Men's Basketball Visits Manhattan
ALBANY, N.Y. – Opening the season 1-1 in two games at home, the University at Albany men’s basketball team plays its 2019-20 road opener at Manhattan on Saturday, the team’s second-straight MAAC opponent, and first of five games in and around the New York Metropolitan Area this season.
Saturday, November 16 at Manhattan (7:00 p.m.)
Leading the Pack
- Cameron Healy has hit a three-pointer in 34 consecutive games
- Healy has shot 11-11 from the line to start the season, and has made 12-straight dating back to the end of last season
- Malachi de Sousa recorded his first-career double-double against Canisius
- UAlbany ranks second in the America East in free-throw percentage (.760)
- UAlbany ranks ninth nationally in three-point defense (.205)
Manhattan enters Saturday’s game 1-0 overall with a victory over Delaware State in their season opener. Two Jaspers, Pauly Paulicap and Warren Williams, were each selected to the Preseason All-MAAC Third Team, while Manhattan was picked fifth in the conference. Manhattan returns 85.3% of their scoring from a year ago, and ranked 15th nationally in scoring defense last season. Since 2012, UAlbany and Manhattan have split their two meetings, both of which were played at SEFCU Arena. UAlbany won last season’s meeting 89-79.
Last Time vs. Manhattan
In the final non-conference home game of the 2018-19 season, the Great Danes hosted the Jaspers at SEFCU Arena just ahead of the December holiday break. Four UAlbany players scored in double-figures, led by Ahmad Clark’s 23 points. Clark shot 13-15 from the free-throw line and recorded six assists. Adam Lulka recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Jaspers forced 19 UAlbany turnovers, leading to 27 points, and Manhattan held further advantages in paint and bench scoring.
Last Time Out
After suffering a disappointing defeat against Lehigh in the season opener, UAlbany bounced back in a big way in game two against Canisius. The Great Danes opened the game on an 8-0 run and took an 11-point lead into halftime. UAlbany shot 55% or higher from the floor in both halves, while holding Canisius to 4-23 shooting from beyond the arc, and claimed a 26-point victory. Cameron Healy and Ahmad Clark each scored 20 points, while Kendall Lauderdale added 11, and Malachi de Sousa recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Around the America East
The Great Danes recorded their first victory of the season against Canisius, removing them from the ranks of the winless within the America East. Vermont and UMBC each remain undefeated at 3-0, while New Hampshire suffered its first loss in its latest game. Hartford has jumped into a tie for third with the Wildcats at 2-1. Binghamton continues to seek its first victory, having fallen to 0-3.
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 started all 32 games for the Great Danes last season, and connected on a three-pointer in each of those 32 games. Through two games this season, Healy has extended his made three-pointer streak to 34 games, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation. The national leader is junior Mack Smith from Eastern Illinois, who has made a three-pointer in 52-consecutive games.
At 1-1 in 2019-20, head coach Will Brown has won 295 games at UAlbany, leaving him just five 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.
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 eight 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 return to SEFCU Arena Tuesday, November 19 to face SUNY Potsdam. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.