David O'Connor

About David O'Connor

David is a Political Science and Journalism double-major. He is currently a senior at Stony Brook University and has spent all four of his years at The Statesman. He began his career there within a couple of weeks of starting college as a freshman and has remained there ever since. He was originally primarily interested in sports reporting but then branched out his interests to the news and arts spheres of journalism and life. He hopes to pursue Political Science and one day work in the U.S. State Department.

Evolution of Disney princesses shows societal progress

It’s time to look deeply into something that most would rather just take at face value: Disney princesses. From having your palm get more acquainted with your face when Snow White eats the poisoned apple to wishing that your overly hairy boyfriend would sprout light from his toes and become sexy, people have crossed the vast expanse of emotions while watching Disney movies and wishing that they could be a part of the story. One of the most interesting points to be made about these movies, and notably their heroines, is how the role of important female characters has evolved through the 20th and early 21st centuries alongside the societal role of the American woman.

From Walt Disney’s first animated feature in 1937, Snow White was the first Disney princess. There is nothing overtly wrong with her character, but there is nothing outside of her ability to summon animals to help clean a house that is incredibly good about her either. For the character after whom the movie is named, she doesn’t do a great deal of important tasks. She cooks, cleans, and kisses the men—all seven of them—as they go on their way to the office, or the diamond mine in this case.

While this would cause many to roll their eyes today, it wasn’t a scandal when the movie first came to theaters. For all of Walt Disney’s qualities, he wasn’t noticeably progressive. He didn’t portray women in his movies in a way that differed radically from what 1930s America expected. This isn’t calling Disney a sexist; he wasn’t an anti-women’s rights advocate by any stretch of the imagination. He was just a product of his time.

Snow White is one example of a general trend of the behavior of her fellow Disney Princesses of this time. In general, these women were not incredibly active. They primarily have stuff done to them, whether it involves being given a magical dress and pumpkin carriage or put to sleep until the handsome prince comes to give true love’s kiss. The Disney Princesses may be the main characters, but they ultimately are not the ones accomplishing heroic feats in their stories.

Advancing a few decades to the late 1980’s and beyond, audiences saw a new generation of Disney princesses like Ariel, Belle and Jasmine. One easily noticeable difference between this lineup and those who followed them compared to the older movies is the ethnic and racial diversity. Thankfully, our society can have a black or Arab heroine without making a fuss about it.

One of the most crucial differences in the story, however, is the nature of the heroines. Their characters are more complex and they have interests that, in past times, would have been deemed unfit for women. In fact, these differences were sometimes highlighted. From Beauty and the Beast, the first Disney movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, Belle takes an interest in reading and finding a new life for herself outside her local community. This is in stark opposition to the insensitive and significantly dim-witted Gaston, who would have her be his housewife and validation of his popularity in the town.

The later Disney Princesses have a far more active role in their stories and are often the most important characters in those stories. From Enchanted, released in 2007, one character openly remarks how it is not the prince, but the princess who is coming to the rescue.

Ultimately, these are just movies and not vehicles of social policy, whether for traditional or progressive values. They are fantastical worlds for children and those who have retained parts of their inner child. That being said, art in the form of cinema has evolved as we have evolved as a culture. The movies that we release are in part a statement of who we are and what we value. With that in mind, it is comforting to think that we have kept the magic but can see how dreams are dreams whether they’re in a little boy or girl’s head. That’s a world that I think we should all want to be a part of.

Impasses in Congress force states to take their own action

This week, the United States Senate decided the will and opinion of approximately 90 percent of the American people didn’t matter and did not pass a measure that would have vastly expanded the background check system for purchasing firearms. It is not the first, nor will it be the last time, that Congress disappoints its constituents, but there is a larger trend emerging here. From the strong possibility of striking down the Defense of Marriage Act to not enforcing new gun laws, the federal government appears to feel less able to take any position on social issues and prefers neutrality over either pleasing or angering its base of voters.

All of this has not caused a lack of new social policy laws, however. Activism on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, gun regulation, etc. is still very strong and pushes through laws aimed at advancing a position on those issues. The difference is that those new laws are not coming from the federal government; they’re coming from the state governments.

For example, the states of New York and Connecticut, the scene of the Newtown massacre in December, have passed some of the strictest gun control legislation in the nation in the past few months. Arkansas and North Dakota have passed some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country recently. And as for the issue of same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court itself may rule that it is an issue for the states to decide individually, declaring that the federal government should provide marriage benefits based on each state’s definition of marriage, not a national definition.

Despite close to 250 years of the federal government’s growing more influential relative to the states, it is remarkable how much control each U.S. state has over its local affairs. In the last couple of decades, state autonomy appears to have had a revival. The federal government has not shown the social activism that it once did back in the 1960s and 70’s when it was one of many proponents of the Civil Rights movement, for example.

One boring, yet not to be forgotten, fact is that the United States has gotten a lot bigger since that time. As our friend Bill Nye reminded us on Friday, the country has added more than 100,000,000 people since the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. It has become increasingly difficult for the central government to accommodate the interests and desires of an increasingly larger and more diverse population. To add on to that, interest groups and lobbyists have become very strong as they have better resources, otherwise known as billions of dollars, at their disposal to influence national policy.

Interest groups can, of course, influence state policy as well, but one of the things that a state has going for it that the entire country doesn’t is that it has a more concentrated population that tends to share similar views. Of course voters within each state have differing views, but voters in solid blue or red states tend to be generally more in line with one another on social policy within their states than with other parts of the country.

To offer examples of this, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, formerly a Republican, is an advocate for same-sex marriage and addressing climate change, and Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia is a guns rights advocate and has received a high rating from the National Rifle Association. These men have been consistently gotten re-elected, so they must be doing something to please their voters.

A lot of Democrat and Republican voters will vote for Obama and Romney, respectively, but for the candidate of the opposite party for senator or congressman. This is because someone may agree with the Democrat or Republican Party on a national level but be relatively liberal or conservative within their own state. To continue with the example of Senator Manchin, he may be a Democrat, but he’s a West Virginia Democrat that has many of the social views of the majority of West Virginians.

To return to the first point, the sclerosis and incompetence of the federal government to put together any coherent social policy has forced states to make their own efforts. Voter confidence in Congress has sunk to pitiful levels, but their approval of state governments remains relatively strong.

As the federal government appears unable to put forth the policies that voters think are essential to maintain the public good, they will increasingly turn to their state governments to at least win the policy war at home if not for the entire country. Ultimately, given the system we currently have, this might be the most sensible solution. One would have to fundamentally reform the way the federal government works and is elected if they wanted it to be a more efficient and effective entity.

