By Kunal Kohli and Skyler Gilbert
After a disappointing 64-47 loss at home to Albany on Monday, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team was looking to bounce back in the first game of a two-game road trip.
The Seawolves did just that in their matchup against the UMass-Lowell River Hawks on Thursday night, coming away with a 65-45 victory.
Junior forward Rayshaun McGrew led the team with 15 points and added a team-high eight rebounds, while junior forward Jameel Warney finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Stony Brook started the game on an 8-2 run, led by McGrew and freshman point guard Deshaun Thrower, who got his first start of the season over the struggling Carson Puriefoy.
The River Hawks were able to battle back and trailed by only two points with 14:19 left in the first half.
But, the Seawolves responded with an 11-0 run, which gave them a commanding 23-10 advantage as the first half wound down.
The game quickly turned into a blowout, as the Seawolves expanded their lead to 37-16 by the break behind stifling defense and a flowing offense.
The biggest story in the first half was the guard play for the Seawolves.
Thrower had all eight of his points in the first and Puriefoy scored four of his eight points off the bench. Redshirt freshman Roland L’Amour Nyama scored five of his nine points on the night in the game’s first 20 minutes.
Stony Brook got off to a less-than-desireable start to the latter half, going scoreless for nearly the first four minutes.
The Seawolves finally got on the board on a dunk from Warney, who was not very prolific with the entire opposing defense focused on him.
The Seawolves then went on a barrage. The game became the McGrew show, as he scored eight of his 15 in the final half. There were no answers for the Seawolves offense, as Warney and sophomore guard Ryan Burnett, who started in place of freshman Bryan Sekunda, also came alive down the stretch.
The River Hawks tried getting back into the game, even cutting the Seawolves lead to 15 points twice in the second half.
River Hawks leading scorer, freshman guard Matt Harris, had 6-of-12 in the second half, scoring on 3-of-5 three point attempts.
This was not enough for UMass-Lowell though, and SBU coasted to victory.
On Sunday afternoon, behind a career day from Puriefoy, Stony Brook was able to escape Binghamton with a 61-54 victory over the Bearcats.
The Seawolves improved to a 14-8 overall this season and 5-2 in America East conference play.
Binghamton used a 2-3 zone to keep the game competitive for much of the game, but the Seawolves were able to reign supreme with some clutch play from their junior point guard.
After the Bearcats took a 46-45 lead with 5:57 remaining in the second half after a Willie Rodriguez lay-up, Puriefoy responded by scoring fourteen points in the next five minutes to put Stony Brook ahead comfortably for the win.
Puriefoy, back in his usual starting role after coming off the bench against UMass-Lowell on Thursday, had 27 points in the game, enough for a career-high and ending a recent slump in which his shooting percentages were well below his career averages.
The junior point guard attacked the basket throughout the game, earning 13 free throws in the contest while also scoring two crucial lay-ups in transition down the stretch.
Similar to the home game against Albany last week, the Binghamton Bearcats’ 2-3 zone stifled Stony Brook for much of the game and kept most offense to the perimeter.
Forwards Warney and McGrew combined for only eleven points in the game as the Seawolves struggled to find open post-entry passes.
While the Bearcats excelled at denying the Seawolves’ big men the ball, Stony Brook was able to expose some of the zone’s weaknesses with their shooting.
SBU drilled nine threes–one of its best shooting games of the season–including three treys from Puriefoy and Kameron Mitchell.
On the glass, Stony Brook was out-rebounded by Binghamton 38-36.
Warney led the Seawolves with fourteen boards, including five offensive rebounds.
The Seawolves’ victory was the tenth consecutive win against their upstate New York SUNY rivals, giving them a 35-25 all-time record against the Bearcats.
The men’s basketball team will return to action this Wednesday night when it hosts the Hartford Hawks at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.