The Stony Brook men’s basketball team was defeated by UMass Lowell 82-79 in overtime Wendesday evening. This marks the second straight loss for Stony Brook, both being conference matchups.
“UMass Lowell is a good team and we knew we had to go out and get it,” head coach Jeff Boals said in a press release. “But once again, free throws bit us and [UMass Lowell] made plays down the stretch.”
Stony Brook led 71-68 with 37 seconds left in the game, after senior forward Tyrell Sturdivant made one of two shots from the free throw line. Despite this, UMass Lowell marched down the floor and set up a play for the final seconds of regulation. Senior guard Matt Harris hit a three-pointer for the River Hawks with 26 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.
The teams were neck-and-neck with each other throughout the matchup, resulting in a total of 22 lead changes from both ends. The Seawolves and the River Hawks finished both halves tied, with 36 points at the end of the first half and 71 in the second.
The balanced play resumed in overtime, with UMass Lowell making one of two from the free throw line to put them up one. Junior guard Jaron Cornish then sunk a layup, giving Stony Brook its first lead of the overtime period.
However, things turned around quickly, as UMass Lowell responded with a jump shot to regain the lead 74-73. Eventually, the UMass Lowell lead extended with another three-pointer from Harris, who finished the match with 15 points and three boards, putting his team up five with 3:29 left in overtime and sealing the victory.
Stony Brook finished the match shooting 50 percent from the free throw line, its second lowest all season. The team shot its lowest free throw percentage of 42 in the previous matchup against New Hampshire. Stony Brook now ranks as the worst free throw shooting team in the America East conference, only shooting an average of 63 percent from the line and making 253 out of 398 free throws.
Despite poor foul-shooting, the Seawolves’ offense shot above its season-average of 43 percent from the field throughout the game. The team shot 52 percent from the field at the end of the first half. Stony Brook finished the matchup maintaining its halftime percentage at 53, its third-highest field goal percentage of the season.
UMass Lowell shot efficiently as well, ending the game with a 54 percent field goal percentage and shooting 41 percent from the three-point line.
Stony Brook’s bench play continued to thrive, outscoring UMass Lowell 24-19. This game marked the 15th time out of 21 games that Stony Brook outscored its opponents from off the bench.
Redshirt-sophomore guard Akwasi Yeboah led the way in scoring for the Seawolves with 23 points, as well as a game-high seven rebounds. Freshman forward Elijah Olaniyi followed up with a season-high 16 points. Senior guard UC Iroegbu and Cornish both tallied for 11 points and three rebounds. Iroegbu finished second on the team in assists with three, while Cornish added two.
Failure to close out games has become a critical issue for Stony Brook lately. The Seawolves’ past two defeats have come from blowing a lead late in regulation. In the last game against New Hampshire, the team blew a lead with 33 seconds left in regulation, eventually losing 53-51.
“This was almost like New Hampshire all over again, and the disappointing thing is we were up six with 2:20 to go and we couldn’t close it out,” Boals said in a press release.
Stony Brook’s record now drops to 8-13, including a conference record of 3-4, putting the team in sixth place overall in the America East conference. The Seawolves return home for their next matchup on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. against instate rival Albany. The team will seek revenge for the Great Danes’ 13 point victory earlier in the season.