Chavez is still dead

Earlier this year, one of the best-known figures of early 21st century Latin America passed away. Hugo Chavez left his mark on the international political scene and was perhaps the most vocal critic of the United States since Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba for decades.

On Sunday, the Venezuelan people went to the polls to choose Chavez’s successor between the acting president and man who most likely would have been his choice, Nicolas Maduro, and Governor Henrique Capriles from the state of Miranda. The latter lost to Chavez in last October’s elections.

Chavez can easily be described as a controversial figure. He has drawn praise and resentment from multiple world leaders, many of them not endearing to the public. He made no secret of his close ties to President Mahmud Ahmadinejad of Iran and also recently departed Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

The question that many Americans who are following the events in South America is probably how this election and its outcome will affect the United States and its relationship with Latin America. The answer is unclear. Maduro, if he tries to please the same voter base that supported Chavez, would most likely try to maintain the cold peace that has existed between Venezuela and the United States for the past decade. On the other hand, Capriles has said that he would try to re-establish closer ties with America.

But the latter position should not be confused with crawling on shattered glass to beg for Uncle Sam’s forgiveness. Latin America has gone through vast changes in the past few decades. The Monroe Doctrine from the 1820s, the manifesto on which the United States based its interventionist policies in Latin America for generations, is an impossible fantasy. As the world observed in 2003, the United States can no longer invade other countries at will without drawing international fury. To add on to that, several Latin American countries are strong nations in their own right, and they would not tolerate being treated as inferiors.

While Chavez is not responsible for the economic ascendance of Latin America, he did succeed in breaking the illusion that many Americans had that the interests of this region and its people couldn’t be taken seriously. Even if one is not a Chavez supporter, he would not have gotten into power on a leftist and anti-American agenda if the United States did not give the people of Venezuela something to be anti-American about. The election and presidency of Chavez made the Untied States hear that loud and clear.

This is not the Cuban Missile Crisis Part Two; the United States and Latin America are not sworn enemies for all time. However, the people and nations of Latin America have sent the United States a message: we are perfectly willing to do business with you, but as equals, not as pseudo-colonies.

As it should with any country or region, the United States should try to make the most of what international trade and ties have to offer, but it has to understand that the old way of doing things is over.

Keep strong separation between church and state without persecution

One-first century rebel once said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s; render unto God that which is God’s.” It’d be a bit of a stretch to suggest that Jesus was endorsing a separation of church and state, and putting words in Jesus’ mouth has occasionally gotten people either burned alive or a lawsuit from the ACLU, so it’s best to avoid that.

That being said, the separation of church and state has become one of the founding principles of our society. Though the interpretation of the law may vary, the belief in its legitimate standing in our body of law is generally unquestioned. But one has to be careful that their religious and moral beliefs do not subtly or bluntly become public policy. Governance is a difficult business, especially over a vast and diverse country  like the U.S.

A country’s diversity or lack thereof should not set a degree for the mandate of government impartiality in religious and moral matters. The United States is fortunate that there is such diversity on so many different levels that philosophical tyranny of a majority ranges from  difficult to impossible, but finding that fine line between maintaining a moral society and making your morals that society becomes even more difficult in a country where one branch of a religion or ethnicity has an overwhelming majority. One need only look at the influence Christianity has had on this country’s governance to see that.

However, this can and does go the other way. Ensuring freedom of religion should not mean freedom from religion, but this arguably happens in certain countries that have taken measures to prohibit, for example, the wearing of certain religious clothing such as crosses, head scarves, etc. in public places. Ultimately, it is a sum of a country’s people that make its national identity, not what one group, whether a majority or not, believes is right and wants to impose on the rest of the country. Ironically, making laws that suggest that certain people are outcasts leads to them feeling like outcasts. Why should an Algerian immigrant in France, for example, accept the French way of life when they haven’t accepted him or her as being legitimately French?

The danger with creating an atmosphere where everyone either has to be on the attack or defense about religion and moral matters is that no one ever wants to talk about it, many of them for noble reasons. But stifling discussion and openness about faith leads to the prejudices and stereotypes that drive groups further apart, which only further expands the perceived divide between different groups.

The fact that these people of varying faiths can get along when they aren’t discussing their faith should be an indicator that they aren’t so fundamentally different that they can’t hold a simple conversation. Most people have more in common than they have differences. The way you achieve a true melting pot is by establishing civil peace based on what brings different people together rather than what divides them, and what divides them should not lead to one’s dominance over the other. That’s not civil peace; that’s civil war on a different level.

Returning to the point, the separation of church and state is a delicate balance and must be appreciated as such. As long as people have the internal ability to make their own decisions, the entirety of a population will not share the same beliefs. One would find some differences even in a country of two people. It’s not the government’s job to decide who is right; it’s to govern properly.

In the end, the best way to ensure stability and order among a population is to get involved as little as necessary to prevent chaos.

Keying off of that, the amount of destruction and doom brought with a same-sex marriage or a woman choosing to wear a headscarf has thus far been minimal.

Europe in a state of crisis

Europe is in a state of crisis, but not the one that is typically talked about. The continent is certainly going through difficult economic straits in the past few years; that is undeniable. What remains more elusive is the painful slowdown and recession of opportunity that is settling closer in the lives and towns of many places in Europe and its people. The cause of this stark outlook comes in the inequality of Europe’s peoples, not only within some of the countries in the European Union (EU) and the Eurozone, but also between its nations. This fundamental understanding of what it means to be a European and what Europe is has to change by leaps and bounds to create a better Europe that is as vital to the future of the larger world as is the United States.

There is no need to go over once again the specific circumstances that lead up to the current financial recession, if that is even a suitable world to describe the crisis that has befallen countries such as Spain, Greece, etc. That being said, the shaky groundwork underneath the lifestyle that many Europeans believed they could perpetually enjoy was smoke and mirrors constructed by economists, politicians, and other leaders who did not have the courage to fix the problems in the system, one of the most important being how some people, such as a prospective opposition leader in Italy, treat governance as a shadow game of interests and profits rather than a solemn duty to ensure stability and opportunity.

Unfortunately, even if the specific measures to counter the recession and bring suffering countries into economic order are not directed specifically at the average person, it is he or she who is suffering the most now. Unemployment in the Eurozone is above 10 percent and even 20 percent in some countries. Within those numbers, youth unemployment in some countries stands above 50 percent, and there is no knowing when those numbers will come down. People are forcibly removed from their homes with no place to go. Their life savings have been reduced to dust, and the national governments have no means of reversing that on their own or pushing for the growth to get the economy going again.

