After the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball team suffered its second-straight loss against Northeastern on Saturday, head coach Steve Pikiell said the team had to “get back to playing Stony Brook basketball.”
The Seawolves did just that on Thursday, topping American on the road, 86-68.
Pikiell’s team put its usual defensive and rebounding poise on display during a 48-14 run from late in the first half to 11:32 remaining in the second that gave Stony Brook a 29-point lead, its largest of the night.
The Seawolves held the Eagles, who lost in the Patriot League championship game last season, to 1-of-6 shooting from 3-point range in the second half and finished with a 31-20 rebounding edge overall. Senior forward Jameel Warney recorded two blocks and a steal, while junior guard Lucas Woodhouse came away with three steals. Leading the way on the boards was sophomore forward Tyrell Sturdivant with six, and three Seawolves added five rebounds respectively.
But defense and rebounding are not the only things that make up Stony Brook’s basketball identity, at least not anymore. The Seawolves owe part of this win, as well as previous and future wins, to their 3-point shooting.
Stony Brook is now averaging 20.9 3-point attempts a game this season. At this rate, the Seawolves will break a Division-I program record for 3-pointers attempted in a season if they play four postseason games. Pikiell said he “hates us taking threes” in 2014, but it has now become a staple of the offense in order to get Warney space to operate in the post.
Stony Brook hit six 3-pointers in the first half against American, allowing Warney to open the second half with seven straight points. He finished with 22 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Giving him room down low were senior guard Carson Puriefoy, sophomore guard Bryan Sekunda and sophomore forward Roland Nyama, with each hitting two 3-pointers on the night.
Junior guard Ahmad Walker finished with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists, making it his fourth game of the season in which he has scored in double digits, grabbed five or more rebounds and dished five or more assists.
Stony Brook shot 60 percent from the field as a team, its second such effort against a Division-I foe this season, the other coming in a win over Princeton.
American opened the game strong, hitting six of its first nine shots and beating Stony Brook backdoor with ease. The Seawolves would clamp down though, and after taking a 29-point lead did not allow the Eagles to get closer than 18 en route to the victory.
The Seawolves, now 5-4, avoided a winless three-game road stretch heading back home to face off against Long Island rival Hofstra. Stony Brook looks to avenge last year’s one-point loss at the hands of a last-second game-winner from the Pride, with this year’s match taking place on Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m..