Despite a hard-fought battle, struggles from the perimeter sunk the Stony Brook men’s basketball team in Rhode Island.
Coming off a victory in their home opener, the Seawolves (1-2) traveled to the Thomas M. Ryan Center to take on the Rhode Island Rams. The offense came up empty-handed too often for the team to overcome, as Stony Brook fell 74-64 behind a 17.2% three-point shooting percentage.
In the game’s opening minutes, Stony Brook was in control. They moved the ball well, taking an early 12-9 lead. The Rams’ offense came to life after that, led by guard Ishmael Leggett’s 11 first-half points. They outscored the Seawolves 25-18 for the remainder of the half, taking a four-point lead into halftime.
While there was no shortage of defensive effort, Rhode Island’s ball movement proved too much for Stony Brook to handle, propelling them to a lead they did not relinquish. The Seawolves lost their touch after surrendering the lead, never regaining the early game momentum.
“Really proud of the fight we showed tonight,” head coach Geno Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We shot poorly from three but didn’t let it impact our level of competitive spirit on either end. We had it to a four-point game with three minutes left and couldn’t get the big stop we had to have.”
The Rams hit critical threes at the beginning of the second half to gain separation from Stony Brook. Key three-pointers and free throws kept Rhode Island ahead for the entire second half. The Seawolves drew close on multiple occasions, cutting the deficit to just four points three separate times. However, timely shots by the Rams kept them out of arms’ reach.
Stony Brook held Rhode Island without a field goal through the final 3:17, but missed shots and turnovers soiled its chance to pull off a come-from-behind victory.
Guard play was solid on both sides for the whole night. For the Seawolves, Tyler Stephenson-Moore had a season-high 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Freshman guard Toby Onyekonwu had the best game of his young career. He found double figures for the first time, scoring 13 points.
On the other side of the court, Leggett and Sebastian Thomas created problems all night. Leggett led the team with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while Thomas put up a double-double with 13 points and 10 assists.
Stony Brook’s inability to shoot the three ball played a pivotal role in the game’s outcome. The team only went 5-of-29 from three-point territory. Forward Kenan Sarvan had the toughest night of them all, going 0-for-10 from behind the three-point line. They were successful in other areas, as they shot 60% (15-for-25) from two-point range and made 19-of-23 free throws. However, the 24 empty trips hurt them in the end.
Stony Brook is now shooting just 27.8% from deep this year, having only made 25-of-90 three-point attempts.
The Seawolves will not have much time to harp on the result, as they remain in Rhode Island to take on the Brown Bears this Thursday. The Bears are 0-3 on the season and are coming off a 75-70 defeat against Loyola Maryland on Sunday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.