In many cases, that has not been absent attempts to try to do so. Though there are certainly some who rather than really live up to their jobs as “public servants” and have instead reaped the benefits of corrupted systems, there are many leaders in Europe whose real interest is to raise their countries from the ashes, give opportunity to those currently without hope, and prevent the steady stream of gifted young minds leaving for other nations of Europe or beyond the boundaries of the continent.

The great danger is that, though this recession should end, the balance in Europe will be so shifted against countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and so many others that they will remain economically dependent on the European northwest. As is the case with many opportunistic people in the United States leaving less prosperous states and towns for more opportunistic places, the same could happen in Europe. As the system is set up, there is nothing that any member of the EU can do to prevent migrants from entering or leaving their territory and possibly never returning. And a general outflow of peoples from certain parts of Europe can result in the eventual cultural destruction of those regions. Large or small, the Europe of the future needs to a product of all of its peoples from every nation within, not the top stone of a pyramid built by France, Germany, and Britain should it choose to remain in the EU.

The current crisis and the troubles to come are not exclusively the fault of the nation-states of Europe, but the current system is part of the reason why it continues. Some of the countries outside of the Eurozone are able to return to economic stability because they are in greater control of their own sovereignty. They have the means to rescue themselves. The countries of the Eurozone do not. Sovereignty over the nations that use the Euro currency is caught in a limbo between those national governments and the institutions of the European Union. Neither side of that divide has the means and tools to deal the present and future problems of this region.

But there is only one direction: forward. The Euro cannot be undone without a regional and global economic catastrophe following it. Too much has been done to make it a part of the global system that to remove it would cause a still fragile global economy to crumble like the blocks in a game of jenga. The recovery from such an event would take decades.

The Eurozone has one viable and long term solution: it must integrate and properly delegate powers to the European and national institutions so as to ensure a stable and opportunistic sovereign territory. For lack of a better way of phrasing it, it must become a country in its own right.
This might appear to be a stupid idea to those who see the European institutions in having just as much culpability as anyone else in the severity of the current crisis, and they arguably have a point. The institutions as they currently exist and the people running them have not made the situation better, or at least not yet. It can very easily be argued that the perpetual austerity policy has done more to continue the recession rather than end it. However, all of this does not mean that Europe is the problem.

Nearly two and a half centuries ago, the national government of the United States of America was not suited to deal with the problems of a nation. Today, the institutions of the European Union have been thus far unsuccessful to deal with what amount to national problems. It may time for a similar change.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been a leader of the debates to solve the European Debt Crisis. ( PHOTO CREDIT/ MCT CAMPUS)

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been a leader of the debates to solve the European Debt Crisis. ( PHOTO CREDIT/ MCT CAMPUS)

No country should be forced into this. No people should be tied up and dragged into Europe against their will. Should any country, in or out of the Eurozone, not want a part of what could be a United States of Europe, it is not the business of those who believe in Europe to force them into it.
The Europe to come will only last if it is built by peoples who truly want it. It would be useful to remember that the convention that wrote the American Constitution was not the Articles of Confederation Congress or the state legislatures but rather a group of men who were intended to be representatives of the people. Then the state legislatures, the closer level of government to the people at the time, passed the Constitution one at a time. If there is to be a United States of Europe, it must be created by its people, not by the European institution itself.

Max Brooks Talks About Book, Movie and Zombies In Interview

Max Brooks visits Stony Brook University Thursday evening to talk to students about zombie survival tactics. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Max Brooks visits Stony Brook University Thursday evening to talk to students about zombie survival tactics. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Prominent author and zombie preparedness expert Max Brooks will be coming to Stony Brook University on Thursday evening to help prepare the campus should zombies ever strike as they did in his works Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, the latter which will be released in theaters later this year.

“I’d love to talk to Stony Brook students about how to survive a zombie attack,” Brooks said. “I think, with the right planning, Long Island could become quite a defensible haven for humanity. It’s very rare that you have on one piece of land Queens and the Hamptons.”

Brook’s connection to the zombie genre began a young age and has remained with him to this day.

“When I was a kid, I saw my first zombie movie and it terrified me like no other monster, and there’s nothing more primal than fear.”

Later in life, Brooks took that fear and translated it into words that have become popular pieces within a growing part of science fiction literature.

“I made it work. Like I said, I’ve always been scared of zombies. I wrote my first book: Zombie Survival Guide. I wanted to write another zombie book, but I didn’t want to write just another zombie-adventure story. Everybody was doing that. They were doing it very well, and I had a lot of questions that no one was answering, so I set out to answer my own questions.”

World War Z is due to come out on June 21, directed by Marc Foster and staring Brad Pitt.

“How does it feel?” he said. “It doesn’t feel like much right now because I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t really know what they’re doing. We’ll have to wait until the movie comes out.”

With that in mind, Brooks will be sure to do everything he can to inform the Stony Brook community and beyond as to survive a real humans vs. zombies war.
———————————————————————–
Full Q&A with David O’Connor (DO) and Max Brooks (MB).

DO: You seem to care more about the quality of the zombie genre than being successful
yourself. Where did this intense passion come from?

MB: Fear! Zombies scare the crap out of me. It’s that simple. When I was a kid, I saw my first zombie movie and it terrified me like no other monster, and there’s nothing more primal than fear.

DO: WWZ is obviously slated to be released soon. What did it feel like to know your book
was being turned into a movie and having little say in its creative direction?

MB: That’s a really good question. How does it feel? It doesn’t feel like much right now
because I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t really know what they’re doing. We’ll
have to wait until the movie comes out.

DO: How does it feel to have Brad Pitt starring in a movie adaptation of a book you wrote?

MB: That’s a really good question. How does it feel? Like I said, I don’t know how it feels
yet. I have to see the movie.

DO: What made you decide to not write the movie’s screenplay?

MB: What made me decide not to write it? Well not being asked helped the decision-making process.

DO: Where did your inspiration for WWZ come from?

MB: I made it work. Like I said, I’ve always been scared of zombies. I wrote my first book:
Zombie Survival Guide. I wanted to write another zombie book, but I didn’t want to write
just another zombie-adventure story. Everybody was doing that. They were doing it very
well, and I had a lot of questions that no one was answering, so I set out to answer my
own questions.

DO: Why did you decide to stretch the time period in WWZ to encompass the entire war?

MB: I wanted to talk about the whole war. Wars take a long time. I was interested in the entire war so that’s the story I wanted to tell.

DO: Between The Zombie Survival Guide and WWZ, which did you enjoy writing more?
Which are you prouder of now?

