coach appreciated the way the guard set the mark.
“I thought he did it in a very efficient way,” Brown said of Healy, whose previous career-high was 31 points. “He puts in the time. He puts in the work. So I’m happy for him.”
“We always get on him for not catching and shooting the ball because he shoots it so well and so efficiently,” said Clark, whose team next plays Saturday vs. Hartford.
UAlbany also received 15 points from Clark and a dozen from senior Romani Hansen, while UMass Lowell redshirt senior Christian Lutete had 21 on a night that saw his team trail 42-33 at halftime. UAlbany led by as many as 31 points in the second half.
Not long before halftime, UAlbany suffered its latest bit of bad luck with injuries. Sophomore Malachi de Sousa “tweaked” his ankle making a layup as he was fouled, and he did not return to action after leaving the floor without taking his free throw.
“Yeah. Not good,” Brown said of the injury for de Sousa.
While de Sousa’s status moving forward is unknown at the moment, his injury is the latest in a season filled with them for UAlbany, which shut down redshirt junior Jojo Anderson (knee) Monday for the rest of the season. Even more of the team’s backcourt minutes will go to Clark and Healy — the team’s two leading scorers on the season — with Anderson unavailable moving forward, and the Great Danes will need those players to continue to attack if they’re going to stay near the top of the conference standings.
“For me, the mindset’s always the same,” Healy said. “Just be aggressive — and they were falling [against UMass Lowell]. So stick to the game plan and keep shooting.”
Which, Clark said, the Great Danes need Healy to keep doing.
“We need him to score for us. We need him to be efficient,” Clark said. “This guy’s going to help us win a championship.”
Withers 5-6 0-0 10, Gantz 2-4 0-0 4, Lutete 7-15 4-7 21, Mitchell 2-6 0-0 5, Noel 7-15 3-5 19, Owens 1-4 0-0 3, Blunt 2-4 1-4 5, Thomas 3-5 0-0 8. Totals: 29-59 8-16 75.
Hank 0-0 0-0 0, de Sousa 2-5 1-2 5, Hutcheson 1-5 0-0 2, Clark 6-12 0-0 15, Healy 13-23 7-7 41, Lulka 1-2 4-4 6, Rizzuto 2-7 0-0 6, Hansen 5-5 2-4 12, Lauderdale 3-4 2-2 8, Doherty 0-0 0-0 0, Fruscio 1-2 0-0 2, Shafer 1-1 0-0 2, French 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 36-68 16-19 101.
Halftime score: UAlbany 42, UMass Lowell 33. Three-point shooting: UMass Lowell 9-21 (Lutete 3-6, Mitchell 1-4, Noel 2-6, Owens 1-2, Thomas 2-3), UAlbany 13-27 (de Sousa 0-1, Hutcheson 0-1, Clark 3-5, Healy 8-14, Rizzuto 2-5, Fruscio 0-1). Rebounds: UMass Lowell 24 (Withers 8), UAlbany 38 (Healy, Lulka, Hansen 7). Assists: UMass Lowell 16 (Blunt 4), UAlbany 19 (Clark 6). Turnovers: UMass Lowell 15, UAlbany 13. Total fouls: UMass Lowell 20, UAlbany 17. Attendance: 2,055.