On Saturday afternoon, the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball team took on the the University of New Hampshire. The day was a special occasion of sorts, as Stony Brook held its 19th birthday celebration for its mascot, Wolfie. But, there was not much to party about for SBU once they got on the court, as the team fell 73-69 to the 5-17 Wildcats.
“Give all the credit to New Hampshire,” head coach Steve Pikiell said after the loss. “They played an outstanding game, and we were not able to get stops when we needed them.”
The first half was full of fast-paced basketball and loose interpretations of defense. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half, thanks to both teams’ abilities to convert wide open threes and play weak interior defense.
New Hampshire started out the game slightly faster than the Seawolves, scoring seven unanswered points after the Seawolves drew first blood. The game went scoreless for three minutes, but halfway through the first half the defenses started to fall apart.
The Seawolves’ offense outpaced the Wildcats from that point, taking a 26-17 lead with eight minutes left in the half. However, UNH was able to spark a run late and head into the half only down one, with the score 39-38.
The Seawolves were lead in the first half by their guards, who excelled in the fast-paced game. Carson Puriefoy led the team in scoring with 13 points on four-five shooting. Anthony Jackson followed him with nine of his own on four-of-six shooting. Jameel Warney led the team in both rebounds and assists. They were battered inside, though, by UNH’s Chris Pelcher, who scored 10 points in the half.
The second half, however, was a total turnaround in the game’s scoring as both teams played much better defense. However, the Seawolves’ defense seemed limited to inside the arc, as UNH rode their hot three-point shooting to the win. Neither team could gain a lead as the game wound down toward crunch time.
Then Dave Coley, who had been quiet on offense all game, hit a clutch 3-pointer with a minute left in the half. UNH struck back with a Chris Pelcher jump shot, but Carson Puriefoy struck back quickly with a big layup to take a one-point lead with 30 seconds left in the game.
However, the Wildcats took the lead again with a huge 3-pointer from Daniel Dion. Then the Seawolves, with one last chance to tie the game, turned the ball over as Carson Puriefoy’s drive resulted in a jump ball with UNH’s possession. The Seawolves had to foul and both shots were converted, and the game ended 73-69.
The Seawolves were done in chiefly by their free-throw shooting, as they only shot 11-20 on the line. It is hard to win games when you leave so many points at the line, especially when you also let the opposing team shoot 46.7 percent from the three-point line, 14 total. It is easy to say that UNH were hitting contested threes, but quite a few others were wide open shots.
“I think we were hurt by the missed free throws. We will learn from this game, have a great week of practice and get back to work at UMass Lowell,” Pikiell said after the game.
Carson Puriefoy, back from injury, finished with 18 points on the day on five-of-10 shooting. Warney put up a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Anthony Jackson also ended up with a solid day with 12 points.
The Seawolves still control their destiny for the top seed in the conference tournament, as they are only a game behind Vermont and will still play them this season. They play UMass Lowell next Saturday.