On Saturday, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team made their way to New Jersey to take on the Princeton Tigers for the first time in school history.
Despite coming into the game with a better record, the Seawolves once again failed to play to their potential on offense, losing another road game by the score of 77-64.
They are now 0-4 on the road this season.
Early on, it seemed like the Seawolves were destined to get their first win away from Island Federal Credit Union Arena this season, as they jumped out to a 9-2 lead behind a pair of junior Rayshaun McGrew jump shots.
But after an encouraging start, the Seawolves offense began to slow down, due in large part to turnovers, which helped the Tigers inch closer.
In addition to the turnovers, the Seawolves had trouble keeping track of Princeton’s sophomore guard, Steven Cook, who erupted for 17 points and five steals in the first half alone.
Cook’s strong showing and the Seawolves’ turnovers helped the Tigers rally, leaving the Seawolves facing a 38-36 deficit, despite shooting 63 percent from the field.
After surrendering their first half lead, the Seawolves displayed resilience in the second half behind McGrew and junior Jameel Warney.
The two juniors combined for 11 of the team’s first 18 points in the half, as they built a 54-46 lead about ten minutes into the half.
Nevertheless, after going up 54-46, the Seawolves committed seven turnovers, and sparked an 11-3 Princeton run to even things up 57.
After Princeton tied things up, Stony Brook went cold on offense and watched Princeton build a 63-57 lead, before McGrew hit a lay up to pull within four points.
However, after McGrew’s layup, the Tigers hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to expand the lead to 10 with 1:40 left, which proved to be too much for the Seawolves to come back from.
In spite of the loss, the Seawolves once again dominated in the paint, as they outrebounded the Tigers 37-24. This also contributed to Stony Brook’s 14-3 advantage in second chance points.
A New Jersey native, Warney was once again instrumental in controlling the paint as he notched his nation-leading eighth double-double behind 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Warney was not alone in that category though, as frontcourt-mate McGrew was able to earn his second double-double of the season behind a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Even though Stony Brook was able to get a ton of production from Warney and McGrew, the rest of the team faltered, combining for only 34 points on 33.3 percent shooting, including 29.4 percent from the three-point line.
Furthermore, the Seawolves were not able to cover shooters for the second straight game as they watched Princeton make 12 three-pointers on 46.2 percent shooting—four nights after allowing Cincinnati to shoot 63.6 percent from downtown.
But on this night, it was not Stony Brook’s shooting or defending that hurt them most, it was their inability to hold onto the ball, as they committed 23 turnovers which led to 21 Princeton points.
As a result of the 23 turnovers, the Seawolves also had difficulty creating ball movement on offense, as evidenced by their pedestrian total of 11 assists.
Many of the woes the Seawolves are experiencing on the road this season are on the offensive end of the floor, where the Seawolves are averaging 9.25 points less than at home.
The key to turning that around is creating continuity on offense by turning the ball over less. Head coach Steve Pikiell and the Seawolves will have a week to work on that before heading to Rhode Island to face Providence next Saturday.
The Seawolves then round out their four-game road trip on Dec. 18 when they take on Canisuis.