Stony Brook (9-4) defeated Columbia (9-6) to earn their fifth straight win on Saturday Jan. 2 at the Island Federal Credit Union Arena and remain undefeated at home this season. They outscored Columbia in the second half 44-24.
SBU and Columbia had three players in double figures with two seniors and a junior each. For SBU, it was Jameel Warney, Carson Puriefoy and Ahmad Walker. For Columbia, it was Maodo Lo, Grant Mullins and Luke Petrasek.
Columbia started off scoring 36 points with 21 of them coming from deep in the first half. They went seven of 10 from beyond the arc in the first half and held SBU to 25 points who shot 31.3 percent in the first half. Columbia went 13-27 shooting in the first half.
SBU’s leading scorer Warney did not see much of the floor in the first half. He committed two fouls early and had five points in 10 minutes. However, he redeemed his performance in the second half. He finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in 28 minutes. He went 7-14 from the field and went 6-9 from the foul line. During their five-game winning streak, Warney averaged 21.2 points per game.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Warney said. “We love playing in front of our home crowd. We’ve been down before.Tonight we played a little bit of defense and the ball found its way into the basket.”
Columbia struggled with shooting and taking care of the basketball in the second half. They only made eight shots and shot 28.6 percent, missing 20 of their 28 shot attempts. Columbia turned the ball over six times and the second half was a nightmare for them in that category as they turned it over 13 times.
Puriefoy finished second in scoring for SBU and had 18 points along with four steals, all of them coming in the second half. He had 14 of his 18 points in the second half. Puriefoy described how they were able to bounce back in the second half.
“We just needed to buckle down on defense,” Puriefoy said. “Once our defense picked up, our shots started to fall.”
Walker finished third in scoring for SBU and put up 11 points and seven rebounds. Walker also had a team-high three of the team’s seven turnovers which is SBU’s season-low.
After Mullins buried a three with 17:41 remaining, it increased Columbia’s lead 42-25 and SBU called a timeout. After that timeout, SBU scored on eight of its nine possessions and eventually tied the game at 45 after an Ahmad Walker three-point play with 11:03 remaining. During SBU’s massive run, Columbia turned the ball over eight times and made one shot out of their 11 attempts. They scored 3 points in a little over nine and a half minutes.
Columbia’s top scorers combined for 14 of the 19 turnovers the Lions committed. Mullins led the Lions in scoring with 14 points. He also had five rebounds, three assists, two steals and committed three turnovers in 30 minutes played. Lo, the team’s leading scorer this season, concluded with 12 points, six rebounds, three steals, two assists but committed five turnovers in 32 minutes played. Petrasek finished third in scoring with 11 points, had a team-high seven rebounds, two assists and was tied for team-high in turnovers with Lo with five. Petrasek played 29 minutes.
SBU Head Coach Steve Pikiell has much respect for Columbia and was very happy with the comeback victory. “Columbia’s very good,” Pikiell said. “They’re going to be a 20-win team. I loved our intensity down the stretch. We were able to claw back and pick up a nice victory.”
SBU now moves into conference play for the rest of the year and they’ve won nine non-conference games which ties the program record which was also done in 2012 and 2014.
The Seawolves travel up to Binghamton (3-10) to play their first conference game on Wednesday Jan. 6 at 7:00 p.m. on ESPN3.