MB: I’m proud of them both. They both are written from the heart, and they both answer
different questions. Zombie survival guide is much more personal in that it’s much more
individual. How would an individual group of people survive? And World War Z is big.
What would governments do? What would the whole world do? They were both fulfilling
prophecies.

DO: Have you got anything in the works right now?

MB: Yeah, several projects. Right now I have a comic book series, a limited series, for which I think we’re going to be making an official announcement in a couple weeks. So that’s next on the docket for me. We also have the unabridged audio book for World War Z
which is coming out. We have an amazing cast for that. That was a lot of hard work, but
that was really fulfilling casting these people and working with them. And then I have a
graphic novel coming out in about a year. It’s taken me about 13 years to complete.

DO: Do you stay involved in current zombie works right now such as the Walking Dead?

MB: I love the comics, and I loved the first season of the show. The first season I thought was unbelievable, but I checked out when they fired Frank Darabont, the creator.

DO: Why did you decide to come to Stony Brook University?

MB: You wanted me to come. You asked me to come, and I said, sure, I’d love to talk to
Stony Brook students about how to survive a zombie attack. I was born in New York.
It’s my second home. I think, with the right planning, Long Island could become quite
a defensible haven for humanity. It’s an island, that’s a start. Unfortunately it’s right
next to Manhattan, the largest population zone in the world, so I think it would require
a certain amount of planning and care to turn Long Island into a fortress. It’s also one of
the most diverse islands in the world. It’s very rare that you have on one piece of land
Queens and the Hamptons.

DO:  Was there any particular historical figure you drew inspiration from for World War Z
such as Churchill?

MB: All of them. I’m a history buff. I was a history major in college. I’m a history nerd before
I’m a science fiction nerd, so everything that happened in World War Z is based on a
true historical event. Pretty much every character in it has some basis in reality and some
basis in history. I even quote Churchill.

Football holds Pro day for NFL hopefuls

There wasn’t any noticeable amount of fanfare or cheers from fans, but Saturday morning into the early afternoon was one of the most important days in the sporting careers of several Stony Brook football athletes who were putting their talents on display for NFL scouts from around the country.

Among his fellow teammates and other hopefuls on Long Island, senior running back Miguel Maysonet was at center stage after having taken part in the NFL Combine and drawing praise from ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

“That’s an exciting thing to be able to translate what I’ve been able to do on the field and bring it off the field to show the scouts that I’m a good football player,” he said.

Despite that attention, Maysonet was equally proud of the players whom he was with that day.

“All the guys that I was working out with are good guys,” he said. “For them to come out here and see not just me but other Stony Brook players run, it’s awesome.”

More than half of the NFL’s 32 teams had a representative present on Saturday, heightening the pressure that must have already been weighing on the minds of the NFL Draft hopefuls. Beyond the local New York Giants and Jets came teams such as the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, etc.

Approximately 15 players took part in the day’s events, which ranged from a variety of measurements and drills. The first item on the agenda was to mark down each man’s wingspan, height, and weight.

When it came turn for Maysonet to get his numbers, he was measured to be 5’8’’, one inch shorter that he was measured at the Combine, prompting him to joke that “I shrunk.”

After measurements, the players proceeded to lifting and other drills in the Dubin Center.

Maysonet, currently rated by most draft services to go in the mid-rounds, is vying to become the first player from Stony Brook ever drafted into the NFL. Photo by Efal Sayed.

Maysonet, currently rated by most draft services to go in the mid-rounds, is vying to become the first player from Stony Brook ever drafted into the NFL. Photo by Efal Sayed.

Around 11 a.m., the players, their families, officials and media migrated to the Coastal Sports facility in Hauppauge. The players returned to drills ranging from the dash to passing and receiving.

The day’s events came to an end around 1:30 p.m., at which point the NFL scouts hit the road to relay their findings to busy team offices around the country preparing to decide who to trust their team with in the future.

For Maysonet, the process before the actual NFL draft is not over. He said he had been contacted by at least the Giants and Jets as a sign of further interest. He is going to the Giants’ facility next month.

“If it happens, it happens,” Maysonet said about the possibility of playing local. “I don’t really have a preference as long as I go play football somewhere.”

Social change; slow and steady wins the race

A protester offers free glitter outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Crystal City, Virginia, Friday, August 3, 2012.

A protester offers free glitter outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Crystal City, Virginia, Friday, August 3, 2012.

More than 40 years ago, the 1968 Democratic National Convention was the scene of chaos and vandalism that will remain etched in the minds of all those who witnessed it. The events in Chicago at that time were a catastrophe for American liberalism and progressivism. The ideological and political left destroyed each other’s chances of success for years to come. For the 40 years following those events, a Republican occupied the White House for 28 of them. Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan capitalized on the fears and backlash of the “silent” or “moral” majority to ensure conservative dominance for more than a generation.

Why did this happen as it did? While we may agree with many of the beliefs of the protesters of the 1960s, it is important to remember how radical many of them must have been for their time. What is the norm now was too extreme for a sufficient number of Americans. The proof is in the overwhelming support for the conservative party for the next two decades.

Fortunately, some of the most important changes from the 1960s have remained with us to this day. However, we have also seen a resurgence of the right on  issues such as a woman’s right to choose in states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota, etc.

Whether or not you agree with the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, it is impossible to argue that there wasn’t a backlash and that some groups and states have manifested that backlash into policy. In the above-mentioned states, there are scarce providers of what the Supreme Court declared to be a woman’s right. This was a policy imposed from above by Washington, something that often doesn’t go over well. Observe any documentary about the Civil War or Civil Rights Era for further evidence.

That is not to say that Washington was not right in those cases, but it is nearly impossible to get all 50 states in lockstep over issues such as these; regions that have as much a differing degree of society and culture that you sometimes see between separate countries. There is a reason that nearly every large nation that has at least a semblance of a democratic system is a federation; the central government can’t manage all of the affairs in every part of the country. Even a country as old as the United Kingdom has learned that not everything can be dealt with in London and therefore has delegated powers to more local parliaments.

The point of all of that is to say that Washington faces the social conflict that it does because varying parts of the country are trying to insert their cultural values into the national government and are, unsurprisingly, drawing a reaction or backlash. Some day, the cultural values of the entire nation may resemble those of New York or any other state, but that will not be accomplished just through national policy unless the national government is willing to enforce those policies with unmitigated force. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy had to deploy federal officers to ensure that African American students would be able to attend segregated schools. This was a beautiful instance of the federal government taking a stand for what is right, but it is doubtful that this nation wants Washington to deploy its forces to make sure that every policy becomes a reality. It wouldn’t exactly look like a democracy, would it?

