Stony Brook Men’s Basketball wrapped up its time at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament over the weekend by splitting their two matchups with a victory over Norfolk State University and a loss to the College of Holy Cross.
The team’s 84-70 defeat against Holy Cross on Friday, Nov. 16 displayed some flaws in their armor. The matchup started off with a large offensive push by the Crusaders, as the team scored 20 of the game’s first 27 points and eventually led 20-7 with 11:53 left in the first half of action. The run was cut off by sophomore guard Elijah Olaniyi, who scored eight points in the span of 57 seconds.
The Crusaders went into the locker room up 43-36, but had their earlier momentum slowed down as the Seawolves shot 54 percent from the field compared to the Crusader’s 48 percent. Stony Brook also led the rebounding matchup 17-16 which become a critical statistic in the long run.
The second half saw a dramatic turnaround by Holy Cross, as the team proceeded to go up by 20 points with 12:24 left. Turnovers began to eat away at the Stony Brook offense, as six points were scored off turnovers in the Holy Cross run. The Seawolves wrapped up the game with a late push by sophomore guard Jordan McKenzie who nailed a 3-pointer and two free-throws with less than 2:21 to go.
Stony Brook finished the game with 36 rebounds compared to Holy Cross’ 28. This helped the team outscore Holy Cross 14-11 in second chance points.
Time eventually ran out on Stony Brook’s comeback, as Holy Cross held on for the victory with a 14-point lead. Head coach Jeff Boals gave props to the opposing team for their effort.
“We wanted to win the battle on the boards, and we were not able to do that until late,” Boals said in a press release. “We wanted to not turn the ball over against their pressure and we were not able to do that. Give Holy Cross credit. They are a good team but we did not do the things we needed to tonight.”
Stony Brook’s next matchup against Norfolk State on Saturday, Nov. 17, carried a different result. Both teams provided a neck-to-neck type of game with Stony Brook eventually coming out on top.
The Seawolves broke out with a 14-9 lead with 13:37 left in the first half with help from a combined eight points by redshirt-junior guard Akwasi Yeboah and senior guard Jaron Cornish. The Spartans then made a large push from a 10-0 run in 1:25, eventually taking the lead 31-24.
The Seawolves stayed resilient however, as the team responded with a run of their own and reclaimed the lead with 2:42 left in the first half. They would eventually head into the locker room with a 41-38 lead on 43 percent shooting with four 3-pointers. Stony Brook out-rebounded Norfolk State 20-12.
Norfolk State fought hard once again, as the team took the lead 47- 43 at the start of the second half. The two teams fought in the swing of reclaiming the lead from each other through the majority of the game, with 19 lead changes occuring in the matchup.
With the matchup tied at 64 even and just over two minutes left, Cornish took a 3-pointer to put his team ahead. This would be the final lead change of the game, as Olaniyi would secure the game with free throws and give the Seawolves their third win of the season.
Boals was pleased with his team’s ability to respond from the previous loss by excelling on both ends of the court.
“I think the biggest thing was responding after the loss last night,” Boals said in a press release. “We use the equation E+R=O. The event happened, we lost the game. We did not play like we wanted to and we responded well. We were down and kept chipping away. We went offense-defense and made some big stops and hit enough free throws to have a big enough cushion.”
Stony Brook heads to Island Federal Credit Union Arena for its first home game of the season against Molloy College on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.