Amid blizzard-like conditions in Central Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team took solace in a wood house.
No, not Saint Francis University’s 3,500 seat DeGol Arena — for that is made of brick, not wood.
Instead, the Seawolves found comfort in their 6-foot-3 senior guard, Lucas Woodhouse, who seemed to do everything in his power to propel Stony Brook to a 75-63 victory over Saint Francis.
Woodhouse tied for the team-best with 17 points in the contest, and he led outright with nine rebounds and nine assists. Behind the performance of their point guard, the Seawolves never trailed the Red Flash in the game, snapped a two-game losing streak and improved their overall record to 4-7 this season.
For Woodhouse, once the nation’s fifth-ranked assist man as a sophomore at Longwood University, the nine assists marked his highest total since transferring to Stony Brook three years ago.
One player whose scoring was facilitated by Woodhouse’s passing efforts was junior forward Junior Saintel, who notched 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
Saintel made his first start in seven games for the Seawolves — in place of freshman Akwasi Yeboah, who the team called “day-to-day” after a minor injury against Hofstra on Tuesday — and did not waste the opportunity, putting up his strongest game of the season.
Making use of his gaudy 47-inch vertical leap, as measured in preseason workouts, Saintel threw down four slam dunks, two of which came on alley-oop passes from Woodhouse. On the defensive end, he blocked four shots; his athleticism was too much for the home team to handle.
Fifty percent of Stony Brook’s scoring came from beyond the three-point stripe, where the team made 12 of 28 shots. Junior guard Bryan Sekunda buried the most, draining five in the game.
Playing 60 miles southwest of his hometown State College with his family in attendance, Sekunda scored a season-best 17 points. During one 65-second stretch in the second half, the junior went on a 11-0 run all on his own, expanding the Seawolves’ lead from five to 16, tying the largest margin of the game.
Saint Francis — ranked ninth in the preseason Northeast Conference coaches’ poll — out-rebounded Stony Brook, 41-39, in the game, led by freshman guard Kevin Braxton’s 19.
The Red Flash, however, could not overcome a slow start, as the Seawolves began the game on a 35-19 run. Saint Francis made several runs at a comeback but never cut the lead within five points.
Stony Brook will now have an 11-day recess without any games before returning to Island Federal Credit Union Arena after Christmas for a Dec. 28 meeting with NJIT. One year ago, the Seawolves defeated the Highlanders, 83-61.