ALBANY — A lot of missed shots.
And a missed opportunity.
On a night the UAlbany men’s basketball team could have seized control of its path to the No. 2 seed for the America East Conference playoffs, the Great Danes never led during a 69-50 win for UMBC in which the visitors at SEFCU Arena maintained a double-digit lead throughout Thursday’s second half.
“It’s very frustrating, but I don’t think we helped ourselves very much,” UAlbany redshirt sophomore Cameron Healy said. “We had a lot of turnovers to start the game, and that’s just kind of shooting yourself in the foot. They’re a team that likes to score off turnovers, and we pretty much just let them do that from the jump. So we need to do a better job of just taking care of the ball, and I think our shot selection didn’t help us either, especially at the start of the game.”
UAlbany missed six shots and had six turnovers before it scored its first points on free throws from Healy. Then, the Great Danes missed three more shots and added another turnover before senior Ahmad Clark made the team’s first field goal. After that, four more missed shots and another three turnovers followed before the Great Danes scored again, as UAlbany trailed 22-6 through the opening 13-plus minutes in which it had 25 possessions.
“I thought we lost that game in the first half,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “We didn’t make shots, and we settled. We’re not built to shoot 20 3s in a half.”
UAlbany nearly did that, making 3 of 19 shots from 3-point range in the opening 20 minutes that closed with the Great Danes down 35-22. UAlbany trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half of its most-lopsided loss of the conference season.
“Overall,” UMBC head coach Ryan Odom said, “we caught them on a good day. It was just one of those games that sometimes happens.”
Odom added: “I’m not taking anything, certainly, away from our guys, but that wasn’t an A-plus game for Albany, obviously. For us, we played really well, and sometimes that happens.”
With its loss to UMBC (6-6, 13-14), third-place UAlbany (7-5, 14-13) failed to capitalize on second-place Stony Brook’s loss Thursday to first-place Vermont. If the Great Danes had won their game, they would have been tied with Stony Brook, which visits SEFCU Arena later this month. It’s still possible for UAlbany to move up in the standings, but Thursday’s loss didn’t help that cause.
“Hopefully, now, we’re really hungry again,” Brown said.
Senior K.J. Jackson led UMBC with 21 points and six assists, while junior Brandon Horvath added 16 points and 14 rebounds. As a team, UMBC made 28 of 61 shots, while the Retrievers out-rebounded UAlbany 38-31 and had five fewer turnovers.
UAlbany only made 16 of 52 shots on a night that saw Clark and Healy, the team’s leading scorers this season, combine to miss their first 13 shots from 3-point territory. Clark finished with 18 points on 6 of 18 shooting overall, while Healy had six points on 1 of 10 shooting in his second game back for UAlbany after missing a contest with a hip/back injury.
Sophomore Antonio Rizzuto had 11 points for the Great Danes.
“It’s just one game,” Rizzuto said of UAlbany’s poor showing. “It’s over with now.”
“You can’t push the panic button,” Brown said. “We’ve been playing solid basketball throughout conference play.”
UAlbany plays Saturday vs. New Hampshire at SEFCU Arena.
“The good thing is, our guys should be excited to play again,” Brown said. “We don’t have to wait.”
Horvath 5-11 4-4 16, Akin 0-2 0-0 0, Owens 1-5 2-2 5, Jackson 10-15 1-1 21, Eytle-Rock 4-14 0-0 10, Spasojevic 8-11 0-0 16, Council 0-1 0-0 0, Kennedy 0-2 1-2 1. Totals: 28-61 8-9 69.
Hank 0-0 0-0 0, de Sousa 0-0 0-1 0, Rizzuto 4-10 0-0 11, Hutcheson 1-5 0-0 3, Clark 6-18 6-6 18, Lulka 1-4 0-0 2, Healy 1-10 3-4 6, Hansen 3-5 1-2 7, Lauderdale 0-0 3-4 3. Totals: 16-52 13-17 50.
Halftime score: UMBC 35, UAlbany 22. Three-point shooting: UMBC 5-16 (Horvath 2-4, Owens 1-3, Eytle-Rock 2-7, Kennedy 0-2), UAlbany 5-28 (Rizzuto 3-8, Hutcheson 1-3, Clark 0-7, Healy 1-9, Hansen 0-1). Rebounds: UMBC 38 (Horvath 14), UAlbany 31 (Hutcheson 9). Assists: UMBC 14 (Jackson, Eytle-Rock 6), UAlbany 8 (Clark 4). Turnovers: UMBC 13, UAlbany 18. Total fouls: UMBC 16, UAlbany 11. Technical fouls: Clark. Attendance: 1,893.