Up by one, the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball team looked to defend its nation-leading 17-game winning streak with seven seconds left on the clock on Sunday afternoon. New Hampshire junior guard Jaleen Smith drove to the basket, only to be blocked by defending America East Defensive Player of the Year Jameel Warney, securing Stony Brook’s 18th win in a row, 59-58.
“I do like to win a basketball game that way,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “Because the games you play don’t always go exactly the way you think—the foul shots don’t go in sometimes, the jump shots don’t go and when they do, everything is great, great, great, great. When they don’t, what are you still going to fall back on?”
Earlier in the year, the Seawolves blew out the Wildcats, 80-50. This game proved to be anything but a one-sided affair.
“They’re a really good team,” Warney said. “They’re a top 3 best team in the conference so we had to come ready to play today, just get stops and they don’t get one point when the time ran out.”
Stony Brook got off to a slow start, not scoring a basket until the 16-minute mark. The Seawolves looked to get the ball to senior forward Warney, even as the Wildcats doubled-teamed him in the paint. Their shooting woes continued as New Hampshire went on to build a five-point lead.
“We defended, today,” Pikiell said. “We had to, because we weren’t shooting the ball — I thought we were getting good looks too. We’re the best 3-point shooting team in the league, so we missed a lot of shots that we normally have made.”
However, the Seawolves found a game-changer in senior forward Rayshaun McGrew. The Chicago-native scored nine points in the first half to lead Stony Brook to a 25-23 lead.
Also coming up big for the Seawolves was sophomore forward Tyrell Sturdivant. He was the key in gaining momentum, as Sturdivant put an end to Stony Brook’s first-half scoring drought with a midrange jumper.
New Hampshire looked for its big men as much as Stony Brook did, as the sophomore forward duo of Tanner Leissner and Iba Camara got to a hot start early. Offensively, Leissner was the go-to guy for the Wildcats as he scored 26 points. Defensively, Camara helped hold two-time America East Player of the Year Warney to a 6-for-14 shooting performance.
Warney’s second half was strong, as he scored 10 in the final 20 minutes, including a highlight-reel alley oop slam from senior guard Carson Puriefoy.
The New Jersey-native was a force to be reckoned with on defense. He finished out his day with eight blocks.
Puriefoy also had a big second half. He scored 11 points in the half, including a 3-pointer.