Men's Basketball Hosts Yale
ALBANY, N.Y. – Riding a three-game winning streak, the University at Albany men’s basketball team welcome Ivy League opponent Yale to SEFCU Arena on Wednesday night for UAlbany’s annual Holiday Hooplah. The men will play in the second leg of a doubleheader with the UAlbany women’s team, who will tip off against FDU-Florham at 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 4 vs. Yale (7:30 p.m.)
Leading the Pack
- Head coach Will Brown has 299 victories at UAlbany
- Cameron Healy has hit a three-pointer in 40-straight games
- UAlbany leads the America East in assist/turnover ratio (1.20)
- Ahmad Clark leads the America East in assist/turnover ratio (1.60)
- Trey Hutcheson (.941) and Healy (.931) rank first and second in the America East in FT%
- Yale is UAlbany’s penultimate home opponent in 2019
- Both UAlbany and Yale have three-game winning streaks
Yale arrives at Wednesday’s game with a 6-3 overall record, that includes victories over America East rivals Stony Brook and Vermont, as well as a triple-overtime win against Crosstown Rival Siena. In four trips to SEFCU Arena since 2010, the Bulldogs are winless, and hold a 3-5 record in eight total meetings with UAlbany in that span. UAlbany won four of the first five meetings, with Yale winning two of the last three. The Bulldogs are led by a potent frontcourt duo in Jordan Bruner and Paul Atkinson, and just won the NIT Season Tip-off Orlando Bracket Championship. Yale was picked third in the Ivy League preseason poll, behind Harvard and Penn, but lost 2019 Ivy League Player of the Year Miye Oni, who is currently playing in the NBA for the Utah Jazz. Yale head coach James Jones is a graduate of UAlbany from the Class of 1986, and was an assistant coach for the Great Danes from 1990-95.
Last time vs. Yale
The Great Danes last played Yale in New Haven last season, falling to the Bulldogs 71-63. UAlbany opened the game on a 7-0 run, but fell behind by 10 at halftime after Yale closed the first on a 14-4 run. UAlbany opened equally quickly in the second, pulling within two after a 9-1 run, but despite four Great Danes scoring in double figures, Yale pulled away to in by eight. The Great Danes held the Bulldogs to just 4-14 shooting from three, and Yale shot just 9-22 from the free-throw line during the game.
Last time out
The Great Danes won their season-high third-straight game, defeating American University at SEFCU Arena 68-64. UAlbany trailed by as many as 19 in the first half, before storming back to take the lead in the second. The Danes fell behind again by as many as nine, before rallying a second time to claim a four-point victory. Cameron Healy and Antonio Rizzuto scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, with Rizzuto shooting 6-9 from the floor and 5-7 from three.
Around the America East
The Great Danes currently own the longest winning streak in the conference at three games. UAlbany’s run has moved them into third place in the conference standings. The Danes share a 5-3 overall record with 2018-19 America East finalist UMBC. Stony Brook has moved into a tie with Vermont for first place, with both teams sporting 6-3 records. Vermont last lost to Yale by 13 points on December 1.
Sophomore guard Cameron Healy started all 32 games for the Great Danes last season, and connected on a three-pointer in each of those 32 games. Through eight games this season, Healy has extended his made three-pointer streak to 40 games, tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the nation. The national leader is junior Mack Smith from Eastern Illinois, who has made a three-pointer in 56-consecutive games.
At 5-3 in 2019-20, head coach Will Brown has won 299 games at UAlbany, leaving him just two wins away from hitting the 300-win milestone. Since taking over as the Great Danes’ head coach during the 2001-02 season, Brown has won five America East titles, two America East regular-season titles, one NCAA Tournament victory, and guided his teams to seven 20-win seasons. Now entering his 19th season at the helm, Brown has averaged more than 16 wins per season, including high-water marks of 24 wins in three separate seasons.
Bobcats Invitational Wrapup
The UAlbany men’s basketball team arrived at the Bobcats Invitational, where they would play three games in three days at Quinnipiac University, with a 2-2 record. Leaving the tournament, the Danes were 4-3, holding a winning record for the first time all season after posting consecutive wins, also for the first time this season, to close out their three games. After falling to tournament host Quinnipiac, the Great Danes received career nights from Kendall Lauderdale and Antonio Rizzuto to defeat Sacred Heart, and then held off a stingy Presbyterian squad to finish the tournament 2-1.
