It took a nail-biting final minute on the road to secure it, but the Stony Brook men’s basketball team walked away with a split in their final games before the Christmas break. The team dropped its home game on Wednesday, Dec. 19 against rival Hofstra 71-64, but quickly turned around by defeating Quinnipiac 76-73, on Saturday, Dec. 22.
The Seawolves were able to take an early 17-12 lead against the Pride, thanks in large part to redshirt-junior guard Akwasi Yeboah. Yeboah scored eight of the team’s first 19 points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half. Hofstra battled back for the 21-19 lead late in the half however, and never relinquished it. The Pride took a six-point advantage into halftime and led by as many as 13 within three minutes of the second half. The Seawolves were able to trim the deficit, but ultimately couldn’t get close enough to steal the win.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t come up with the win,” head coach Jeff Boals said in a press release. “The big thing is our guys will always compete. They had a great player who made great plays down the stretch. There were some plays that we are going to look back at that we would like to have back. When you play a really good team like that, you have to play a really good game.”
The Seawolves rebounded from their loss with a trip to Connecticut to play the Bobcats, and it went down to the wire. Freshman guard Miles Latimer knocked down both of his free throws, giving the Seawolves the 64-63 lead with two minutes to play on a pair while redshirt-sophomore guard Andrew Garcia put Stony Brook up three off a layup with 44 seconds remaining. Garcia was fouled on the play and missed his free throw, but a clutch rebound and score by sophomore forward Elijah Olaniyi suddenly expanded the Seawolves’ lead.
Stony Brook appeared to have the game clinched with a four-point lead and four seconds on the clock, but Quinnipiac sophomore guard Rich Kelly drained a 3-pointer with only one second left, potentially giving the Bobcats one final chance. Quinnipiac immediately fouled Stony Brook and managed to get a chance to shoot the ball again, but senior guard Aaron Robinson’s desperation three failed to make it in.
The Seawolves’ close call was powered by the depth of their bench, and aided by a spot start from Garcia, who poured in a career high 19 points in 37 minutes. Sophomore center Jeff Otchere added in six points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes and sophomore guard Corry Long contributed seven points and six rebounds in 14 minutes.
“Awesome win for our guys,” Boals said in another press release. “Could not be prouder of them coming in and responding after the Hofstra game. Guys stepped up and that’s what great teams do. I thought our bench was phenomenal. They really stepped up and multiple guys gave us great minutes and helped us get the win.”
Stony Brook’s record sits at 11-3 heading into the break. The Seawolves will play their next game on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. on the road against Northern Iowa. It will be the final non-America East Conference game for the Seawolves.