Returning to the present and the approaching Supreme Court cases, it is hopeful that the highest legal institution in the land will strike down Congress’ unconstitutional breach into defining what is and isn’t a marriage and uphold the ruling the California court that ruled against Proposition 8. However, even if it does, that does not merit an open invitation to liberals to put through their own marriage law in Congress unless they want to go through all the fun aspects of passing a constitutional amendment giving the federal government the power to do so. There are some places in this country where you won’t guarantee proper homosexual rights unless you literally forced their inhabitants to respect them.

Only one state (California) that formerly granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples has discontinued the practice, and it is expectedly that that decision to stop doing so will be overturned. It is far better to secure full equality for homosexuals in those states where it’s possible rather than some watered-down, unsatisfactory pseudo-equality from a deal in Washington that is not more certain to last.

One day, same-sex marriage will be universally legal in this country, and it will be another step towards a better democratic society, but there is another fact that you is nearly impossible to force people if not entire regions to embrace that as quickly as you’d hope. Even the Civil War, probably the largest federal intervention in state affairs, did not fully guarantee African-American equality in this country. It took another century for races to be at least legally equal. It should not have taken that long, and it is a travesty that it did. However, as horrible and unsatisfactory as it may sound, lasting equality never becomes the law as quickly as we’d like. Coming from someone whose ancestors only had to stop hearing “Irish need not apply” a half-century ago when Kennedy was elected, it is challenging to declare your own legitimate place in the American melting pot, but the trials of achieving true equality secure peace and justice not only for your descendants for but for all Americans.

Stony Brook men’s basketball falls to Iowa in second round of NIT

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s season came to an end on Friday evening in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, dropping the game by a score of 75-63.

It was the best statistical season in Stony Brook’s Division-I history with an overall record of 25-8 with 13 victories on the road, the highest number in the nation.

Friday’s contest was also the last game in the Stony Brook careers of senior forwards Tommy Brenton, Ron Bracey and Leonard Hayes and senior guard Marcus Rouse. Brenton finished his collegiate career with 971 points, 1,115 rebounds, 405 assists, and 220 steals, the latter three being program Division-I records. Those total rebounds also tie Northeastern University’s Mark Halsel for third in America East conference history.

Three Seawolves scored in double figures for the game with freshman forward Jameel Warney leading the team with 17 points and junior guards Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley getting 15 and 12 points, respectively.

Stony Brook kept the game tight most of the way through the first half, seizing the lead for brief moments and trailing by only 37-34 at halftime. It remained a tight game in the second half until Warney tied the game at 41 apiece. From there, the Hawkeyes went on a 13-3 run to build a lead that they did not surrender. The 10-point deficit would be Iowa’s largest lead of the game.

The closest that Stony Brook got within striking distance of its opponent was four points when Jackson cut the lead to four with a completed three-pointer with an add-on free throw. Iowa quickly shattered any hopes of a come-back though and went on to take the game. It was only the sixth time this year that the Seawolves let their adversaries score more than 70 points in a game.

As Iowa advances to the third round of the NIT, Stony Brook will return home with the future to look forward to. Head coach Steve Pikiell has consistently remarked upon his team’s depth and the young players who have stepped up this year, and it is to those players that the gauntlet will now fall to.

Men’s Basketball wins first-ever NIT game, upsets UMass

Tommy Brenton only had two shot attempts against UMass, but finished with six points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Photo by Ezra Margano.

Tommy Brenton only had two shot attempts against UMass, but finished with six points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Photo by Ezra Margano.

Stony Brook secured its first ever National Invitation Tournament victory on Wednesday night against the No. 2 seed University of Massachusetts Minutemen, taking the game by a score of 71-58.

The Seawolves now have a 25-7 record on the season and lead the nation in true road victories with 13.

Featuring well in Wednesday night’s game were junior guards Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley, who each scored 20 points. For Jackson, 12 of those points came off of three-pointers. On defense, the squad held the Minutemen to 36.7 percent shooting, while the Seawolves shot 51.8 percent from the floor. Freshman Jameel Warney also added 16 points.

Stony Brook had a slight edge in the early going but nothing that put the game out of reach. UMass tied the score more than once and held a 25-21 lead late in the half. However, the Seawolves went on a 17-point run to conclude the half and went into the break with a 38-25 lead.

It was a lead that seventh-seeded Stony Brook would not surrender for the entirety of the second half. UMass was able to remain within 10 points but could not muster enough of a run to take the lead back. The Seawolves kept up the pace to win their first game of the tournament.

Massachusetts’ Chaz Williams, the team’s leading scorer and play-maker, was slowed by foul trouble in the first half and a shoulder injury suffered midway through the second half. He finished the game with two points and six assists.

Stony Brook will next play third-seeded Iowa at 9:30 on Friday night in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes are coming off of a 68-52 win over Indiana State.

Tensions increase between North Korea and China after sanctions

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is the featured speaker at the U.S.-China Economy and Trade Cooperation Forum, in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, February 17, 2012.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is the featured speaker at the U.S.-China Economy and Trade Cooperation Forum, in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, February 17, 2012.

The past week has seen an intensification of the ongoing strife on the Korean peninsula that has not been this sharp since the two sides exchanged fire a couple of years ago. Still technically at war, this is one of the closest times that the two nations, neither of which recognizes the other’s statehood, have come to resuming the active combat that came to an end with an armistice in 1953.

While China is not going to abandon its long time ally, the circumstances of the region have changed immensely in a short span of time.

China is trying to create a new diplomatic scene in the Asia-Pacific region that would crown it the strongest power in the region.

While China is arguably already the strongest state in this area, the presence of the United States, which lends support and extends trade to a number of nations surrounding China, complicates this picture.

The Sino-American relationship has become the most important bilateral tie in the world. The United States and China are neither friends nor enemies.

That being said, each is also wary of the other’s intentions and does not want the other pushing the balance of power in this region too much in their favor.

This is why the Pentagon’s planned redeployment of so much of its overseas forces to the region is a concern to China, which wants to have undisputed military predominance of the area of the Pacific Ocean that is west of an invisible line drawn just east of Japan and around the Philippines. This expansion of what have been called “island chains” is planned to happen in two phases in the future.

While there are a number of East Asian countries that object to this, the biggest elephant in the room is the United States, which already has more than 70,000 soldiers deployed in Japan and South Korea alone.

The U.S. also maintains responsibility for defense of a number of island-nations. To add on an obvious fact, the U.S. will not want to be closed off from a region that is only becoming more important in global affairs.

