Usually, Stony Brook men’s basketball head coach Geno Ford is satisfied when his team scores 80 points. However, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, his Seawolves crossed that scoring barrier and still lost 95-84 to the UMBC Retrievers, due to their opponent’s 18-for-30 performance from three.
“[UMBC] shot the ball at a really high level,” Ford said in a press release. “We’ve scored 80 points or more nine times previously and were unbeaten in those times, but we were just outscored tonight. We were not very good defensively, but they made a lot of deep shots on offense. Hopefully, we can figure out a way to score and find a way to get some stops.”
Stony Brook raced back from a double-digit deficit early in the second half by scoring eight straight points in just over a minute, making it a 70-69 game with 9:50 left. UMBC led for most of the game, but every time the Retrievers put together a string of consecutive buckets, the Seawolves hit right back. A one-point contest was the closest that Stony Brook had cut it to since midway through the first, and there was still enough time for the Seawolves to end up on the right side of this shootout.
Instead, UMBC scored 19 of the game’s next 25 points to open up a 14-point lead in five minutes. The Retrievers attempted five triples in this span and made every one, guided by an expected contributor, the team’s leading scorer guard Keondre Kennedy, and a bench player in guard Jacob Boonyasith.
UMBC point guard Darnell Rogers — believed to be the shortest player in Division I history at 5-foot-2 — proved he didn’t need height to have excellent court vision, dishing his way to a 14-point, 13-assist double-double. Many of his dimes found wide open corner 3-pointers and well-positioned players in the post.
The Seawolves missed all four of their 3-point shots during the Retrievers’ game-sealing run. Stony Brook guard Tykei Greene put up a career-high 29 points, shooting 9-for-12 from the floor, 9-for-11 from the free-throw line and perfect from three. He was the Seawolves’ primary offensive contributor in the early goings of the second half and had his third 20-point game in his last four outings.
In contrast to when these teams met last month, Wednesday’s contest was a shoot-out from the start. Both teams shot nearly 60% in the first half, and UMBC led 49-44 by virtue of having made five more 3-pointers than Stony Brook. Retrievers guard L.J. Owens scored 15 points in the first half on a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Guard Anthony Roberts looked to be on pace for another performance worthy of the record books after dropping 16 points in the game’s first 15 minutes. Perhaps as a result of fatigue — as he spent 39 minutes on the court — he only made one of his final 10 shots, ending with 23 points, five rebounds and six assists.
Roberts’ assist numbers could have looked even flashier if his teammates had finished the plays at the rim that he had given them; several alley-oops, dunks and layup attempts resulted in points left on the board.
Amazingly, UMBC’s 18 threes and 94 points were not the most that Stony Brook had conceded in a game this year, as Vermont torched Stony Brook for 19 triples and 98 points in January. The Retrievers’ high-scoring offense was capable of an offensive performance such as Wednesday’s, and with some of the looks that Stony Brook’s defense was giving to them, it was only tempting fate.
Even with a three-game losing streak earlier this month that occurred immediately after the America East postseason ban, Stony Brook had crept its way back up to second place in the conference standings by winning its last two games. The Seawolves’ inability to close out sent them right back down.