By Edwards Kemedjio
The UAlbany Great Danes took the floor for the last time at SEFCU Arena this season, falling to the Stony Brook Seawolves for the second time in a close game by a score of 52-49.
It was senior night for the Great Danes. Captains Nick Fruscio and Ahmad Clark were honored before the game. With them were Romani Hansen, Kendall Lauderdale, and Sasha French.
“I’m just blessed to be here,” said Clark. “I’m glad I got to do it with this university.”
All five of the seniors got the starting nod, the first one for Albany product Nick Fruscio.
“I have the utmost respect for Coach Brown,” said Stony Brook coach Geno Ford. “He did a great thing for some guys who had their families in the stands.”
The game itself was back and forth throughout. An Ahmad Clark jumper put the Great Danes up one at the half. No team led by more than eight. The teams were deadlocked at 45 with a minute left when a defensive miscue led to Seawolves guard Miles Latimer hitting a three to put them up for good.
“The plan all night was to live with Gueye taking the shot,” said UAlbany coach Will Brown after the game. “The one time we didn’t do it all night and it burned us.”
It was a tough loss for the Great Danes, as their late-season skid has now reached four games, and they have now lost six of the last eight games they’ve played.
“I thought it was a hard-fought, competitive game,” said Coach Brown. “I just feel for our seniors because it was senior night and you always want them to go out with a win.”
The UAlbany shooting was once again an issue. For the third straight time at SEFCU Arena, the Great Danes failed to shoot over 36% from the field or 25% from three. The team shot 5-22 from distance on Saturday. Seniors Romani Hansen and Ahmad Clark were the lone producers in the game, combining for 32 points and 17 rebounds. Hansen had his best night of the season with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Cameron Healy, who at one point was the Great Danes leading scorer, has like so many other players been hampered by injury and only registered one made field goal. Forwards Malachi De Sousa and Trey Hutcheson seem to have it a similar wall, neither making a field goal on the night.
“I think we’ve hit 100 games missed because of injury,” said Coach Brown. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The message in the locker room is a positive one though. Clark spoke on the player’s mentality going forward as they approach the American East tournament.
“Just keep pushing, stay positive, we’re not going to give up,” he said. “Every game we look to win. We’re just building, trying to get better and ready for the conference tournament.”
The Danes look to finish the season strong heading into the conference tournament when they take on Vermont on the road on Tuesday.