Pritchard Gymnasium will host its final regular season game on Sunday when Stony Brook takes on Albany in what could be the final game at the school before Stony Brook Arena opens in the fall of 2014.
Unless the Seawolves host the America East championship on Saturday March 15 or a postseason tournament game, Sunday’s game will mark the final contest before the men’s basketball team moves into its new-old digs which have just gotten a $21.1 million facelift.
“Pritchard has been great for us, it really has, but it’s also time,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. “Pritchard has been a great home court advantage. It’s hard to get into the games, they fight for tickets, they won’t have to next year.”
During this season, Stony Brook’s 23-game win streak against America East opponents was snapped with a 73-69 loss to New Hampshire. The Seawolves will look to extend their home record to 12-2 and beat the Great Danes for the first time since last season’s senior day.
Sophomore Carson Puriefoy said that he has heard that playing against the Seawolves at Pritchard is one of the most difficult places to play in the America East.
“When a big play happens, a dunk or a three-point play, it gets really loud in this tight space,” Puriefoy said. “It’s definitely hard to hear sometimes, but I feel like it benefits us more than the other team.”
Stony Brook has won 20 games or more in each of the last three seasons. During that time they have compiled a 35-4 record at home. However, the Seawolves say they are ready to move into the new arena.
“Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to play in a big arena,” Puriefoy said. “Now, we’re getting the opportunity to play in a very nice arena, something I’ve always wanted.”
“I’m excited, but it’s more for the community,” Warney said of moving into the renovated arena next season. He joked that if his shots don’t go in, at the new arena, that they will move back to Pritchard. The sophomore has shot 65% from the field in home games this season.
Pikiell, who became the winningest coach in Stony Brook history during this season, said he hopes that the home court advantage from Pritchard carries over into the new arena.
“I’ve lost recruits because of the facilities, in the past, and I’m excited about having a top-rated facility,” Pikiell said .”We’re going to have to build it and make it one of the best facilities, we made Pritchard that, so we’re going to have to do that with the new place too.
“We’re looking forward to that challenge. Our guys have done a good job of winning home games and we got to continue that in the new arena that’s for sure.”
Stony Brook has won all but two home games this season, their two losses against St. Francis (Brooklyn) and New Hampshire came by a combined six points.
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.