Danes seek an­swers

Brown says his young team lacks con­sis­tency after de­feat by Maine

Albany Times Union (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pete Dougherty Al­bany

Coach says young team lacks con­sis­tency after de­feat by Maine.

To the vic­tor goes the spoils and to the vic­tims a chance to ex­am­ine the car­nage.

An af­ter­noon start time Satur­day gave Univer­sity at Al­bany bas­ket­ball coach Will Brown plenty of time to eval­u­ate an un­ex­pected, if not stun­ning, 66-62 home loss to Maine.

Brown, in his 18th full sea­son in charge, used nine min­utes and one sec­ond to an­swer the first ques­tion — “Do you feel like this is an­other step back?” — at his postgame news con­fer­ence.

He of­fered plenty of in­sight after a loss against the bot­tom feed­ers of the Amer­ica East, a team that had only one pre­vi­ous Divi­sion I vic­tory and hadn’t won a game at SEFCU Arena since 2011.

“There’s no panic but­ton for me,” Brown said. “There’s prob­a­bly a lot of peo­ple think­ing, holy cow, what hap­pened to Al­bany? They lost to Maine. That’s a dis­credit to Maine. (First-year coach) Richard Bar­ron’s do­ing a good job. They’ve had some bad bounces.”

Ualbany (5-12, 0-2) was spared the dis­grace of a blowout loss with a late rally. Maine (3-15, 1-2) led by 16 with 2:40 to play be­fore the Great Danes went on an 11-0 run over the next 95 sec­onds.

“That’s how we’re go­ing to have to play ev­ery game for 40 min­utes,” said Ah­mad Clark, who led the Danes with 22 points. “We can’t come out re­laxed and think­ing we’re go­ing to win by scor­ing and not play­ing de­fense. We’ve got to play with a sense of ur­gency and de­fend and re­bound.”

If there isn’t a sense of ur­gency now, there should be.

Hav­ing ab­sorbed two con­fer­ence losses at home, Ualbany is on the road Wed­nes­day night at Umass-low­ell and next Satur­day af­ter­noon against Mary­land-bal­ti­more County. The Danes then re­turn home to face Stony Brook and Hart­ford,

two of the top three teams in the Amer­ica East.

“We’ve got to con­tinue to get bet­ter,” Brown said. “We’re go­ing to do some­thing ev­ery night that no other team in our league is go­ing to do, we’re go­ing to put four fresh­men in the start­ing lineup that are go­ing to eat up a lot of min­utes.

“Some days they’re re­ally good. Some days some of them are good. Some days they all strug­gle. That’s life. It’s us and Duke the only two teams that start four fresh­men, and Duke’s four fresh­men are prob­a­bly a tad bit more ad­vanced than our four fresh­men and a lit­tle more ex­pe­ri­enced.”

Cameron Healy is the only one of the five fresh­men

in the play­ing ro­ta­tion who is con­tribut­ing con­sis­tently. He had 15 points and no turnovers but has been a de­fen­sive li­a­bil­ity.

“Com­ing out of a time­out,” Brown said, “we’ve got four fresh­men look­ing at me, all do­ing this (nod­ding). We came out in what was sup­posed to be a 1-2-2 three-quar­ters-court pres­sure, and it looked like 1-2-1 and Cameron was get­ting a pret­zel at the con­ces­sion stand. I have no idea where he was or what he was do­ing.”

Fresh­man starters

Adam Lulka, An­to­nio Riz­zuto and Brent Hank com­bined for seven points in 72 min­utes. Malachi de Sousa had one point in seven min­utes off the bench. Clark, Healy and se­nior Devonte Camp­bell (nine points) ac­counted for 74 per­cent of the Danes’ scor­ing.

“We’re not go­ing to win games if Ah­mad and Cameron don’t get help of­fen­sively,” Brown said. “We scored 28 points in the first half. Say what you want about de­fense and all that, we didn’t score enough points.

“Lulka’s sim­ple. He’s pas­sive. That’s his per­son­al­ity, that’s his de­meanor. If you yell and scream at him, he smiles. He doesn’t get mad, he smiles. He needs to be ag­gres­sive. I’ve told him this, he guards him­self bet­ter than any­body.”

The Danes are on pace for their worst sea­son

since 2003-04, when they fin­ished 5-23 over­all,

3-15 in the Amer­ica East. They’ve had seven straight sea­sons of 19 or more vic­to­ries, but ex­tend­ing that streak is com­ing close to a math­e­mat­i­cal im­pos­si­bil­ity.

“If any­body’s go­ing to get us, you’d bet­ter get us right now,” Brown said. “We’re go­ing to be good, our fu­ture’s bright, but we’ve got to un­der­stand that we need more of a sense of ur­gency, got to stop the bleed­ing, got to start help­ing our­selves more than what we are.

“There’s times when we look like a well-oiled ma­chine, and there’s times we look like the Bad News Bears. There’s no in-be­tween. We just don’t have En­gel­berg whip­ping out a Snick­ers from his back pocket and chomp­ing on it dur­ing the game.”

Jenn March / Spe­cial to the Times Union

Ualbany guard Devonte Camp­bell takes a shot Satur­day among Maine de­fend­ers. Camp­bell scored nine points on 3-for-6 shoot­ing from the field.

Jenn March / Spe­cial to the Times Union

Maine’s Vin­cent Eze fouls Ualbany’s Ah­mad Clark on Satur­day. Clark led the Danes with 22 points.

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