Stony Brook, playing against one of the slowest teams in the country, managed to get a 10-0 run on American in the middle of the second half and distanced themselves past the Eagles 59-47 Tuesday night at Island Federal Credit Union Arena.
Ray Curren, Sam Blum and I were all there — so we will have plenty of analysis from this game. For now, here are three Stony Brook thoughts on their sixth home victory at the new arena.
Warney, not on ‘A’ game, but enough to carry Stony Brook – Jameel Warney certainly didn’t bring his best performance on Tuesday night, but he didn’t have to and Steve Pikiell knew as much.
“He had to help us with all the dribble hand offs, the pass and follows and all the action that they run,” Pikiell said. “Our five man has to be in the middle of it, take away backdoors and so he had to be great defensively tonight, that was my whole key with him, be great defensively.”
The 6’8″ junior struggled to get his offensive game going, but managed a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds by the game’s final moments.
“It’s just get as many rebounds as you can and keep being aggressive,” Warney said. “Even with an off night I helped my team in other ways.”
Warney managed to be a dominating force, grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds and four offensive rebounds — which was more than American totaled as a team on the night (3).
“I thought that was key and the huge key was three offensive rebounds,” Pikiell said. “They got three offensive rebounds, it’s a huge key for us in this game to keep them away from the ball.”
The only two games where the Eagles have been held to fewer than three offensive rebound were a two-point win over LaSalle (2) and a 15-point loss to Illinois where they failed to get a single offensive rebound.
Puriefoy bounces back from halftime scare – When junior Carson Puriefoy went for the final rebound of the first half, he appeared to receive an inadvertent elbow from an opposing player to his body. He went down onto one knee, but was able to get up under his own power and leave.
Puriefoy said that he got clipped in the thigh and was bruised, but managed to ice it in the locker room at halftime. The injury did not slow him down in the second half. He scored six straight points to start the second frame to put the Seawolves up five and finished with a game-high 18 points.
“My teammates were getting me the ball in the right spots and fortunately I was hitting some shots,” Puriefoy said. “They got me in good spots and they got me going.”
Options developing for Seawolves – In a low possession game like this, Pikiell knew it was good to have two rocks leading the way in Puriefoy and Warney. Just those two would usually be fine against a team that likes to slow it down, but the development of the Seawolves’ bench paid dividends throughout Tuesday’s game.
Ray McGrew has become a solid third option for the Seawolves and he finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Almost as important was freshman Roland Nyama, who drew a foul call on a three-pointer in the right corner after Jesse Reed ran into him. He made two of the three free throws, missing the third, but Warney grabbed the rebound and got fouled. Warney made two, and in a matter of two seconds, with just over three and a half minutes to go, Stony Brook’s lead stretched from four to seven.
The bench even showed signs of contributing, whether it was Kameron Mitchell’s three-pointer, which rattled around the basket seemingly forever until dropping home with 2:45 left to cap the Stony Brook 10-0 run, or Jakub Petras’ four points in the first half off of two nifty assists from Puriefoy.
The Seawolves are starting to see the pieces come together for an America East run as they hit the holiday break. Their reward on the other end is a trip out to Washington on Dec. 28.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.