Second half struggles proved insurmountable for the Stony Brook men’s basketball team Wednesday night in Albany, who was out scored 78-65 in its first conference loss of the season.
The Seawolves, who trailed by four after the first half, had trouble making up ground in the early stages of the second while allowing the Great Danes to go on a 12-4 run. By the 10-minute mark of the final 20, the Seawolves found themselves trailing by a 22-point margin that they would scrape away at but never fully erase.
“We knew that [Albany] would have a sense of urgency coming out and whoever imposed their will was going to win the game,” head coach Jeff Boals said in a press release. “In the first half we missed about 15 layups against a non-shot-blocking team. The start of the second half I was disappointed. They made their run and we had to call an early timeout. Hats off to them, they were the better team for 40 minutes tonight.”
Stony Brook’s second half drop-off allowed Boals to give his entire roster playing time, resulting in 20 points off the bench in the second half. This production was all but cancelled out by the stellar play of Albany graduate forward Travis Charles, who put up 18 points in the second half. Albany also displayed a solid performance from junior guard David Nichols, who scored 17 points in the first half, going a perfect three-for-three from beyond the arc.
The Seawolves found success behind the three-point line in the first as well, knocking down four consecutive attempts to start the game and jumping out to an early 12-6 lead. Though they would eventually concede the lead, the team showed encouraging resiliency and regained the lead on two separate occasions.
Stony Brook finished the opening period shooting at a 64 percent success rate from the three-point line. This high production level masked a far less impressive 36 percent field goal conversion rate and kept them in the game through the end of the first half, when they trailed the Great Danes 33-29.
However, the Seawolves’ hot streak from the arc went cold in the second half, knocking down only 34 percent of their three-point attempts. Though they were able to convert on nearly half of their field goals in the second, it was not enough to overcome the offensive onslaught of the Great Danes.
Albany’s success was largely due to their efforts in the paint. The team outscored Stony Brook 38-26 in the key Wednesday night and was dominant in production of second chance points, a category in which they outmatched Stony Brook 13-0.
Senior forward Tyrell Sturdivant and junior guard Jaron Cornish both scored 10 points for the Seawolves, while Cornish added a team-high seven assists and five rebounds. Redshirt-freshman guard Andrew Garcia and senior guard Bryan Sekunda both added nine points off the bench.
The Seawolves were unable to make up ground in the conference standings in their 73-62 loss against Vermont at Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium in Burlington on Jan. 13. The Catamounts are the only remaining undefeated team in the America East after the Seawolves’ loss and have sole possession of first place in the conference.