By Matt Braunstein

The men’s basketball team kicked off the 08-09 season with a hard-fought and convincing win over Maryland-Eastern Shore with a score of 60-44. The Seawolves opening game win inspired the hope and change many students have been talk about considering last year’s record.

The Seawolves jumped out to an early lead and kept it throughout the whole game, despite constant efforts by Maryland-Eastern Shore to get back in the game. The Seawolves looked cohesive in their first game, and showed off a lot of talent and potential for the season ahead. To best understand these players’ skill set and appearance, we have bestowed them with nicknames that reflect their NBA counterparts.

Senior guard Michael Tyree (5 ft 11, #5), resembling Milwaukee Bucks’ Tyron Lue, started the game by sinking a deep three-pointer. He has range all over the court and was a big scorer for the team last year. Senior forward Demetrius Young (6 ft 6, #21), most similar to Portland Trailblazers’ Travis Outlaw, brought the home crowd to its feet on a vicious fast break dunk late in the first half. He has an excellent frame for defense and shows flashes of superior athletic ability.

Stony Brook has infused its team with some foreign talent this year as well. Freshman forward Danny Carter (6 ft 9, #2), whose playing skills were close to Bucks Joe Alexander, has come all the way from Windsor, England. Carter displayed his diverse skill by scoring 11 points and dishing out a game-high three blocks. He has good size, evidenced by his rebounds and blocks, but can also hit the three and move well in transition. Freshman guard/forward Tommy Brenton (6 ft 5, #24), resembling the Detroit Pistons’ White Jason Maxiell led the Seawolves in rebounds with 16, along with 8 points. He is an excellent defender and hustle player, who showed a commitment to tough defense and was able to score numerous put-backs on offensive rebounds despite being undersized at the forward position.

Point guard Bryan Dougher (6 ft 1, #10) resembled the Trailblazers’ Steve Blake showing great leadership on the court for a freshman, as he executed the offense smoothly and played with a high motor. He is a prototypical point who passes the ball well, finds the open man, moves the ball well in transition, and can shoot the occasional three. Junior guard Eddie Castellanos (6 ft 1, #12) paralleled the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Eric Snow by not showing much on offense, but being a beast on defense.

Freshman forward Dallis Joyner (6 ft 7, #23), playing like the Houston Rockets’ Carl Landry, and junior forward/center Andrew Goba (6 ft 9, #32), playing like the Trailblazers Ike Diogu, shared minutes running the frontcourt for SBU. Head coach Steve Pikiell, in many ways resembling Golden State Warriors’ coach Don Nelson, ran a perimeter oriented offense with an emphasis on pushing the fast break. When SBU did get into a half-court set they constantly passed the ball around the perimeter, but rarely did they run the offense through the post. At times in the game they lived and died by the three.

Their scrappy defense was the Seawolves biggest strength during the game. Steals and shot denials lead to fast breaks and quick points. Maryland-Eastern Shore was able to score uncontested down in the post, but SBU is likely to improve in that area as the season progresses.

Because the primary basketball arena is being renovated, the Pritchard student gymnasium is being used as SBU’s home court. So far, it has been a success. Students turned out in force and filled the gymnasium nearly to capacity. The dance team, cheerleaders, and school band were all in attendance and the crowd loudly showed our swagger like any Division I program should.

After winning their home opener, the Seawolves lost three consecutive games to LaFayette, Wagner, and American, 80-71, 65-62, and 56-53 respectively. Coming off two nail biting losses, the Seawolves defeated Columbia in a 62-60 win on Nov 29. The Men’s basketball team is currently 2-3 with their next home game this Friday against Lehigh at 7 pm. Stony Brook is also set to play Long Island rivals Hofstra at home on Wednesday, December 10.