The Stony Brook men’s basketball team put their winning streak on the line when they traveled to an undefeated Delaware Blue Hens team on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The team fell down by 21 points in the first half but shaved the deficit down to eight midway through the second half. Still, a series of scoring droughts allowed the Blue Hens to pull away as they downed the Seawolves 75-61, falling to 5-3 in the process.
“We ran into a terrific team who played at a really high level in the first half,” head coach Geno Ford said in a press release. “During the first half we struggled on offense to finish over their size and shot it poorly from three which is what created the big hole we were in at halftime. We responded and battled hard in the second half and were able to cut the lead to eight but just couldn’t get it any closer to get them under any real late game pressure.”
Stony Brook held their first and only lead of the game two minutes in when junior center Jeff Otchere began the scoring by making both his free throws. Redshirt-junior guard Nate Darling, who entered the match averaging 26.4 points per game, put Delaware up 3-2 with a downtown bucket on the ensuing possession.
After a second-chance layup from junior forward Elijah Olaniyi brought the score to 10-7, the Seawolves would not score for almost six minutes as the Blue Hens embarked on a 14-0 run that caused Ford to call timeout with 8:37 remaining in the first half. Freshman guard Tavin Pierre Philippe ended the drought with a jumper to make it 24-9.
The Seawolves were initially able to prevent the Blue Hens’ lead from continuing to grow by trading buckets, but again went cold from the floor as six straight Delaware points were capped off by a layup from junior guard Ryan Allen to expand their advantage to 39-18 – their largest of the game. Otchere ended Stony Brook’s 4-minute scoreless spell with a dunk 31 seconds before halftime as the Seawolves entered the break down by 19.
Stony Brook started to chip away in the second half, slowly but surely. At first, the back-and-forth baskets did nothing to cut into Delaware’s lead, which still stood at 19 three minutes in. Seven minutes into the half, Delaware was up by 16.
Olaniyi was then fouled on the fast break and hit one of two free throws. Redshirt-junior guard Makale Foreman was hit from beyond the arc and made all three of the ensuing foul shots. Olaniyi followed with a layup before Otchere was also fouled and converted on both free throws.
Suddenly, Delaware’s lead was down to eight as the Blue Hens went scoreless for almost four minutes while the Seawolves scored eight straight points to cut the deficit to 55-47.
Junior guard Kevin Anderson jumpstarted the Blue Hens’ offense again with a shot to go up by double digits again, after which head coach Martin Ingelsby immediately called a timeout to let his players catch their breath. From there on out, the Blue Hens took full control of the game as the momentum completely switched.
At the 8-minute mark, Delaware still led by eight, but the Blue Hens kept the Seawolves off the board for four straight minutes as their lead eventually ballooned back up to 17 with 4:25 remaining. The second wind was enough to put the game out of reach as Stony Brook repeatedly fired threes that refused to fall.
After lighting up the offensive numbers in Saturday’s narrow victory at Wagner, the Seawolves offense regressed on Wednesday as the team shot 29% from the floor and 24% from three. Missed layups continued to haunt Stony Brook as they went 7-for-21, and they also allowed the Blue Hens to score 14 points off of 15 turnovers.
Allen led all players with 22 points for the Hens, while Olaniyi scored a team-high 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting while nabbing nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Miles Latimer continued to struggle, going 1-for-8 with just three points, his fifth consecutive single-digit effort, while redshirt-junior forward Andrew Garcia’s playing time was limited as he picked up four fouls. Otchere fell a point shy of a double-double as he scored nine and picked up a career-high of 13 boards.
Stony Brook will return home for the first time in three weeks as they take on the Manhattan Jaspers (3-2) on Monday, Dec. 2, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Island Federal Arena.