Just a minute into the second half, the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball lead had grown to 13. Just after the clock showed four minutes left, that lead plummeted to only three. Despite this, Stony Brook held on to secure a 79-73 victory on Tuesday, Nov. 27 on the road against Norfolk State.
The game tested the Seawolves’ depth down to the wire. The team was already down a man entering the game, with sophomore forward Elijah Olaniyi sidelined by a concussion he received in the team’s home opener last week against Molloy. Adding to that was redshirt-junior forward Akwasi Yeboah getting into foul trouble quickly, and ultimately fouling out with 5:20 left in the game.
Head coach Jeff Boals was satisfied in his team’s performance in the matchup.
“Really proud of the way the guys stepped up tonight and do what they did in order to pull off this victory,” Boals said in a press release. “We were able to take care of the ball in the second half and that was definitely key to us winning. We had to play some young guys and younger lineups and they really showed a lot. I’m really happy about the performance that Jaron put together. He was able to lead us down the stretch and to the win.”
Yeboah still turned in an impressive stat sheet, scoring 16 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes of play, but the star of the game was senior guard Jaron Cornish. Cornish was lights out, scoring 22 points on 8-11 shooting, and scoring eight of the team’s final 11 points to hold onto the lead. Cornish stayed on the court for 38 minutes, surpassing his season-high 34 minutes set in the Seawolves’ previous match against the Spartans on Nov. 17.
Stony Brook pushed the lead to as high as 18 in the second half. The team opened the half on a 14-3 run that ballooned its seven-point halftime advantage, yet Norfolk State managed to chip away slowly. A 12-2 run beginning at the 7:16 mark brought the Spartans to within three, but Stony Brook regained its composure following a media timeout and held serve with a 9-6 run to close the game out.
Poor free throw shooting kept the outcome up in the air throughout the second half. The Seawolves missed seven of their free throws, while the Spartans missed 11. This was a reversal of the first half, where both teams missed only one free throw each. The Spartans also recovered from a dreadful first half shooting from beyond the three-point line, where they shot 22 percent from downtown.
The Seawolves victory improves their record to 6-1 overall, the team’s best start at the Division I level. The Seawolves are also the only team in the country with four true road victories entering Wednesday, Nov. 28. Stony Brook returns home to start the new month, playing Quinnipiac on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.