Despite holding a 22-point first-half lead, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team had to fight down to the final buzzer to avoid another late collapse. However, a career-high 22 points from redshirt sophomore forward Frankie Policelli was just enough to beat the Yale Bulldogs 85-81 on the road on Nov. 28.
The Seawolves (2-3) headed into halftime with a 42-27 lead and led by 12 with four minutes remaining in regulation. The Bulldogs (4-4) scored nine points in two minutes, nearly pulling off a comeback, but Policelli and redshirt junior guard Anthony Roberts each knocked down four free throws in the last minute to seal the win.
“That’s a great win for us,” head coach Geno Ford said in a press release. “That team will win the Ivy League. Everyone stepped up, and it was needed with some key guys out. It’s really hard to single out any one player because everybody was part of this win, but I did feel like Alex [Christie] gave us some extra presence in the lane. He had a really good preseason, and it was really nice to see him play well and help the team as much as he did.”
Six minutes into the game, Policelli already had nine of the Seawolves’ 14 points and assisted their other two baskets. He finished 7-for-14 with four 3-pointers and five assists and has now shot at least 43% from the field in each of his last three games.
“I just feel more comfortable right now and I’m getting used to how other people play,” Policelli said. “We’ve really emphasized ball movement in our offense and that’s helped me get open and really get comfortable. My coaches tell me to keep shooting and I’m starting to feel more comfortable and confident outside and that’s shown the last couple of games.”
Stony Brook led 34-12 five minutes before the break and ended the half with its most impressive play of the afternoon. With all five Yale defenders surrounding him underneath the basket, redshirt junior guard Tykei Greene thrust a pass into redshirt junior guard Juan Felix Rodriguez’s chest, who immediately hit a reverse layup that put the Seawolves up 39-22.
Roberts struggled in the first half, missing five of six shots and committing four turnovers coming off a 30-point game against Fairfield. But Ford was rewarded for sticking with the team’s leading scorer, as Roberts erupted for eight points in two minutes once he subbed in five minutes into the second half.
With four minutes remaining and Stony Brook clinging to a seven-point lead, Roberts hit a step-back jumper from just inside the arc over the hands of Yale guard Eze Dike. The free throws and another 3-pointer from Policelli were enough for the Seawolves to hang on.
The team’s 85 points and 11 3-pointers were both season highs.
The Seawolves begin a six-game stretch at Island Federal Arena on Dec. 1 against the American Eagles.