All of this is why China will not abandon North Korea and why the latter most likely does not feel completely cut off. Despite the presence of massive sanctions, there are easy methods around them, one of which is simple lack of enforcement. What North Korea expects from China is added protection from outside aggression and supplies to keep the country’s fledgling economy going.

What China expects of North Korea is to not cause chaos as the economic priorities of China require a region that is moderately stable. China approved of these latest sanctions because the North did exactly the opposite and caused mayhem. A crisis on the Korean peninsula gains China nothing.

In fact, it gains everyone nothing. Although the North could inflict catastrophic damage to its southern neighbor, it would not be able to win a military conflict with the United States.

To add on to that, if the North were to start that conflict, China would not risk its international reputation by siding with what would be a suicidal regime whose only outside supporter is Dennis Rodman.

This is not the first and it will not be the last time that there is a threat of conflict on the Korean peninsula.

People will probably hear more about it as this region becomes more noticed in the American media. One of the most important focus points of this overall region will be the relationship of the United States and China.

The former will remain a strong presence in world affairs even though not the hegemony it has enjoyed for at least 20 years. The latter will continue to grow in strength.

While it would be naïve to consider these two nations to be friends or hope that they will become friends, they do not necessarily have to be enemies.

A wise ‘China policy,’ a large part of an overall ‘Asia-Pacific’ policy for a U.S. president is to maintain a position of strength help to ensure peace among its nations.

Albany defeats Men’s Basketball 61-59 in America East semi-final, ends NCAA tournament hopes

Albany fans storm the court after Stony Brook's Dave Coley missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.(EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

Albany fans storm the court after Stony Brook’s Dave Coley missed a desperation shot at the buzzer.(EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team fell to the University at Albany Great Danes on Sunday evening, 61-59, in the semi-final game of the America East Championship.

“This year they were two points better whereas last year they were two points better,” senior forward Tommy Brenton said.

The challenge before Stony Brook was immense. The Great Danes, despite being the lower seed, had the home court advantage and their fans were only too willing to make use of it.

“It didn’t hurt us,” Brenton added, “But it definitely helped them.”

It was an ideal start for the Seawolves, who scored the first seven points of the game, but the Great Danes weren’t going to embarrass themselves in front of their home crowd.

The game tightened further until the teams were tied at 10 points apiece.

They then remained neck-and-neck for the next few minutes, both squads playing tough ball down underneath the basket.

Albany then pushed ahead as it’s maintained a steady attack while Stony Brook was only able to score one basket in a space of approximately eight minutes.

The home team hit four of its eight three-pointers to make this experience even more unpleasant for the fans who had made the journey from Long Island. Albany had a stronger presence down low and from outside the three-point arc throughout this stretch, going 11-2

“When you get behind like that,” head coach Steve Pikiell said, “You just need to get to the basket.” In the first half, freshman forward Jameel Warney helped to keep his team in the game by scoring eight of its 22 points in that period.

As the two team’s went into halftime, the Great Danes lead the contest 28-22.

The intensity continued to build throughout the second half as neither team was able to decisively pull away from the other.

Freshman guard Carson Puriefoy came off of the bench to give the Seawolves some fresh life, but they were unable to match Albany’s score.

One of the more crushing moments came when Albany’s Jacob Iati put his team up 47-39 with 6:19 left in the game, lighting the crowd into a frenzy and forcing Stony Brook to call a timeout.

With five minutes remaining, the Great Danes still had a 10 point lead.

Junior guard Dave Coley then hit three straight free throws to cut his team’s deficit to seven, but Albany hit another three-pointer in response to nullify those efforts.

With less than two-and-a-half minutes left to play, Puriefoy hit a three to make the score 55-49 Albany. This was Stony Brook’s last opportunity to keep its title hopes alive. On the first play, Brenton almost stole the ball and forced the Great Danes to call a timeout.

A chance at the line allowed the home team to knock down two free throws and increase its lead to eight. Brenton then cut that lead back down to six with a layup.

The teams then exchanged a free throw as the game approached its final minute. Puriefoy then restored some hope among the Seawolf faithful by knocking down another three.

With 64 seconds remaining, Albany only led 58-55.

With 34.9 seconds left on the clock, Brenton hit two free throws to make it a one-point game. Luke Devlin of Albany then went to the line a few seconds later and made only one. Stony Brook had one last possession, and Coley drew a foul to earn two chances and the free throw line.

He made both to tie the game.

With 14 seconds remaining, Albany’s Mike Black made one final layup to win to the game and bring Stony Brook’s America East Championship run to an end.

“To win the regular season is so impressive,” Albany head coach Will Brown said. “This is a good win against a good team.”

Stony Brook will now get set to play in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the third time in four years.

“I’m definitely proud of my team,” Brenton said. “The season’s not over yet. We’ve still got to go to NIT and hopefully reach Madison Square Garden.”

Men’s Basketball blows out Binghamton 72-49 in opening round game

Anthony Jackson, one of four Seawolves to score in double-figures in the game, led Stony Brook with 16 points. (EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

Anthony Jackson, one of four Seawolves to score in double-figures in the game, led Stony Brook with 16 points. (EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook was victorious on Saturday afternoon in the America East Championship quarter-final against the Binghamton Bearcats, winning the game by a score of 72-49.

“We were able to get contributions from a lot of guys,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “And that’s what this team is built on.”

The Seawolves have defeated the Bearcats twice already this season, the first game by a margin of 62-37 and the second, 73-47. Today’s game was Stony Brook’s 32nd victory against Binghamton out of 57 games.

Four Seawolves scored in double figures on Saturday with the team-high going to junior guard Anthony Jackson with 16 points. Also scoring in double digits were redshirt freshman forward Scott King with 13 points, freshman forward Jameel Warney with 12 points, and junior guard Dave Coley with 11 points.

Stony Brook took the lead on the first basket, a three-pointer from King, and did not look back. Stony Brook’s defense, ranked fifth best in the nation in defensive field goal percentage, held the Bearcats to 14 points in the first half compared to its own 37 points.

One of the only bright spots for Binghamton that would give the Seawolves trouble throughout the game was the play of freshman Jordan Reed, who led the game with 17 points. He finished the regular season second the in conference in points per game with 16.7.

“I feel as though we did the best we could tonight,” Jackson said. “It was one of those nights that he really had it going. We did our best to stop him.”

The Bearcats were able to improve their play in the second half and would hit more of their shots. However, it wasn’t enough to unseat Stony Brook, which was able to keep with the increasingly fast pace of the game.

