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Stony Brook men’s basketball suffers worst defeat since 2016 in season opener

Guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore defending guard Tanahj Pettway in practice on Friday, Nov. 4. Stephenson-Moore was the Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s leading rebounder in Monday night’s 81-45 defeat by Florida. CAMRON WANG/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team did not put up a great fight in its season opener, leading to the worst beatdown they have suffered in almost six years. 

The Seawolves (0-1) traveled down to Gainesville, Fla. to take on the Florida Gators on Monday evening. The team was blown out 81-45 by its Southeastern Conference (SEC) opponent, as the reconstructed roster failed to mesh in its season opener.

The 36-point loss was Stony Brook’s worst since Dec. 13, 2016 against Hofstra.  

It was clear from the jump that the Seawolves likely would not keep the game competitive, going scoreless in the first seven minutes and 40 seconds of the game. The drought finally came to an end when forward Frankie Policelli drained a three-pointer to put Stony Brook on the board. That remained their lone field goal for a large chunk of the first 10 minutes, going down by as much as 19 points during that stretch. 

The Seawolves were unable to cut their deficit to anything less than 12 points for the rest of the night. Head coach Geno Ford said that he was pleased with the team’s effort but that they need to play better moving forward.

“I was very happy with our competitive spirit tonight,” Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We didn’t back down and did several good things. We will get better as the year goes. We need some games under our belt and we need to be better on Friday in the home opener.”

Things actually got worse in the second half, as the Seawolves were outscored by 20 after halftime. Through the first 10-and-a-half minutes of the second half, Stony Brook was outscored 22-5. During the final two minutes, Ford emptied the bench and let the rest of his healthy players make their season debuts.

The Seawolves flat-out did not match up well with the Gators. Stony Brook shot only 30.8% from the field, 21.4% from three-point range and 53.8% from the free-throw line. On defense, they allowed a .475/.400/.722 triple slash to Florida. 

Analytically, Stony Brook lost every battle. They were outscored off turnovers, in the paint and on fast break opportunities. Even the Gators’ bench dominated the Seawolves, outscoring them 35-13.

Florida guard Alex Fudge was a big piece in the Gators’ bench onslaught. He was red hot in the first half, scoring nine points in less than three minutes. Fudge finished as the game’s leading scorer with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. 

The Seawolves were outrebounded by Florida 44-28. They also allowed several extra possessions, letting them grab 10 offensive rebounds. 

Florida forward Colin Castelton was instrumental in beating the Seawolves down low. The two-time All-SEC selection was getting whatever he wanted in the paint while also giving the Seawolves nightmares with his rim protection. He ended the night with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and four blocks.

Some bright spots for Stony Brook were guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore grabbing a team-leading nine rebounds, as well as guard Jared Frey scoring nine points in his collegiate debut. The freshman’s scoring output was the second highest on the team, behind only Policelli’s 11. 

The Seawolves had two new transfers start at power forward and center on Monday night: Kenan Sarvan and Keenan Fitzmorris. Sarvan scored eight points and made a pair of three-pointers in his Stony Brook debut. Fitzmorris scored an NCAA career-high six points in his first game with the Seawolves. It was also his first NCAA game since March 3, 2021.

Though the Seawolves came into this matchup as underdogs, they will likely be heavy favorites in their next game. They will look to bounce back on Friday, Nov. 10 when they come home to play the Miami Hamilton Harriers at Island Federal Arena. 

Miami Hamilton is not an NCAA team; it plays in the Ohio Regional Campus Conference (ORCC), a conference in the NJCAA. The Harriers are 2-1 after losing 67-61 on Tuesday to Thomas More, the No. 2 ranked team in the NAIA. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 6:31 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Kenny Spurrell, Assistant Sports Editor
Kenny Spurrell is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a senior English major and journalism minor at Stony Brook University. He began covering sports for The Statesman during the Fall 2021 semester. Since then, he has covered men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse and football. His passion for sports derives from his many years of playing basketball, football and baseball. He is a Long Island native from Selden, N.Y. and has dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
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