March 13, 2012
South Orange, N.J. - The Stony Brook men's basketball team outrebounded Seton Hall, 44-23, and had the same amount of field goals and three-pointers made as its opponent, but the Seawolves fell two points short in their bid to defeat a BIG EAST team, losing to the Pirates, 63-61, Tuesday night at Walsh Gymasnium in the first round of the NIT.
Stony Brook's season comes to an end as the the program's most successful since becoming a Division I program in 1999 with a 22-10 record, an America East regular season championship and its second national postseason tournament appearance. Seton Hall (21-12) advances to play Massachusetts in the second round of the NIT.
Senior Dallis Joyner (Norfolk, Va.) led the Seawolves with 14 points and added nine rebounds. Junior Marcus Rouse (Upper Marlboro, Md.) chipped in 13 points off the bench. Senior Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.), playing near his hometown in front of over 35 family members and friends, added 12 points and finishes his career as the program's all-time leading Div. I scorer with 1,609 points. Junior Tommy Brenton (Columbia, Md.) added four points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Jordan Theodore led Seton Hall with 21 points. Herb Pope added 20 points and nine rebounds.
"It was a tough game, but we battled hard against a good BIG EAST team," head coach Steve Pikiell said. "I liked how we fought back from a poor first half and had a chance to win the game at the end. I wanted to win this game for this team because I wanted to keep coaching this team. This is a great group of players that had a great season."
Stony Brook had trailed by six points, 63-57, with 1:55 remaining in the game when the Seawolves fought back with one more run. Both teams missed free throws before senior Danny Carter (Windsor, England) converted a layup off a pass from Brenton and drew a foul. He completed the three-point play with a free throw to make it 63-60 with 1:27 to go.
On the ensuing possession, Dougher blocked a Theodore layup attempt in the lane, and Rouse picked up the ball and drove down and drew a foul going up for a shot. He made one of two free throws to cut the SBU deficit to two, 63-61, with 59.7 seconds to play.
Stony Brook tightened up on defense and got a stop when Theodore missed a jumper, and the Seawolves now had the chance to tie or win on the final shot. Dougher got the ball and took a game-winning three-point attempt that was off the mark. Brenton got a hand on it and tried to tip the ball in, but the ball fell off the rim at the buzzer.
The ending was unexpected after the first 10 minutes of the game when Stony Brook was not making any shots and committing turnovers. After Joyner tipped in a senior Al Rapier (Chicago, Ill.) miss to start the game up 2-0, the Pirates scored the next 12 points over an eight minute stretch.
Dougher finally broke the cold spell with a three-pointer at 11:04, and that was followed by a Brenton steal and dunk and a sophomore Dave Coley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) three-point play that cut the deficit to five, 15-10.
Rouse assisted in the comeback with 10 points in the final five minutes, including a corner three-pointer with seven seconds left to send the Seawolves into halftime down only by two, 32-30.
After Aaron Cosby nailed a three-pointer to put Seton Hall up 35-30, the Seawolves went on a 9-1 run, punctuated by a Joyner layup at 16:03 that gave Stony Brook a 39-36 lead.
Seton Hall answered back as Theodore scored the next six Pirates points. Seton Hall went up 46-43 before Dougher drilled another three-pointer to tie the game at 46-46 with 10:13 to play.
The Pirates scored the next six points to go up seven before Stony Brook began its comeback that led to the final sequence.