Shaking off any remaining rust and nerves heading into a new season, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team took to the court on Friday in an exhibition game against the College of Staten Island Dolphins. Play was initially slow and some easy opportunities were not converted, but the Seawolves quickly adjusted and dominated the remainder of the match against the Dolphins, winning 92-62.
Head coach Jeff Boals distributed playing time to 11 of his players, giving them anywhere from 12 to 23 minutes. His starting five at tip-off consisted of freshman guard Jordan McKenzie, senior guard UC Iroegbu, redshirt-sophomore forward Akwasi Yeboah, senior forward Junior Saintel and senior forward Tyrell Sturdivant. However, Boals would not confirm if this would be his starting lineup on opening night.
“Nothing’s determined yet,” Boals said. “We started two different starting lineups, one in the first half and one in the second half, and it’s always good to see different guys playing with each other. In practice you don’t have that, you’re playing really five on five.”
Saintel led the way for Stony Brook, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the win. He was able to thrive in the paint, recovering four offensive rebounds and converting them into points.
Sturdivant added 15 points and five rebounds of his own, and hit a three-pointer to cap off a 21-2 scoring run in the second half. Sophomore guard Michael Almonacy contributed 14 points, seven of which came from free throws. He was the most successful Stony Brook shooter from the line, earning eight shots overall. McKenzie was impressive in his first collegiate performance, garnering four steals and leading the team with six assists.
The Seawolves’ offense was effective all night, but their method of scoring was a tale of two halves. In the first half the Seawolves drew plenty of contact from the Dolphins defense. The team’s physicality allowed them to hit 23 free throws in the first half. In the second half, with a number of Staten Island players nearing the foul limit, the Dolphins were unable to contest shots as often. They gave the Seawolves separation, which translated into easy layups and a rising shooting percentage.
“I thought it was good to see our guys competing,” Boals said. “Started off a little slow. The way [Staten Island] played was a little unorthodox, just by their defensive philosophy and system. I thought the last thirty minutes we settled in and took care of the basketball, got good looks, shared the basketball, and had a lot of different contributions.”
Boals also confirmed that junior guard Jaron Cornish did not play due to a knee injury. Cornish, who is a transfer student from Broward College, averaged 18.7 points and 4.5 assists per game. He was expected to compete for the starting point guard position. Boals said that he would be out for roughly 3-4 weeks.
Stony Brook now awaits its regular season opener against Maryland at the Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. Stony Brook is 0-3 against Maryland all-time, including a 77-63 loss last year in College Park, Maryland.