New Hampshire made 14 three-pointers, none more important than freshman Daniel Dion’s form the left wing with 14.7 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 73-69 victory over Stony Brook on Saturday at Pritchard Gym.
The victory ends Stony Brook’s 23-game home win streak against America East opponents. The Seawolves last loss at home was to Boston University on February 4, 2011 in conference play.
Dion, who shared the lead with senior Jordon Bronner with four three-pointers made, added 11 of his 14 points in the second half.
“What I’m really proud of is we made plays down the stretch,” New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion said. “I think to beat a team, the caliber of these guys, you have to make plays and you have to make shots. Dion made a couple of big three’s, Pelcher had the big jump hook at the end. Our freshmen are we got a lot out of, our freshmen are pretty good.”
The freshman Dion drained a three-pointer from the left wing to turn a one point deficit into a 71-69 lead with 14.7 seconds remaining in a game that saw 13 lead changes.
“I was struggling shooting from the floor in the beginning of the game and the coaching staff really helped me out just telling me to keep shooting,” Dion said of his clutch three-pointer. “The teammates were always behind my back, Chris set a great screen, off a flare, I just shot it and it went in.”
Sophomore Carson Puriefoy, who missed the last three games with a groin injury, had the ball in his hands down two with 13.8 seconds left and was tasked with making something happen. However his drive to the basket got swallowed up in a double team near the right baseline and the ensuing tie up gave the Wildcats the ball.
“I was going to attack the rim but there was nowhere for me to go,” Puriefoy said. “I was stuck. I didn’t really know what to do, they made a good defensive play. They were making good defensive plays all game, they just made a good play on the ball.”
Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said in their final timeout, he told Puriefoy to get to the basket and either get fouled or make a play.
Puriefoy, who said he felt “80 percent”, led all scorers with 18 points off the bench. Bronner led the Wildcats with 16 points and senior Chris Pelcher notched a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jameel Warney also notched a double-double, adding 11 points and 10 rebounds, in the losing effort.
Stony Brook opened up a lead as large as five in the second half after being up 39-38 at halftime, but the Wildcats managed to cut into that lead and tie the game on a transition three-pointer from Scott Morris from the right wing. From there the lead would never get as far as three-points as Dion sank a three from the top of the key to give the Wildcats a 63-62 lead and Jaleen Smith drained a three from the left corner to put New Hampshire up 66-64 with 1:34 remaining.
The Seawolves would answer, after a timeout, and drew up an open look on the right wing for Dave Coley for three to put Stony Brook up 67-66 with 1:07 left, but the senior Pelcher responded with a jump hook from the middle of the paint over the head of Warney to put the Wildcats up one. Puriefoy would drive the right baseline and turn in a layup to put Stony Brook up one with just over 30 seconds left, but Dion’s clutch three gave the Wildcats a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
The senior Bronner iced the game with two free throws with 5.1 seconds left. New Hampshire made 11 of their 13 free throws for the game, while Stony Brook made 11 of 20 from the line.
“I just told the kids in the locker room what we have to do now to validate this win, we have to go home,” Herrion said. “We have Binghamton at home on Wednesday and now we have to go try to get the next one and climb the ladder in this league.”
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.