Stony Brook’s men’s basketball team is heading directly for an American East Conference Championship and the NCAAs, if their current momentum is any indication.
Following a defeat by the University of Vermont on February 12, the Seawolves came right back to best Northeastern in a decisive 76-69 win on the Huskies’ home turf.
Junior Tommy Brenton orchestrated the offense on Saturday, kicking the team’s energy into high gear in the second half. He was one of three players to end the game with double digits, scoring 13 points and adding seven rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and two steals to the action.
Sophomore guard Dave Coley matched a career-high of 21 points, previously set against Boston University in the early days of the season. Senior Dallis Joyner added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds and remained a solid force inside the paint, making Northeastern look outside to their jump shooters.
The Seawolves, whose record from the free throw line was a satisfactory 13-19, relied on their inside game and speed to match the three-pointers of the Huskies, who went 10-17 from behind the arc.
Since their February 9 win against UMBC, the long shots have not been falling for Stony Brook. In their game against Vermont, the Seawolves went a startling 0-15 from the three-point line.
Their comeback against Northeastern was typical of what fans hope to see in the coming weeks leading up to the America East Conference and the bid for the NCAAs: the Seawolves will not fall asleep on defense with a lead, and they will not get frustrated when they’re down.
Under the leadership of Head Coach Steve Pikiell, the men keep to their plays and buckle down, not rushing or panicking as time begins to run out. With the added bonus of Tommy Brenton, who knows when to dish the ball out and flash into the paint and how to keep cool in big moments, the Seawolves are looking for a trip to the ‘Big Dance.’
Brenton, who was out for the entirety of last season due to injury, including the heart wrenching two-point loss to Boston University that would have led to the first NCAA bid in Stony Brook’s history, is one of the conference’s leading rebounders, averaging 8.85 rebounds a game. He could be the missing piece in the NCAA puzzle.
Stony Brook is at the top of the America East Conference, but their loss to UVM keep the dreams of the Huskies alive for the top seed.
The Conference Championships are set to begin on Saturday, March 3, at the University of Hartford in Connecticut.
The Seawolves will face Hartford at noon on February 21, and the Maine Black Bears at noon on February 26 at home before beginning Conference play.