With a little less than 12 minutes to play, Stony Brook had nearly double the score of Binghamton with 51 points to the Bearcats’ 26. The latter were not able to get much closer than that, and although they were able to make a little noise with some late three-pointers from Taylor Johnston and Jimmy Gray, the Seawolves were able to finish out the victory with little difficulty.

The Seawolves made only half of their free throws in the evening, hitting 10 of 20 attempts.
“I’m glad we missed them tonight,” Pikiell said. “If we miss them tomorrow, we’ll be in trouble.”

Aside from that, Stony Brook dominated nearly every facet of the game, outscoring Binghamton by more than two times in the paint, 15 to zero off of turnovers, 14 to zero in second chance points. The Seawolves bench also outscored Binghamton’s 15-12.

“I thought we did a good job in the first half especially,” Pikiell said. “It’s dangerous when you’re on a neutral site when you’re playing a team that has nothing to lose.”

Stony Brook will play in one of two semifinal games on Sunday, facing off against the victor of Saturday’s game between Albany and Maine.

Women’s Basketball loses in first round to New Hampshire in heartbreaking fashion

 

Stony Brook women's basketball comes to an end for the 2012-13 campaign as the University of New Hampshire celebrates a last-second victory.  (EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook women’s basketball comes to an end for the 2012-13 campaign as the University of New Hampshire celebrates a last-second victory. (EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

The Stony Brook University women’s basketball team’s season came to an end on Friday evening when the University of New Hampshire Wildcats scored the last bucket of the game on a three-point shot in the final seconds the game. It was a dramatic conclusion to an evenly matched quarterfinal game in the America East Championship.

“A ton of credit to New Hampshire and their coaching staff,” head coach Beth O’Boyle said after the game. “Every America East game that we’ve had has been a battle.”

The game came down the final seconds, and neither team was able to forge a substantial and insurmountable lead throughout of the game.

“Basketball is a game of moments,” senior guard Dani Klupenger said, “And we were on the losing end of this moment.”
In the final collegiate game of her career, Klupenger had nine points on three three-pointers.

Also featuring prominently for Stony Brook was freshman forward Brittany Snow, who lead the team with 15 points, and sophomore forward Sabre Proctor, who had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The game began at a moderate pace as neither team was able to pull away from the other; both squads scored seven points three and a half minutes into the game. The tempo then slowed down for much of the second half while the Wildcats for the most part maintained a small lead.

The Seawolves took a 18-17 lead with 2:13 left to play in the first half when Klupenger hit her second three-pointer of the evening. The lead would prove to be short-lived, however, as New Hampshire took it back within a minute. The two teams exchanged baskets, but neither could establish a run, going into halftime with the Wildcats having a slim 22-21 lead.

New Hampshire came out of the gates quickly in the second half, scoring eight points in the first three minutes. As the game entered its final minutes, the Wildcats held a 10-point lead.

It was at this point that Stony Brook turned the game around and chipped away. The Seawolves went on an 8-2 run to reduce the lead to 44-40. Two subsequent, back-to-back jumpers tied the game.

Morgan Frame of New Hampshire then responded with a close shot to give her team a 2-point lead, an advantage that did not last long as Snow hit two clutch free throws to tie the game at 46.

“I didn’t want to let my team down,” Snow said. “I wanted to give my seniors another game to play.”

There was one minute left to play, and Stony Brook was unable to capitalize on its possession. On the other side of the court, Kelsey Hogan of New Hampshire was able to get her hands on the ball as the seconds slipped away. She hoisted up a desperation shot that sunk into the basket and brought the game to an end.

It was the third straight time that the Wildcats defeated the Seawolves in tournament play, the last two occasions happening in 2003 and 2004.

New Hampshire will advance to the semifinal round of the tournament, taking on first-seed Albany, and Stony Brook will have to look to next year for another opportunity.

We’ve survived the sequester!

So now the infamous sequester has come and gone without a deal between President Obama, Congressional Democrats and their Republican counterparts to avert the cuts. What was routinely said to be impossible in the late summer of 2011 has become a reality. What do you know? The looming threat of billions of dollars in cuts to treasured programs was not enough to get politicians to act against it. And now, as one would expect, the higher-ups in the American government are tossing around the blame for what went wrong as though it’s a hot potato that no one wants the press to see them with. More subtly, nearly everyone who speaks in reference to the cuts discusses it in a way that make the cuts sound like an alien monster descending from the sky, snatching billions of federal money and flying away while giggling malevolently to itself.
Well, that’s interesting because the sequester is not Lex Luther or any other outside force. If one wants to point the blame at one entity, look no further than our leaders, using the word generously. Both sides have argued that spending cuts are necessary and that the federal government spends far too much compared to what it takes in. That is certainly true; despite the roughly $85 billion in cuts, the government will still run more than an $800 billion deficit. This is not sustainable.
However, it would appear that very few people in the American government want to do what is essential to fix the problem or have enough patience to accept long-term solutions, which the sequester is not. The fact that the sequester exists implies a fear by lawmakers that everyone would be too cowardly to dirty their hands with tax increases or spending cuts that will anger their voters and harm their chances for re-election. And this is not limited to one side of the divide. Democrats talk of cuts, but they raise hell when someone suggests that the entitlement system be reformed, chiefly the funding that is directed at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans seem to talk of nothing but cuts, but there are some in the party who see one dollar in defense cuts as an open invitation to Russian, Chinese, zombie and Martian invasions.
This is not an argument for austerity. If the last few years of European politics have proven anything, austerity or steep tax increases and budget cuts, does not generate the growth needed to get out of a recession and get the economy going again. Like government spending or not, it is a huge driving force behind the economy. That is a large part of the argument against sequestration – it’s austerity, and the saving grace of this country’s current circumstances is that we have enough private sector growth that is beginning to pick up that we won’t fall into an economic sinkhole because of this. That being said, it will hurt and slow the growth of the American economy as it is beginning to get on its feet again.
So what’s the answer? Well, there is no quick fix. Believe it or not, if there were an easy answer to all of these problems, it would have been agreed upon by now. There is a great deal of government spending that we desperately need if we want to have anything close to the lifestyle we have today. Even if you believe in cuts to entitlement programs, simply hacking away at them will reduce many senior citizens and the impoverished to circumstances not befitting a first-world nation. And even if you believe in defense cuts, it would be asinine to deny the crucial role that the U.S. military plays in world affairs, even if just as a symbolic deterrent to our enemies, and that is often the role we play. Our military serves a vital role in maintaining stability in the world, and taking a meat cleaver to the defense budget with impunity would severely hamper that.
In the end, the progress towards fiscal stability will be long and difficult. It will require years of trimming away at unnecessary government spending and finding places where the American people can afford to give up a little. Unfortunately, that requires a level of taxation that gives the government enough revenue to help keep the country growing. However, that does not mean throwing an infinite number of tax laws into the fray and sipping every last penny from already cash-strapped Americans. Taxes should be targeted at the high-risk practices that got us into this mess and lead to a culture on Wall Street where massive sums of money trade hands amongst a select few.
There are a slew of problems that this nation faces, but one of the most persistent is the vast wealth inequality. Some would call this the inevitable outcome of capitalism, or at least one variation of it. However, capitalism was not meant to be feudalism or serfdom. Capitalism only truly works for the better of an entire nation or the majority of its people if enough of the population can be involved in driving the economy forward, this portion of the population usually referred to as the middle class. These economic conditions usually lead to greater political stability. On the other hand, when the vast majority of the wealth is in the hands of a few people, so is political power. In the past, this has happened because of an aristocracy or nobility. In modern history, this happens when the wealthiest in society, whether they inherited or acquire that wealth, have the same political and economic dominance in society as those in the aristocracy would.
To return to the beginning, the sequester is the coward’s way around the need to get our financial house in order and the government must not put the full brunt of this pain on the average citizen. They must settle down for the long haul of gradual deficit reduction and strike at one of the greatest underlying problems in this country: your political worth is equal to your net worth.

