Despite scoring 20 points in Thursday’s win against New Hampshire, junior forward Tyrell Sturdivant was bottled up by Albany’s interior defense and did not score until midway through the second half of Sunday’s game against the Great Danes. But the Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s second leading scorer answered the call at the final second of the game, cutting to the basket for a game-winning layup.
Sturdivant’s shot sent the Island Federal Credit Union Arena crowd into a state of pandemonium. It was the first and only time Stony Brook held a lead in their 72-70 win. The Seawolves had trailed their conference rival by 21 points with only 7:02 remaining, but their will never wavered. The game-winning shot capped a 25-2 Stony Brook run and solidified a 72-70 victory over Albany. The Seawolves improve to 2-0 in conference play and are currently tied for first in the America East Conference standings.
“[Senior guard] Luke [Woodhouse] just found me on a good pass, I cut and I finished,” Sturdivant said following the game. “It probably won’t hit me until tomorrow, but it was crazy.”
While Sturdivant finished the 25-2 run, it was Woodhouse who was the driving force of the comeback. The team’s leading scorer scored 10 of his 21 points, a team high, in the final five minutes of the game. Woodhouse hit three three-point shots on fast breaks, demonstrating his evolution into a transition three-point shooter, rather than one who catches and shoots.
Stony Brook scored just 24 points in the first half, the same amount of points that Albany had in the paint in the period.
With the team desperately searching for someone to get hot to even attempt a comeback, its captain showed up when it mattered most.
“We were a bit nervous when we were down by 21,” Woodhouse said. “But we kept fighting and came out with the win.”
At halftime, Boals referenced Nevada’s historic comeback against New Mexico on Saturday after the team was down 25 points. He told his players that this was their Nevada moment.
Albany was successful using a trap defense to hinder Stony Brook from gaining a rhythm on offense. In the second half, Stony Brook fought fire with fire by using a trap defense and pressing on inbound passes. The Great Danes could not get comfortable in the second half. Eight of Albany’s 19 turnovers came in the final eight minutes amidst a 25-2 Stony Brook run.
“The fact that we have been in so many close games, our guys didn’t panic,” Boals said. “Our guys had a lot of confidence down the stretch and made some big time plays.”
Two games into conference play, Stony Brook has defeated UNH and Albany who were ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll respectively. Both games were decisive, but the Seawolves battle-tested unit showed persistence by shutting the door on both opponents putting the America East on notice.
Stony Brook will look to extend its two game conference winning streak against Maine at Cross Insurance Arena next Saturday. Tip off is at 2 p.m..