While wrapping up its worst regular season in 15 years, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team suffered its worst loss in over 17 years.
A brutal regular season finally came to an end for the Seawolves (10-21, 6-12 CAA) when they lost 92-52 to the Charleston Cougars on Saturday. While playing in front of a sold-out crowd in Charleston, S.C., Stony Brook suffered its fifth-worst defeat ever.
The 40-point loss was the largest margin of defeat that the team has suffered since November 2005 when it lost to Villanova by 43 points.
The game was competitive through the early portion of the first half. After back-to-back buckets in the paint by guard Tanahj Pettway, Stony Brook trailed by only four points with 7:36 left before halftime. However, a media timeout allowed Charleston to compose itself and come out a brand new team.
Led by forward Ben Burnham, the Cougars closed out the opening frame on a 20-5 run. Burnham scored half of Charleston’s points during that stretch, bullying the Seawolves’ rim protectors en route to a 17-point first half. Stony Brook trailed 41-22 at the break.
Nothing changed for Stony Brook after intermission. In fact, it got worse. Charleston knocked down 10 three-pointers in the second half alone. Halfway through the period, Charleston had extended its lead to over 30 points. Just over two minutes later, a three-pointer by Charleston forward Raekwon Horton ignited a 19-1 run by the Cougars that spanned the next three minutes.
Each of the final seven field goals that Charleston made were all three-pointers. Even a three-pointer by Pettway with 30 seconds left was not enough to cut the Seawolves’ deficit below 40 points.
After the game, head coach Geno Ford stated the obvious: the Cougars were too much to handle.
“Charleston was awesome today,” Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “Give them a lot of credit for how well they played. We really struggled on both ends to deal with their versatility and depth.”
The only Seawolves who had any success on Saturday were Pettway and forward Frankie Policelli. Pettway scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting and recorded a block and three steals. Policelli dropped his 12th double-double of the season, scoring 22 points and collecting 11 rebounds. Policelli shot 7-for-16 from the field and 3-for-7 from deep.
Outside of those two, not much went right for Stony Brook. The team only shot 30.6% from the field and 25.9% from three-point territory. Even from the free-throw line, the Seawolves struggled, shooting just 63.6%. On defense, Stony Brook surrendered a 49.2% field goal percentage. Charleston connected on 15 three-pointers, shooting 37.5% from deep.
Charleston had five scorers in double-figures on Saturday afternoon. Burnham led the team with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting while coming off the bench. Horton was second on the team with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting; all of which was from deep. Guard Reyne Smith also did all of his shooting from beyond the arc, scoring 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
Guards Pat Robinson III and Dalton Bolon also scored 10 points each, making them Charleston’s only starters to reach double-digit scoring totals.
Part of the Cougars’ ability to score came from their ball movement. They racked up 21 assists, with eight different players having at least one. As for Stony Brook, it only totaled eight assists as a team. Having 17 fewer rebounds than Charleston did not help the Seawolves’ chances of winning either.
Stony Brook finished the regular season with a .323 winning percentage. That is the lowest mark since the 2007-08 season, when the Seawolves went 6-22.
Despite hitting a low point in its recent history, Stony Brook’s season is not over, as every team in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) makes the playoffs. The team will travel to the nation’s capital next week to compete in the 2023 CAA postseason tournament.
The Seawolves are the 10th seed in the playoffs and will open their tournament run this upcoming Saturday against the 7th-seeded North Carolina A&T Aggies. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. The two teams met twice during the regular season and split the series. The Aggies won the first meeting 61-59, while Stony Brook took game two 69-59.