Hope was fading inside Island Federal Credit Union Arena when the Stony Brook men’s basketball team was forced to foul NJIT’s leading scorer, senior guard Damon Lynn. The Seawolves were down three points with three seconds left in the game. After Lynn missed both free throws — improbable given his 84.9 percent make rate on the season — the ball ended up in senior guard Lucas Woodhouse’s hands, providing the team with a chance to tie.
“I knew I had to make it to the three point line and try and get a shot,” Woodhouse said. “But unfortunately it didn’t fall.”
In similar fashion to the recent game against Rutgers, the ball rimmed out on what appeared to be a good look. The missed shot attempt sealed NJIT’s 64-61 win over Stony Brook. It was the first time in six meetings that the Highlanders defeated the Seawolves. Stony Brook’s overall record falls to 4-8 on the season.
The game was a “tale of two halves,” according to head coach Jeff Boals. Both teams shot above 55 percent in the first half and under 32 percent in the second half. Stony Brook shot 62 percent from the field in the first half but found itself down four heading into the break.
Lynn, sophomore forward Abdul Lewis and senior guard Tim Coleman combined to score each of NJIT’s 38 first half points. Coleman got his team off to a hot start, converting each of his first four attempts from beyond the arc. However, Stony Brook’s defense zeroed in on Coleman and held him to just four second half points after scoring 16 in the first half.
“Coleman came out on fire,” Boals said. “He is not that good of a shooter, but when a kid gains confidence, that’s what he does. We really tried to lock in on him a little more in the second half and I think we did a good job.”
Lewis’ five first half offensive rebounds helped his team earn nine second chance points, which was partly the reason why Stony Brook was down at halftime. The Seawolves made a concerted effort to rebound the ball in the second half, pulling down 27 boards compared to the nine they managed in the first half.
While Stony Brook was strong defensively in the second half, holding NJIT to 32 percent shooting, offensively the team shot just 28 percent and was unable to capitalize on its late defensive push. The Seawolves went cold from deep missing each of its 13 three-point shot attempts in the second half, despite shooting over 42 percent from deep in the team’s last game.
“The games we’ve won we have knocked down some shots,” Woodhouse said. “When we hit outside shots it opens things up for our team. So unfortunately we didn’t hit them and that cost us.”
However, Woodhouse scored 19 points against the Highlanders, a career-high for the senior. Additionally, junior forward Jakub Petras contributed a career-high eight points and two blocks in the game.
In the end, Woodhouse’s last ditch shot did not fall and NJIT collected its sixth win of the season, improving its overall record to 7-8. Lynn finished with a game-high 26 points and Coleman finished with 20 enroute to the win.
Stony Brook lost its eighth non-conference game this season. It was the fifth game the team lost by five or less points this year.
“Seven games have come down to the last minute, getting a stop or a rebound when you need to,” Boals said. “We’ll get there.”
With one more non-conference game on the schedule, Stony Brook will head up to Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, Rhode Island to take on Brown on Dec. 31. Senior forward Steven Spieth is coming off a 27-point game against Maine and has helped his team win seven of its last eight games. Tip-off is at 2 p.m..