Stony Brook managed to earn their first victory in the Long Island rivalry in eight years, picking up a 71-68 victory over Hofstra on Sunday.
With the victory the Suffolk county school notches their first win in the series with their Nassau county rival since Dec. 12, 2007 when the Seawolves pulled off a 77-74 win at Hofstra.
Jameel Warney led the Seawolves with 22 points and joked after the game when the box score showed he only had nine rebounds to lead the team instead of his customary double-double. The 6’8” senior was Stony Brook’s only double-digit scorer as the Seawolves shared the ball to make 50% of their second half field goals.
“Jameel earns every point he ever scores,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “He enjoys the double teams, so you know just had to get him to settle down a little bit and find the open man. He’s as good a passer as there is and he’d prefer to do that anyway, so had to get him to be a little more selfish to score.”
“He got better position in the second half, but their big guys are big and they’re strong. They had a great game plan to not let him get the ball, everyone has that game plan, but it’s a tough thing to do. We have a lot of ways we can get him the basketball.”
Here are four Stony Brook based thoughts from their win to lift them to 6-4 through the season’s first 10 games:
Seawolves Sharing the Ball – While Warney collected his customary points as Mihalich points out, they did manage to have six players score at least six points or more. The one with the fewest of that group, junior Ahmad Walker, managed to contribute in almost every other way by tallying six points, seven rebounds, eight assists to go with two steals.
When Carson Puriefoy exited with two early fouls after the game’s first four minutes, instead of the Seawolves struggling, they began to move the ball better with Lucas Woodhouse at point guard. Though they did not produce in the first half, scoring 0.81 points per possession, they managed to use that to their advantage in the second half.
“I think that in the first half we were kind of rushing a little bit,” Walker said. “In the second half we settled down and got used to them switching up their pressure and different types of defenses. We were able to connect on the plays we wanted to run.”
Particularly in the games final 10 minutes, the Seawoles found their groove. Walker found Warney for a layup over Gustys to put them up 52-49 and then on their next possession, other than managing four offensive rebounds, Warney got his own miss and converted to put the Seawolves up four.
It was also clear that Woodhouse helped improve how the Seawolves moved the ball when he was in the game. Stony Brook managed to break down Hofstra’s 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones, making extra passes to find open shooters, which is how they converted nine three-pointers on the night.
“We did a good job of moving the ball, our assist total was great,” Pikiell said. “I thought everyone checked into the game for us today really helped and needed every one of them.”
Puriefoy Comes Through – The senior Puriefoy picked up two fouls early, was forced to the bench and did not manage a gaudy point total with his seven points and four rebounds. He made just two field goals on the day, but those two were clutch.
Woodhouse found Puriefoy on the left wing to complete Stony Brook’s 6-0 spurt to claim the lead back from Hofstra at 50-46, a lead they would never give back to the Pride. His other three came after Bryan Sekunda found the senior open from the left wing to connect and put Stony Brook up four with just over four minutes to go.
“He’s a good guard,” Pikiell said. “He needed to make those free throws down the stretch and it wouldn’t have been as crazy at the end, but he’s played in a lot of big games.”
The fact that the Seawolves survived without him in the first half allowed him to, not necessarily thrive, but do enough to help lift them to a win.
Finding Their Shooting Touch – Stony Brook managed to connect on five of their eight three-point field goals in the second half, a byproduct of their strong ball movement turned into a reward when it counted.
“We really got it off of dribble penetration, which is what we wanted to,” Walker said of their three-point shooters. “They’re out there helping a lot on the back side and being able to attack the paint, and be able to get kick outs and get good shots rather than contested ones, which made it a hole lot easier for our three’s to go down.”
Stony Brook made nine three-pointers in total, three off their season-high set against non-Division I Farmingdale State. Their three-point total, though was their highest against a Division I opponent, and with four players converting those nine the Seawolves can be dangerous should other teams want to engage in a shooting contest with them.
Seawolves Clog The Lane – One reason why Hofstra could not produce offensively was thanks to Stony Brook’s defense inside, particularly Warney’s five blocks.
“I think it was critical,” Warney said. “It’s just another way to help your team. I feel like one of my strengths is helping out on the help side and blocking shots, so I’m happy I could provide the help today.”
Warney’s presence inside frustrated the Pride and forced them to make just 29% of their two-pointers for the game.
For that their reward is bragging rights, through the second game of their newly revived series.
“Last year they won, so they had the bragging rights for a whole year,” Warney said. “We’ve been thinking about it all summer and we’re just happy we got the bragging rights for this year.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.