Throughout his career, Stony Brook Men’s Basketball junior guard Bryan Sekunda has been touted as a premier three-point shooter, the type of player who could change the pace of a game with a single shot. With only a two-point lead — down from 15 at halftime — the Seawolves needed someone to swing the game back into their favor, someone to jumpstart the offense.
Enter Sekunda from the corner for three with 11:39 left in the game, to push the advantage to 50-45. The momentum swung as the Seawolves led by more than five for the rest of the second half. The game was firmly in Stony Brook’s hands and the team defeated UMBC 83-73.
“That’s why we have him out there,” head coach Jeff Boals said. “Anytime he’s out there, he’s a threat.”
The defense was physical. In the game, 56 fouls were called, 76 free throws were shot and seven players had four fouls or more with three Retrievers fouling out, including forward Will Darley whose 20 points tied him for the most on his team.
Darley, who played only eight minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, led a 16-1 run in the second to cut Stony Brook’s lead to one.
Junior forward Roland Nyama, the fourth leading scorer on the Seawolves, was barely able to get the ball in the bucket. He only had three points on 1-for-5 shooting, the lowest scoring total he has had this season. With Nyama out of the picture offensively, redshirt freshman forward Akwasi Yeboah and junior guard U.C. Iroegbu took some of the scoring weight off of Nyama’s shoulders.
Yeboah played a particularly physical brand of offense that allowed him to get to the free throw line five times, converting four of his attempts in the first half. His play in the front court was much needed as the team’s second-leading scorer, junior forward Tyrell Sturdivant, did not score a single point of his 16 total until the second half. Yeboah also led the team in rebounds, grabbing 10 total boards for his first career double-double.
“My barber told me that if I get a double-double, I get a free haircut,” Yeboah said with a laugh.
Iroegbu showcased his speed, scoring four points on the fastbreak. The game was his best of the season, scoring a season-high 12 points, pulling down five rebounds and swiping the ball once.
“I was really happy for U.C.,” Boals said. “He had been struggling and he’s very, very capable. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t think it would be inside the arc, I thought it would be outside the arc.”
Smart passing was key for the Seawolves in the first half. Sturdivant started off the game assisting to a cutting senior guard Lucas Woodhouse off of the give and go.
Nyama led the Seawolves in assists for the game. With the Retrievers’ defense, in particular guard Jairus Lyles, all over him, Nyama found open teammates throughout, even passing out of a turnaround jumper to Yeboah, who scored off of a bank shot.
Stony Brook will take on the No. 1 team in the America East Vermont on Saturday at 7 p.m.. Vermont, the preseason favorite, is currently undefeated in conference play.