Finish AE regular season 14-2, head to tournament as No. 1 seed.
The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team won the final game of the regular season on Sunday afternoon against the University at Albany Great Danes, 75-70, in a close contest that did not have a clear winner until the final few seconds of the game.
The four seniors on the team performed well on senior day, scoring 31 of those 75 points, and the team has now achieved an overall season record of 23-6, a program Division-I record and a conference record of 14-2, tying last year’s record.
Before the game, the team’s four seniors; forwards Ron Bracey, Tommy Brenton and Leonard Hayes and guard Marcus Rouse, were given an award for their contribution to the program over the past few years.
“[The seniors] won the game for us,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “They’re great kids on and off the court. They were ready to play tonight.”
With the end of the festivities, it was time to play yet another game.
“There were definitely a lot of emotions before the game,” Brenton said. “We all just came with a great focus.”
However, Albany scored first, and it kept up the pace throughout the first half. The Seawolves did have the early edge, leading 13-8 a little more than four minutes into the game. But the Great Danes were not going to make senior day an easy experience for the home team. They tied the game and pounded the ball underneath the basket, scoring two-thirds of the total points in the paint in the first half.
That being said, Stony Brook also kept up the offensive attack, meaning that the two teams went into halftime with a tie score of 34. The Seawolves hit more than two-thirds of their three-pointers in the first half.
Unfortunately for the home crowd, it was Albany, not Stony Brook, that came out of the gate in the second half more quickly, going on a 12-point run in the opening minutes of the second period.
The Seawolves clawed back into the game, eating away at Albany’s lead shot by shot. Freshman Carson Puriefoy scored 15 points in the second half out of his 17 for the game, leading his team and tying the game-high. It was he who tied the game at 51 with 11:33 left in the game.
“Puriefoy changed the pace of the game for us,” Pikiell said.
The Great Danes would not surrender the lead easily. They and the Seawolves traded the lead 11 times throughout the game, seven of those coming in the second half. The crowd’s excitement continued to build as the seconds ticked away and there was still no apparent winner. With 2:21 left to play, Stony Brook held a one-point, 66-65 lead.
With one minute remaining, the Seawolves lead by only two points. Despite their dire situation, the Great Danes kept up the fight and stayed in the game until the absolute final seconds. However, they would not spoil senior day for Stony Brook, who finished the game and the season with a 75-70 victory.
With championship dreams once again, the team has now targeted its focus on next weekend’s conference tournament.
“First we’re looking at Binghamton,” Hayes said. “It’s going to be another tough game.”
On Thursday, Stony Brook also defeated the Boston University Terriers on the road, seizing victory in what was the home team’s final game as a member of the America East conference.
The Seawolves won the game by a score of 71-55 after having jumped out to a massive early lead of 33-5.
Senior forward Tommy Brenton was three assists short of a triple-double on Friday, posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. It was his sixth double-double of the season and the 23rd of his career. This was his second-to-last regular season game as a member of the Seawolves.
Stony Brook struck early and did not let the Terriers ever have a hope in the game, first pushing ahead to a margin of 22-5 and then scoring 11 straight points for good measure after that. The Terriers could not score a basket for two gaps of 7:32 and 7:29. This gave Boston one made shot in a space of approximately 15 minutes.
Boston did manage to get back into the game and were able to get within 10 points of Stony Brook, but it was not enough, and freshman forward Jameel Warney put a dent in any hope for the home team when he captured the offensive rebound off of a missed free throw, put the ball back in the net and drew the foul in one play. He made all six of his shots on Thursday, the third time this season that he was perfect from the floor.
From that point forward, the Terriers would only get as close as within 13 points of the Seawolves. Making 52.2 percent of their shots for the game, the Seawolves were not going to lose.
With the win, Stony Brook has set a program Division-I record with 22 wins, surpassing the previous record of the team from two years ago. It was also Stony Brook’s 12th true road victory, a program record for all of its history.
After this season, Boston will be joining the Patriot League, meaning that it will not be playing in this year’s conference tournament. The Terriers were tournament champions two years ago.
With the regular season now over, Stony Brook advances to the America East Tournament, which is being held at SEFCU Arena in Albany this year.
The Seawolves will enter the tournament as the first seed and will play the eight seed, Binghamton, on Saturday at 6 pm.