Stony Brook Men’s Basketball picked up its first victory over a Southeast Conference opponent with an 83-81 upset over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday, Nov. 9.
The game came down to the wire, as Stony Brook held on to the two-point lead with time winding down. South Carolina sophomore forward Justin Minaya attempted to shoot a 3-pointer in the last second, but was rejected by sophomore center Jeff Otchere, securing the Stony Brook victory.
The team finished the second half with a dominant shooting performance, going 6-10 from beyond the arc and 50 percent from the field. This was a large improvement from the first half, where the team managed to accumulate a measly 26 percent field goal percentage and nail just four 3-pointers on 12 attempts. Despite the shooting woes, Stony Brook finished the first half up by a single point.
The Seawolves began to pick up momentum in the second half. Redshirt-junior guard Akwasi Yeboah scored 14 of his 24 points in the half, helping the team pick up its biggest lead of the night by nine. Second-chance opportunities at the ball contributed heavily to the Seawolves’ victorious effort. The team finished the game with 24 second-chance points compared to the Gamecocks’ 19 and with 10 more offensive boards. The Seawolves managed to hold on to the lead after the Gamecocks went on a 10-4 run in the game’s final 3:09.
As South Carolina head coach Frank Martin puts it, the Seawolves were too much to handle.
“They just physically manhandled us,” Martin said at a press conference following the game. “They beat us to every loose ball. They beat us to every rebound. They didn’t give in.”
After South Carolina took a quick lead off a jump shot within the opening minute of the second half, Stony Brook pushed them into the second half, going on a 14-6 run.
The Gamecocks struggled beyond the arc in the matchup, nailing just nine of their 23 attempts, finishing with a total of 39 percent from 3-point range. Free-throw shooting was a key contributing factor in the matchup. The Seawolves held a solid performance from the charity stripe, shooting 83 percent, including 11-for-12 in the first half. The Gamecocks, however, finished with a 54 percent free throw percentage, going 7-for-13 in both halves.
Yeboah led the offensive push for the Seawolves. After coming off a game-saving buzzer-beater in regulation in the last game against George Washington, the 6-foot-6-inch forward finished the matchup with a game-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. Yeboah also scored half of the Seawolves’ 3-pointers and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc in the night. This was Yeboah’s first double-double of the season.
Senior guard Jaron Cornish also started the matchup for the Seawolves and finished with eight points, eight assists and five rebounds. Cornish was a vital part of the offensive push, scoring six points in a 2:30 timespan to give his team a 66-57 lead with 7:29 left in regulation. Freshman guard Miles Latimer started in the second game of his Seawolves career, finishing with 11 points total.
The victory has gained national attention for the Seawolves, who have defeated two power conference teams in the span of four days on the road. The Gamecocks reached the semifinal of the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17. In the same year, the George Washington Colonials won the National Invitational Tournament. Legendary sports commentator Dick Vitale even tweeted about the upset following the matchup.
Stony Brook starts the season at a 2-0 record for the first time since the 2013-14 season, when the team went on to play in the America East finals and finished the season with an overall record of 23-11. The team’s next matchup comes against the Holy Cross Crusaders on Friday, Nov. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.