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Great Danes Can’t Find Luck in Ireland

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The University at Albany men’s basketball team couldn’t pick up a win in Belfast this weekend, as they lost both of their games in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Ireland.

The Great Danes (2-6) lost to LIU Brooklyn 80-77 in the Samson Bracket semifinals on Thursday night, before losing Dartmouth 91-77 in the consolation game on Friday night.

“This was a wonderful tournament, and a tremendous trip for us. Hopefully we can learn from these two games and from this trip,” UAlbany coach Will Brown said.

The Great Danes arrived in Ireland on Nov 26, three days before their first game overseas. On Thursday, the rustiness from the overseas trip showed for both teams, as the first points of the game were not scored until over a minute into the game.

UAlbany had the lead going into the half against LIU, up 32-23, after a 16-5 run. But the rustiness was still there, as the team’s combined for shooting 15 of 57 from the field and 2 of 25 from three in the first half.

Ahmad Clark led the Great Danes with 13 points at the half and Adam Lulka had nine points off 4 of 5 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.

The second half went much better for both teams, as they found their scoring touch. UAlbany had their lead up to eight on two different occasions, but LIU eventually made their run, using a 10-0 run to take their first since 11:13 left in the first half to go up 73-71 with time running out. Clark tied the game at 73 with 2:59 left in the game.

LIU went up three after an and-one with 1:36 remaining. UAlbany trailed by two with 11.5 seconds left but turned the ball over in the in-bounds pass, setting up two free throws for LIU with 2.7 second left. The Blackbirds hit one of two and 80-77 proved the be the final score.

Clark lead the Great Danes with 24 points, Cameron Healy added 22, and Lulka had 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds. The Great Danes turned the ball over 26 times, leading to 26 points off those turnovers for LIU.

“I thought we played sloppy for 40 minutes. I thought LIU’s pressure, even though we were up at the half, bothered us the entire game. I think we had too many self-inflicted mistakes,” Coach Brown said. “I thought we put ourselves in a bad spot too many times. Give LIU credit, and you just hope we learn from it.”

In the consolation game against Dartmouth, the Great Danes fell behind big in the first half, and never could dig themselves fully out of the hole.

Dartmouth came out shooting lights-out, hitting nine of their first twelve three-pointers, while the Great Danes couldn’t hit a shot. Dartmouth went up 43-15 with 6:54 remaining in the first half and the game was all but over.

The Great Danes made runs of their own of 10-6 and 16-6 in the first half, but the deficit was too large, as Dartmouth went into halftime up 49-32.

The second half was much more even for both teams, but UAlbany couldn’t seem to make the run they needed up close the gap anymore. They cut the lead to 14 multiple times, but couldn’t get any closer. Dartmouth lead by as much as 22 in the second half, but couldn’t extend their second half anymore than that.

“It was a tough game for us obviously. I thought Dartmouth played extremely well. We were very poor on the defensive side, and they got in a good rhythm. That game was lost in the first half,” Coach Brown said. “I thought they played with a tremendous sense of urgency, and we were very passive, almost lethargic in the first half. Our team is not built to outscore teams so we really need to get things right on the defensive side of the ball.”

Healy lead UAlbany with 24 points, Clark added 23 points, and Adam Lulka finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Dartmouth had three players score over 20 points and shot 17 for 33 from three-point land.

Up next, the Great Danes take on Monmouth at the SEFCU Arena on Saturday, Dec. 8.

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