For the first time in his career, sophomore Malachi de Sousa recorded a double-double. de Sousa scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Great Danes’ second game of the season, against Canisius. It was the first double-double for a UAlbany player since February 2019 when Cameron Healy went for 31 and 10 in his record-setting performance against Binghamton.
Sophomore guard Cameron Healy earned a spot on the America East Preseason All-Conference team. After averaging 16.0 points per game last season and setting program records for three-point shooting, Healy earned a spot on the America East All-Conference Third and All-Rookie Teams a year ago, while finishing as runner-up for America East Rookie of the Year. Additionally, senior guard Ahmad Clark was one of 50 players named to the Lou Henson Award Preseason Watch List, which recognizes the top mid-major player in the country.
For the second-consecutive season, the UAlbany men’s basketball team was picked fourth in the America East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, drawing 47 points to fall just behind Stony Brook’s 48 in third. Vermont was selected unanimously as the league favorite, marking the fourth-straight year the Catamounts have landed atop the preseason poll. UMBC received the lone remaining first-place vote in second place with 53 points.
Great Danes players set a handful of program records during the 2018-19 season. Freshman Cameron Healy set or tied single-game and single-season marks for three-pointers made and attempted, and broke Jamar Wilson’s freshman record for total points scored in a season with 512. Additionally, Ahmad Clark tied the program record for single game assists with 10 at Niagara, and set a Division-I era single-season program record with 63 total steals.
The Great Danes embraced the three-pointer last season, setting single-season program records for threes attempted (790) and made (274) in 32 games. Sophomore Cameron Healy led the charge, taking 251 threes and making 104, including 55 in conference play, all of which were individual single-season program records.
Freshmen become Sophomores
For four of the last five games last season, starting February 21 against Stony Brook and excluding Senior Night on February 27, the Great Danes started freshman at all five positions. The team started the season with freshmen at three starting spots, Cameron Healy, Adam Lulka, and Brent Hank, and moved to start four freshmen for the first time on December 20 against Manhattan when Antonio Rizzuto made his second career start. All five freshman who played starting roles at some point last season return to the squad this year, including Healy and Lulka who each started every game last season.
The Great Danes return nine players from the 2018-19 squad, including all five players who started at the end of the year. The most prominent departure was Devonte Campbell, who averaged 7.8 points and 4.8 rebounds last year, while earning America East All-Defensive Team accolades for the third time in his career. UAlbany returns each of its top five scorers, as well as two of its three most prominent bench players.
In August, UAlbany took a week-long trip to play exhibition games against five Canadian universities. The team played twice in Ottawa and three times in Montréal, ending the trip on a three-game winning streak against McGill University, Université du Québec à Montréal, and Concordia.
During the offseason, sophomore guard Antonio Rizzuto signed up to be a volunteer firefighter with the McKownville Fire Department. When he’s not otherwise occupied with basketball or school work, Rizzuto answers calls when a situation requires respondents. Rizzuto is an exterior firefighter, where he retrieves items from the trucks and hooks up the hoses to fire hydrants.
A point of pride for head coach Will Brown, each of his staff members holds a degree from the University at Albany. Each of his assistant coaches, Jon Iati, Josh Pelletier, and Jerrad Knotts, hold UAlbany degrees, as do his director of basketball operations Greig Stire and video coordinator Shane Hammill. Brown’s is the only staff in the country that can boast holding degrees from their coaching institution across the board. Iati, Knotts, and Stire all played for Brown during their collegiate careers. Further, entering their eighth season together, the Great Danes staff is tied for the second-longest tenured staff in the country. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins’ staff enters their eighth year together, while Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State enters their 10th.
The Great Danes announced three players, Ahmad Clark, Adam Lulka, and Nick Fruscio, to serve as team captains for the 2019-20 season. Clark and Lulka each enter their second-straight season as team captains, while senior Nick Fruscio was selected by his teammates to serve in his final year.
The Great Danes finished the 2010’s with a record of 188-148, the second-highest decade wins total in program history behind the 190 victories during the 1980’s. UAlbany also won 93 America East games in the 2010’s, and averaged nearly 19 wins per season in the last decade.
The Great Danes play each of the next two on the road, at Bucknell on December 7 and at ACC opponent Boston College on December 10. The Danes’ final home game of 2019 will be December 14 against Niagara, part of another double-header with the women’s team, who will play St. Francis Brooklyn.