For three-fourths of the way, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team went toe-to-toe with one of the best squads in the nation. The Seawolves looked to make ripples in the college basketball world, going up by six late in the first half against the No. 12 Seton Hall Pirates on Saturday, Nov. 9, but the upset alert faded away in the final minutes as Stony Brook fell 74-57 at Walsh Gymnasium to drop to 0-2 on the season.
“We battled with them neck and neck for 35 minutes but couldn’t finish the game,” head coach Geno Ford said in a press release. “They were able to continue to make big plays down the stretch and that was the difference. I liked our energy and toughness for the bulk of the game but we shot the ball very poorly from three and that was a major factor in the outcome. All of that being said, there is plenty that we can learn from moving forward.”
The Pirates suffered a big loss early when star senior guard Myles Powell left the game five minutes in with a sprained ankle and did not return; Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said after the game that Powell, the Big East preseason player of the year and AP preseason All-American who averaged 23.1 points and shot 45% last season, could be facing a “prolonged absence.”
It was a slow start out of the gate for Stony Brook, who started the game out 2-for-11 with five turnovers in the first eight minutes. The Pirates went up 16-5 and it initially looked as if the strength of the Big East opponent would be too much to handle for the young Seawolves.
Not willing to bow down easily, Stony Brook embarked on a 14-2 run soon after. Nine unanswered points helped them take their first lead in 12 minutes after redshirt-junior guard Makale Foreman sunk a deep three to put the Seawolves up 19-18.
Foreman again put Stony Brook on top with another three giving the team a 28-27 lead. On the ensuing possession, junior forward Elijah Olaniyi followed with his own long ball to put the Seawolves up by four. Foreman then drove into the paint for the score to extend the lead to 33-27 with 1:07 remaining in the half. The six-point advantage was Stony Brook’s largest of the afternoon, capping off eight unanswered for the Seawolves. They would enter the half up 33-31 after Pirates junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili dunked the wide-open inbound pass as time expired.
Seton Hall came out of the second half strong, going up by four after a 10-0 run put them ahead 37-33. Stony Brook missed their first six shots coming out of halftime but remained within striking distance, taking the lead back when Foreman connected from downtown for the fourth time to give the Seawolves a 38-37 lead.
It would be the last time that Stony Brook led all afternoon. The two teams went back and forth for most of the second half, but Seton Hall’s depth allowed them to overcome the loss of Powell as well as overpower their opposition. Down five, the Seawolves appeared to switch the momentum when redshirt-junior forward Andrew Garcia got the steal and finished with an emphatic dunk to make it a one-possession game again. However, he was called for a technical after hanging on the rim, and Seton Hall took advantage of both the free shot and the extra possession to go up 51-45 with 8:46 left.
Foreman’s jumper cut the deficit to four, but that was the closest that Stony Brook would get. Ford called a timeout at 4:11 to try and halt a 9-2 Seton Hall run that grew their lead to 11, but the Seawolves’ offense sputtered and could not mount the comeback.
Mamukelashvili led all players with 17 points despite missing some time in the second half after he was elbowed in the face. Making his first start for the Seawolves after playing a large role off the bench on Tuesday, Foreman’s 16 outpaced all Seawolves while Olaniyi and junior forward Mouhamadou Gueye both scored 14.
Gueye continued to play a large role on defense, leading the team with seven rebounds while adding in three more blocks. Junior center Jeff Otchere, limited to 17 minutes as he racked up four fouls, recorded four blocks off his own.
Seeking their first victory of the season, the Seawolves return home on Monday, Nov. 11 to take on the Division III Farmingdale State Rams, with tip-off scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.