The Stony Brook men’s basketball team faced their first major bump in their season as they fell to the Albany Great Danes 77-67 at Albany’s SEFCU Arena. Done in by some porous defense, the Great Danes’ offense overwhelmed the Seawolves, ending the Seawolves’ perfect winning streak in America East play.
The first half of the game had neither team truly taking control of the lead, but Albany seemed just one step ahead of Stony Brook. The Seawolves started out strong, able to outpace the Great Danes for a seven-point lead in the early going. However, Albany’s physical play sparked a 10-0 run which gave them the lead, which they held onto to head into the locker rooms with a 38-33 lead.
In the first half, Jameel Warney was a one man wrecking crew. He was the centerpiece of the Stony Brook offense, leading all Seawolves with 13 points on 6-9 shooting. However, the Seawolves were weak defensively, allowing the Great Danes to shoot 54.5 percent from the field. Forward Gary Johnson lead the attack with 11 points on 4-6 shooting.
However, in the second half, Stony Brook slipped up early, letting the Great Danes take a commanding lead they were never threatened in for the rest of the game. Albany went on an early 12-0 run, which gave them a 56-41 lead thanks to some key three-point shooting. Stony Brook never could come close after that. They could not even close the lead to single digits until the final minute. For a team used to giving up second half runs after strong first halves (such as in games against Vermont, UMass Lowell and La Salle), the Seawolves were not able to threaten when the tables were turned.
The second half was riddled by poor play by the Seawolves. They turned the ball over 11 times, a recipe for a loss. Warney was able to continue his strong day with eight more points in the second half. He finished the day with 21 points on 10-15 shooting. Ahmad Walker continued his nice stretch of games with eight second half points to give him a solid line of 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. His emergence over the last couple of games, including his 22 points against Maine, has been one of the highlights of the Stony Brook season. However, outside of those two, no Seawolf had a great day. Dave Coley struggled in particular in the second half, where he missed both shots he took and coughed up the ball five times. Anthony Jackson was a good passer, but he did not have a great shooting day, shooting only 38 percent. Finally, the Great Danes also overpowered the Seawolves physically and got to the line because of it, as the Seawolves were whistled for 24 fouls to Albany’s 14.
“Our game plan coming into the night was to keep Albany off the foul line. They’re the best free throw shooting team in the conference, and we needed to limit their opportunities there because you can’t defend the free throw line. Obviously, we didn’t do that, and give credit to Albany for capitalizing,” coach Pikiell said.
The Seawolves come home next Saturday to face Hartford for the second time this season. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 3 at 2 p.m.