Men’s Basketball defeats Albany 75-70

Stony Brook poses after winning the regular season title for the third time in the last four years. The Seawolves will enter the America East tournament, with hopes of winning and advancing to their first-ever NCAA tournament. Photo by Nina Lin.

Stony Brook poses after winning the regular season title for the third time in the last four years. The Seawolves will enter the America East tournament, with hopes of winning and advancing to their first-ever NCAA tournament. Photo by Nina Lin.

Finish AE regular season 14-2, head to tournament as No. 1 seed.

The Stony Brook University men’s basketball team won the final game of the regular season on Sunday afternoon against the University at Albany Great Danes, 75-70, in a close contest that did not have a clear winner until the final few seconds of the game.

The four seniors on the team performed well on senior day, scoring 31 of those 75 points, and the team has now achieved an overall season record of 23-6, a program Division-I record and a conference record of 14-2, tying last year’s record.

Before the game, the team’s four seniors; forwards Ron Bracey, Tommy Brenton and Leonard Hayes and guard Marcus Rouse, were given an award for their contribution to the program over the past few years.

“[The seniors] won the game for us,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “They’re great kids on and off the court. They were ready to play tonight.”

With the end of the festivities, it was time to play yet another game.

“There were definitely a lot of emotions before the game,” Brenton said. “We all just came with a great focus.”

However, Albany scored first, and it kept up the pace throughout the first half. The Seawolves did have the early edge, leading 13-8 a little more than four minutes into the game. But the Great Danes were not going to make senior day an easy experience for the home team. They tied the game and pounded the ball underneath the basket, scoring two-thirds of the total points in the paint in the first half.

While it was senior night for Stony Brook, it was a freshman, Carson Puriefoy, who led the team, scoring 15 out of his 17 points in the second half. Photo by Nina Lin.

While it was senior night for Stony Brook, it was a freshman, Carson Puriefoy, who led the team, scoring 15 out of his 17 points in the second half. Photo by Nina Lin.

That being said, Stony Brook also kept up the offensive attack, meaning that the two teams went into halftime with a tie score of 34. The Seawolves hit more than two-thirds of their three-pointers in the first half.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, it was Albany, not Stony Brook, that came out of the gate in the second half more quickly, going on a 12-point run in the opening minutes of the second period.

The Seawolves clawed back into the game, eating away at Albany’s lead shot by shot. Freshman Carson Puriefoy scored 15 points in the second half out of his 17 for the game, leading his team and tying the game-high. It was he who tied the game at 51 with 11:33 left in the game.

“Puriefoy changed the pace of the game for us,” Pikiell said.

The Great Danes would not surrender the lead easily. They and the Seawolves traded the lead 11 times throughout the game, seven of those coming in the second half. The crowd’s excitement continued to build as the seconds ticked away and there was still no apparent winner. With 2:21 left to play, Stony Brook held a one-point, 66-65 lead.

With one minute remaining, the Seawolves lead by only two points. Despite their dire situation, the Great Danes kept up the fight and stayed in the game until the absolute final seconds. However, they would not spoil senior day for Stony Brook, who finished the game and the season with a 75-70 victory.

With championship dreams once again, the team has now targeted its focus on next weekend’s conference tournament.

“First we’re looking at Binghamton,” Hayes said. “It’s going to be another tough game.”

On Thursday, Stony Brook also defeated the Boston University Terriers on the road, seizing victory in what was the home team’s final game as a member of the America East conference.

The Seawolves won the game by a score of 71-55 after having jumped out to a massive early lead of 33-5.

Tommy Brenton had 14 points and 13 rebounds against Boston University on Thursday. Photo by Kenneth Ho.

Tommy Brenton had 14 points and 13 rebounds against Boston University on Thursday. Photo by Kenneth Ho.

Senior forward Tommy Brenton was three assists short of a triple-double on Friday, posting 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. It was his sixth double-double of the season and the 23rd of his career. This was his second-to-last regular season game as a member of the Seawolves.

Stony Brook struck early and did not let the Terriers ever have a hope in the game, first pushing ahead to a margin of 22-5 and then scoring 11 straight points for good measure after that. The Terriers could not score a basket for two gaps of 7:32 and 7:29. This gave Boston one made shot in a space of approximately 15 minutes.

Boston did manage to get back into the game and were able to get within 10 points of Stony Brook, but it was not enough, and freshman forward Jameel Warney put a dent in any hope for the home team when he captured the offensive rebound off of a missed free throw, put the ball back in the net and drew the foul in one play. He made all six of his shots on Thursday, the third time this season that he was perfect from the floor.

From that point forward, the Terriers would only get as close as within 13 points of the Seawolves. Making 52.2 percent of their shots for the game, the Seawolves were not going to lose.

With the win, Stony Brook has set a program Division-I record with 22 wins, surpassing the previous record of the team from two years ago. It was also Stony Brook’s 12th true road victory, a program record for all of its history.

After this season, Boston will be joining the Patriot League, meaning that it will not be playing in this year’s conference tournament. The Terriers were tournament champions two years ago.

With the regular season now over, Stony Brook advances to the America East Tournament, which is being held at SEFCU Arena in Albany this year.

The Seawolves will enter the tournament as the first seed and will play the eight seed, Binghamton,  on Saturday at 6 pm.