Guard Tanahj Pettway leading a fastbreak against Yale on Saturday, Dec. 3. Pettway scored 10 points off the bench in a loss to West Virginia on Thursday, Dec. 22. TIM GIORLANDO/THE STATESMAN

Taking on one of the best teams in the nation, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team was unable to pick up its first road win of the season.

In their final non-conference game of the season, the Seawolves (4-9) flew down to the WVU Coliseum on Thursday to challenge the West Virginia Mountaineers. They were unable to pull off the upset, but still made the game interesting. Stony Brook lost 75-64 as West Virginia grabbed its 10th win of the season.

The Seawolves challenged the Mountaineers early. After falling behind 13-4 within the first five minutes, Stony Brook went on a 13-4 run of its own to tie the score at 17 apiece. However, West Virginia guard Kedrian Johnson scored seven unanswered points of his own to put his team back up 24-17. Forward James Okonkwo extended the Mountaineers’ lead back to nine points after throwing down a dunk with 2:21 remaining in the first half.

Despite facing their second nine-point deficit of the first half, the Seawolves did not back down. They scored the final five points of the half to cut their deficit to just four at intermission.

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Straight out of halftime, Stony Brook continued to fight hard. Just over two and a half minutes in, a three-pointer by forward Frankie Policelli cut the Seawolves’ deficit to just one point. However, Policelli’s three-pointer woke the Mountaineers up, as they went on a scoring run that Stony Brook would never recover from.

Over the next 10:13, West Virginia went on a 27-9 run, capped off by a three-pointer from guard Seth Wilson. The Mountaineers led by a game-high 19 points with just over seven minutes remaining. 

Despite being down big, Stony Brook continued to fight. Led by center Keenan Fitzmorris and forward Kenan Sarvan, the Seawolves went on a 16-6 run to cut their deficit to nine points with just 2:29 remaining. 

However, Stony Brook could not get the stop that it needed. Wilson drained another three-point field goal to put West Virginia back up by 12. The Seawolves could not pull off a miracle in the final two minutes and ultimately fell. 

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“Proud of our effort as a team,” head coach Geno Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We competed against a very good West Virginia team who will play in the NCAA tournament. Not the result we wanted, but we are getting better and I’m excited about the growth we’ve made as we head into conference play.”

After the loss, Stony Brook is now 0-7 away from Island Federal Arena this season. The Seawolves’ downfall on Thursday was their offensive inefficiency. The team only shot 38.5% from the floor, 32.1% from deep and committed 14 turnovers as a unit. Defensively, they held the Mountaineers to just a 41.8% clip overall, but allowed 42.3% shooting from three-point range.

Four different Seawolves reached double-digit scoring totals. Guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore led the way with 16 points, but only shot 4-of-14 overall. Guard Tanahj Pettway had a good night off the bench, scoring 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting while grabbing six rebounds. Policelli had a big night on the glass, totaling 14 rebounds.

For West Virginia, Johnson led all scorers with 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Guard Erik Stevenson added another 16 points and led his team with four assists.

The Seawolves have eight days to rest and prepare for their next game, which will be their introduction to the Colonial Athletic Association. They will travel to Boston to take on the Northeastern Huskies on New Year’s Eve. The Huskies are 4-7 on the season and are coming off a 73-70 win at Davidson on Wednesday. They will host North Carolina A&T two days before their matchup with Stony Brook to open their conference season.

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Mike Anderson is the sports editor of The Statesman. He is a junior majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports comes from his time spent as a baseball player. As a reporter for The Statesman, he has covered baseball, softball, football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer and hockey. He has also interned at Axcess Sports as a high school and college baseball and softball reporter. He is a local product from Port Jefferson, N.Y., and is a diehard Mets, Jets, Nets and Islanders fan.

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