Stony Brook Men’s Basketball completed two comeback victories against LIU Brooklyn and the Delaware Blue Hens to rebound from their defeat against Brown on Dec. 8.
The Seawolves trailed for nearly 36 minutes on Wednesday, Dec. 12 as the Blackbirds had a 10-point lead with just under six minutes to go. After clawing their way back to down just one, redshirt-junior forward Akwasi Yeboah, the team’s leading scorer, set his feet behind the arc and launched a three to give the Seawolves a 79-77 lead with 52 seconds remaining. Stony Brook held on for the 83-79 victory. The bucket also pushed Yeboah’s career points total to 1,001 – the ninth player to cross quadruple-digits in the program’s Division I history.
“I work on that shot every day,” Yeboah said after the game. “I had the confidence, trust, and belief in myself to make that shot. If we need a bucket, my coaches trust me to shoot, so I was ready for the moment. We were just moving the ball, playing inside-out, which helped us to get open in the perimeter. We trusted in our shot and knocked it down.”
With 10:11 remaining in the game, LIU Brooklyn held a 12-point lead, its largest of the game. The Seawolves quickly scored six in a row to cut the deficit in half, but the Blackbirds responded with five straight to extend the lead back to 72-61 with just seven minutes left. From that point on, Stony Brook embarked on a 15-3 run, capped by a layup from sophomore forward Elijah Olaniyi, to take a 76-75 lead with 1:57 remaining, the team’s first in almost 21 minutes.
LIU Brooklyn fouled sophomore guard Jordan McKenzie, who sank both free throws to extend Stony Brook’s lead up to four. Blackbirds redshirt-junior forward Julius van Sauers’ layup fell in to make the score 81-79, but the ball found its way to Yeboah on the ensuing possession, who dunked it in to deliver the finishing blow.
“[Yeboah] has evolved into a leader this year,” head coach Jeff Boals said. “He doesn’t shy away from the big moments, and he knows that he’s our go-to guy. More importantly, the other team knows he’s our go-to-guy, and he’s steadily produced every single game. He’s a huge part of what we do offensively.”
Yeboah led all players with 24 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Both Clark and junior guard Jashaun Agosto led the Blackbirds with 19 points each. Clark also reached the 1,000-point plateau during the game. Stony Brook out-rebounded LIU Brooklyn 38-24 and ended the game with a higher free throw percentage.
It was a game of runs in the first half as Stony Brook looked to rebound from Saturday’s close loss at Brown. LIU Brooklyn used an 8-0 run to go ahead 27-20, while Stony Brook responded with a 15-3 run to take a 37-32 lead. The Blackbirds immediately countered with a 10-0 run to go back up 42-37. They led 43-41 at the break. In the first half, Stony Brook was outshot 54 percent to 20 percent from beyond the arc and 83 percent to 64 percent at the free throw line.
Stony Brook’s’ next matchup against the Delaware Blue Hens saw a different start but concluded with a 74-68 victory. Delaware trailed 35-30 entering the second half of the matchup, however, the team started a crucial run. Just six minutes into the half the 11-0 run, which included three 3-pointers from sophomore guard Ryan Allen, evened the score with 11:37 left in regulation.
The teams traded back and forth play, as senior guard Jaron Cornish scored four straight points followed by a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Corry Long to give Stony Brook the four-point edge with less than 10 minutes left.
Cornish later scored another layup with less than two minutes left which
Freshman guard Miles Latimer responded with a three-ball of his own, followed by a layup from redshirt-freshman Andrew Garcia to give Stony Brook the lead for the remainder of the matchup. Latimer iced the victory at the free throw line with three seconds left to play, nailing both shots.
Yeboah led the Seawolves in scoring with 25 points, marking his fourth straight game with at least 23 points. He also added four rebounds and a block to his statsheet. Latimer scored 14 points in the game that including four 3-pointers, while Cornish scored 12 of his own. Ten of the 12 points came in the second half of the matchup.
Stony Brook’s confidence seems to be at an all-time high since beginning the season with a 10-2 record. The team has high hopes for games to come, even opposing coaches noticed the team’s progression as a unit.
“[Stony Brook] has established themselves as one of the top teams in [the America East] conference with a great home court advantage,” LIU Brooklyn head coach Derek Kellogg said. “For us to come in and beat them, I thought we would have to play somewhat of a flawless game.”
The team’s next matchup comes against their Long Island rival Hofstra Pride at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.