ALBANY — With only a day between games, the UAlbany men’s basketball team didn’t spend much time Friday looking back at what went wrong in Thursday’s disappointing loss to UMBC.
That was fine, too, since there wasn’t a whole lot of mystery to what led to a 69-50 America East Conference defeat for the Great Danes on their home floor.
“We know what we did wrong,” UAlbany senior guard Ahmad Clark said after Friday’s practice. “We didn’t play hard enough and didn’t make enough shots. No need to dwell on it.”
“You’ve just got to put it behind you, and learn from it,” UAlbany sophomore Malachi de Sousa said. “We’re not going to shoot that poorly too often.”
Off one of its worst offensive showings of the season, UAlbany (7-5, 14-13) hosts New Hampshire (5-7, 12-13) at 7 p.m. Saturday at SEFCU Arena. While New Hampshire spent its Thursday night earning an overtime win against Hartford, UAlbany missed out on a chance to move into a tie for second place with Stony Brook on a night the Great Danes simply didn’t have it. UAlbany scored six points on its opening 25 possessions, and didn’t make its first field goal until it had already missed nine shots and committed seven turnovers.
“If I’m [playing] on this team, I want to fast-forward to [Saturday] night,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “I’m anxious to play. I’m ready to go.”
New Hampshire, too, will be ready for its chance to earn a split of its regular-season series with UAlbany. The Great Danes trailed by one point in the final seconds of that game, but sophomore Antonio Rizzuto stole an inbounds pass and converted a layup with 3.1 seconds left in overtime to put UAlbany ahead for good in a game it won 76-73.
Rizzuto said there’s motivation for the Great Danes from that game, too.
“We shouldn’t really have won the last game at UNH, so we still owe them one here,” Rizzuto said after Thursday’s loss.
With four games left in its regular season, UAlbany is in third place. The Great Danes are a game behind Stony Brook, while they are a half-game ahead of Hartford — which beat UAlbany twice — and one game ahead of UMBC. A win Saturday keeps UAlbany on track to host a postseason quarterfinal matchup, while a loss likely leaves the Great Danes with plenty of work to do in their quest to play their first playoff game at SEFCU Arena.
Standings, though, aren’t Brown’s primary concern. Especially after an effort like the one his team delivered Thursday, Brown said that night his top concern for his team’s game against New Hampshire was for UAlbany to get back to playing like its usual self on offense.
“We need to have a more aggressive mindset,” Brown said.