Often called one of the most energetic and emotional players on the Stony Brook men’s basketball team by head coach Jeff Boals, junior forward Jakub Petras rarely gets the chance to stretch out his seven-foot wingspan. But in Monday night’s 83-72 home win over UMass Lowell, he took flight.
Senior guard Lucas Woodhouse found a cutting Petras on the way to the hoop, who threw down a monstrous slam. He then swiped the ball out of the hands of River Hawks sophomore guard Ryan Jones.
Seconds later, the 6-foot-11 Slovakian led the fast break and threw down his second dunk in 16 seconds, also the second of the season. Let that sink in.
“A fast break dunk for a center is rare,” junior guard U.C. Iroegbu said. “We were hyped up.”
The Seawolves barraged the River Hawks with their dunks. Aside from the usually-grounded Petras, high-flying junior forward Junior Saintel, starting junior forward Tyrell Sturdivant and six-foot tall Iroegbu all took to the air.
“My man has the highest vert on the team,” redshirt junior forward Roland Nyama said of Iroegbu. “No, second highest next to Junior, but Junior doesn’t count.”
Iroegbu’s slam came at the end of the first half. He received the ball on the baseline and rose up to the hoop. He followed up the moment with a block at the halftime buzzer.
“I ripped through and I was like, ‘oh, nobody’s going to come over. Alright, let me try to get this dunk real quick,’” Iroegbu said. “The first thing I was thinking was, ‘Alright, just forget about the dunk. Try to just focus on this defensive play and then you can celebrate a little bit at halftime.’”
Stony Brook played an inside-out game. When the team was having problems down low, its big men served as facilitators. Saintel, who played power forward, had four assists in the first half.
Junior guard Bryan Sekunda nailed back-to-back threes midway through the first half. He missed his third attempt from beyond the arc but Petras collected the offensive board and dished it to freshman guard Michael Almonacy for the corner three.
Nyama was the scoring leader for the Seawolves. He had 19 points despite only playing 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Woodhouse had 16 points and nine assists.
The two combined for back-to-back three-pointers early in the first half, when each made one from the corner just 30 seconds apart. Woodhouse shot 4-for-7 from three in the game, while Nyama made 3-of-5.
There were struggles on defense. While the constant switching on River Hawks leading scorer redshirt junior forward Jahad Thomas helped to force four turnovers, it did allow him to get into the paint easily. He finished the night leading both teams with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
“He’s six-foot-two but plays like he’s six-foot-ten,” Boals said of Thomas, the America East leader in scoring. “He can’t really shoot the ball but it doesn’t matter. He just slithers in there. He’s crafty.”
Now 9-2 in America East play and second in the conference, Stony Brook will continue its homestand on Sunday. The team will face Maine at Island Federal Credit Union Arena at 2 p.m.. In a Jan. 14 meeting in Orono, the Seawolves went on a 23-0 run to take down the Black Bears, 74-54.