Senior Anthony Jackson appeared to be in the right place at the right time to save the Seawolves Friday night.
After a lead as large as 17 was cut to six, the senior drained a three-pointer to answer the run. Then, after Vermont freshman Kurt Steidl nailed a contested three-pointer by Jackson on the other end, the senior sixth man called for the ball again on left wing by shaking both his arms.
Dave Coley’s pass from the right wing found to Jackson and his three-point answer put Stony Brook up 58-49. The senior would score 16 off the bench, his highest total since returning from a three-game suspension for a violation of team rules.
“It’s big emotion,” Jackson said of his clutch three’s. “I’m thankful to be here and thankful to be at Stony Brook to play basketball, and a big game like that emotions run through everybody. I just that’s what I felt I needed to do.”
After serving a three-game suspension, where he did not practice with the team, Jackson has come back as the team’s sixth man. Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell likes to say that he has “six starters” between his starting five and Jackson.
“I think we have six starters,” Pikiell said. “Tre was great coming off the bench, he can score and A.J. can score too.”
“I think we have an unselfish group of guys. I don’t really think that stuff matters to them, which is a good thing, but Tre was great coming off the bench he gives us instant energy. Now we got our best shooter coming off the bench, so gives us a lift and the way fouls are being called, you really need that bench to be productive for you.”
The senior Jackson said he is happy with his new role as the first player Pikiell calls upon off the bench.
“I like it. It’s whatever I can do to help the team,” Jackson said. “Whatever my role becomes or whatever it is, I want to take it head on and do what I have to do to help the team win.”
For somene who comes off the bench, Jackson saw all but two minutes of the second half. He guarded Steidl heavily during the final period, denying him touches late when the Catamounts tried to tie the game on multiple occasions.
“They were killing us on that play the entire night,” Jackson said of Steidl’s hot shooting. “One of the assistant coaches told me he was coming to my way and I felt like they were coming my way at that moment in time, I just felt like I needed to nut up and guard him.”
Despite the offense struggling in the second half on Friday night, Jackson said the team continues to learn the lesson of giving effort for a full game.
“Second half I think it was a learning experience, as it’s been this entire season, to play 40 minutes,” Jackson said. “We can’t get that in our head, to play 40 minutes in a basketball game, I feel like it was a learning experience.”
Ryan Restivo covers the America East conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com