The Stony Brook men’s basketball team opened its season with four straight losses for the first time since 2007, back when the team was still in its adolescent years of Division I basketball.
Against Towson last Thursday, the team allowed a 32-2 run, ultimately getting blown out by a fellow mid-major team — the largest such loss in years — and the team seemed disorganized at times.
Following the graduation of Jameel Warney, the Seawolves were expected to be more of a shooting team, dependent on their backcourt depth to succeed. But through five games, Stony Brook is shooting a dreadful 24.4 percent.
You can hear the cries echo: Stony Brook can’t win without Jameel. The team is lousy. They have no shot against Albany or Vermont.
The sky is falling, right?
Stop it. It’s November.
Head coach Jeff Boals knew he was up against the odds when he accepted the Seawolves coaching gig last April. The team lost an inordinate amount of talent; this was no typical roster turnover. When the defending conference champs were deemed the America East’s seventh best team in the preseason poll, the ranking did not seem so far-fetched.
All things considered, there are plenty of positives that can be taken from the start of the season, as several candidates have emerged as the team’s go-to scorer.
Junior forward Roland Nyama looks great — athletic as ever, with two healthy knees and the green light to shoot. Nyama’s 46.7 percent shooting leads qualified players, and his defense has seen improvement from previous seasons. Nyama was rewarded with his first start of the season on Saturday in a 76-66 win over Hampton.
In the frontcourt, junior forward Tyrell Sturdivant has shown his potential after two seasons under the tutelage of Warney. Sturdivant broke out against Boston College last week, scoring an efficient 26 points on 15 attempts. He has an array of post moves, a consistent floater and something even Warney was unable to master: a mid-range jump shot. With more consistency, Sturdivant could be the Seawolves’ star.
The ever consistent Stony Brook point guard, senior Lucas Woodhouse, has scored at least nine points in every game this season, notching 17 in the win over Hampton.
Other Seawolves have struggled with efficiency but again, it’s November. Conference play is still over a month away. Junior guard Bryan Sekunda’s three-point shooting — currently 18.5 percent — will certainly rise closer to the 40 percent he shot last season. Junior guard U.C. Iroegbu has begun to look better after a shaky debut, knocking down three three-pointers in the game against Hampton.
And it should be pointed out that Stony Brook’s losses have come against good teams. Maryland was a No. 4 seed in last season’s NCAA tournament. Boston College plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference, perhaps the best league in the country. Towson was selected to finish second in an improved Colonial Athletic Association.
So take a deep breath and relax. There is no reason to worry … yet. The season is long and the team is still adjusting to the new coaching staff and play style. Let’s not jump ship over a few early season losses.