March 10th could wind up being one of the most important days in Stony Brook basketball’s history.
For the second straight year, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team has a chance to win the America East Championship and, in the process, earn its first ever trip to the NCAA tournament.
The two top seeds of the tournament will collide this Saturday at a sold-out Stony Brook Arena at 11 a.m. as the Vermont Catamounts try to upset the Stony Brook Seawolves on a nationally televised stage (ESPN 2).
Stony Brook (14-2 AE, 22-8) comes into the game riding the momentum of a buzzer beating win on Sunday over Albany. Dallis Joyner tipped in a missed shot with only seconds remaining to give his team the 57-55 win, while on his way to the #1 play on Sportcenter’s Top Ten Plays.
The team doesn’t forget how the Seawolves’ season ended last year — by two points in the championship game –and they seem focused on avoiding a repeat.
“Last year after the game the feeling was nasty in the locker room,” said sophomore guard Dave Coley. “We don’t want anyone cutting down the nets on our home floor.”
Vermont (13-8 AE, 22-11), on the other hand, won a thriller in double overtime over the upset-minded Hartford Hawks to earn its way into the championship game.
The Seawolves will try to keep their record-setting year going by earning their first bid into the big dance. This has already been one of, if not, the best years in program history with 22 Division-I victories tieing the previous record set in 2009-10. In addition, senior Bryan Dougher needs only two points on Saturday to become Stony Brook’s DI all-time leading scorer.
Stony Brook has decided to open up the Arena for one of the biggest games in school history in expectations of a large, noisy and red crowd. Tickets for the game sold out several days in advance.
“There’s a lot of high energy right now. We just want to skip practice and get in the game,” said America East Defensive Player of the Year Tommy Brenton, who will be key in helping Stony Brook continue its strong defensive play. “And the Arena just adds to that.
With the two top-seeded teams playing and motivation on both sides at an all-time high, the game itself should not disappoint basketball fans either.
Stony Brook’s basketball team and their fans are ready for some March Madness.