The Seawolves suffered a heartbreaking defeat against Albany in the America East Championship game and again in the College Basketball Invitational against Mercer. Both losses saw their opponents score on last-second shots.
Stony Brook dealt with a serious case of déjà vu in its first-round College Basketball Invitational matchup with Mercer, falling at the hands of Ike Nwamu’s game-winner with 1.2 seconds to go.
With the game tied at 70 after a missed Carson Puriefoy-free throw, Nwamu drove on Kameron Mitchell and pulled up from short range, icing the winner on a friendly bounce and finishing the game with 25 points.
The Seawolves turned it over on the ensuing inbounds pass to lose 72-70, ending their season on back-to-back losses that came as the result of last-second shots.
The same problem that plagued SBU on Saturday against Albany hurt them at Mercer, with just 11-of-19 shooting from the free throw stripe and two crucial misses late. Nwamu scored 14 of Mercer’s final 16 points after the game remained neck-and-neck throughout. In a minute-and-a-half long stretch with under three to play, both teams answered each other’s jumpers in what resembled an all-star game shootout.
Puriefoy led the way for the Seawolves with 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting. Mitchell scored 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three, a new career-high for the sophomore. Jameel Warney added 14 points and 13 rebounds, his 24th double-double of the season.
Neither squad led by more than six points in what turned into a barnburner in the second half. Stony Brook scored 43 points to Mercer’s 45 in the latter period.
Head Coach Steve Pikiell played everybody on his team save for Ryan Burnett, but just two players shot above 50 percent on the night. Offensive rebounds and threes kept Stony Brook afloat offensively against Mercer’s 1-3-1 zone and undersized lineups, while the Seawolves’ defense struggled.
Mercer committed 15 turnovers, but connected on 45 percent of its field goals and shot 8-of-21 from downtown. Roland Nyama’s defense was missed as he was not on the team bench in the second half due to an illness.
Stony Brook’s season now comes to an end after consecutive heartbreakers in the closing seconds. While fans clamor to soak up all the March Madness they can, the Seawolves must wait another year to try and finally overcome the March Sadness that has cursed them.