Stony Brook used a 15-1 run to wrest control of the first half from Marist, and from there expanded their lead as large as 19 in their 71- 55 victory on Friday at a sold out Pritchard Gym.
Despite the loss of America East Player of the Year Tommy Brenton, senior Anthony Jackson scored a career-high 22 points to pace the Seawolves offense.
“I felt like I was locked in,” Jackson said. “I wanted to start off the season strong.”
Jackson was the beneficiary of open looks created by his sophomore teammate Jameel Warney, who casually found him underneath the basket past a double team in the post to give the Seawolves a 31-30 lead.
From there Warney dominated the glass, finding open cutters stifling Marist’s plan to double team him off the dribble.
“I had the butterflies for the first couple minutes,” Warney said. “Then when we took that lead we just all came together.”
Warney finished with a double-double with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 4 assists in a career-high 34 minutes.
“He’s our best passer,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. “Everyone knew to get him the ball, Jammel is a good passer and when we needed a big basket we know we can go to him.”
Marist controlled the first 16 minutes of the game, taking a lead as large as seven in the first half after junior Chavaughn Lewis went coast to coast for a layup. Junior Isaiah Morton carried the Red Foxes with effective three-point shooting, his 15 points were half of Marist’s 30 after 20 minutes. Marist also drew nine Stony Brook fouls in the first half, driving to the basket and creating contact, making 11 of 14 in the first half.
However it was the Seawolves who used the final four minutes to assert the dominance of a team that had won 24 of their last 25 at home. Senior Eric McAlister went over Adam Kemp for a dunk that led to a three point play, which brought the crowd back into the game.
“I just try to use my athleticism as best I can,” McAliser said who added that he will be able to showcase more of his strengths in Brenton’s absence.
Following McAlister’s three-point play that the Seawolves used it as part of a 15-1 run to take a 37-30 halftime lead. From there they shot slightly under 50 percent for the second half and broke the game open with a Jackson three pointer with 17:54 left, which forced Marist head coach Jeff Bower to call timeout.
Making his debut Bower said he was happy with the first 16 minutes of the game, but that his team will need to become more consistent.
“They did many things we were happy with, we just need to do it longer and more often,” Bower said. “We have to be able to do it as the game gets deeper and the stakes get higher.”
The junior Morton was held scoreless in the second half as Marist made just six of 27 three-point attempts for the game.
“I’d be much happier if we shot 27 and we made more than we did,” Bower said of the team’s shot selection. “I think that’s a product of inexperience and of taking what the defense forces you into. Something that we have to learn, our shot distribution and our spacing was tested tonight.”
Redshirt freshman Ahmad Walker led the Seawolves with five assists and drew a flagrant one for his elbow on Marist junior captain Chavaughn Lewis. Lewis left the game following the elbow and the injuries piled up for Marist late in the game. Junior T.J. Curry left the game favoring his ankle and senior captain Kemp was attended to after the game on the Marist sideline for what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and America East Conference for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.