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Offensive struggles continue to haunt Stony Brook men’s basketball

 

Guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore in a game against Miami Hamilton on Friday, Nov. 11. Stephenson-Moore led the Stony Brook men’s basketball team in both scoring and rebounding on Thursday at Brown. CAMRON WANG/THE STATESMAN

Shooting woes and carelessness with the ball continued to hurt the Stony Brook men’s basketball team, leading to a second consecutive loss.

After a tough loss on Tuesday night, the Seawolves (1-3) remained in Rhode Island to take on the Brown Bears on Thursday at Pizzitola Sports Center. Offensive struggles were the main culprit in Stony Brook’s defeat, as they turned the ball over 21 times, leading to a 64-53 loss. 

Guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore and center Keenan Fitzmorris combined to score the first 11 points of the game for the Seawolves, capped off with a monstrous dunk by the big man. They took an eight-point lead multiple times in the first half, the latest of which came with 5:39 remaining. 

That lead would not last long, as lackluster defense and costly turnovers allowed the Bears to take the lead. Brown went on an 11-0 run towards the end of the first half to take the lead. Brown forward Nana Owusu-Anane was integral in his team’s turnaround, as he sank multiple mid-range jump shots to put pressure on the Stony Brook defense. 

Brown struggled shooting the ball in the first half, shooting 29.7% from the field and 17.4% from three-point range. Despite this, the Bears only trailed by one point at intermission because of Stony Brook’s sloppiness. They out-rebounded the Seawolves 24-16 and had four less turnovers.

After a good first half shooting the ball, the Seawolves fell off a cliff after halftime. Stony Brook did not connect on a single three-pointer for the rest of the game, missing their final eight attempts. It did not help that they turned the ball over 12 more times, allowing 17 points off turnovers for the game. 

“Guys battle hard,” head coach Geno Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “It’s impossible to win on the road with 13 turnovers from the guards and shooting 0-of-8 from three-point range in the second half as a team. They wore us down with the pace of the game and made some big threes in the second half.”

Brown guard Kino Lilly Jr. was getting whatever he wanted on offense in the second half. He knocked down four three-pointers, scoring 16 of his 19 points in the final 20 minutes of play. The Bears were without guard Dan Friday — their second leading scorer. Guard Paxson Wojcik filled in nicely for Friday, finishing with seven points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. 

Brown’s backcourt fueled a 14-4 run late in the second half to gain a 13-point lead, one that the Seawolves would not come back from. The Bears ultimately outscored Stony Brook 34-22 in the second half, securing their first victory of the season.

The Bears’ bigs also proved to be too much for Stony Brook to handle. After scoring 14 points in the first half, Owusu-Anane continued to dominate. He finished with 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. Brown forward Kalu Anya also had himself a night, recording 11 points and 10 rebounds. Eight of his boards were on the offensive glass. 

The output of Brown’s big men severely outmatched that of Stony Brook’s. Fitzmorris ended with a career-high 14 points, but forward Kenan Sarvan continued to struggle shooting the ball. 

After going 0-for-10 from deep against Rhode Island, Sarvan did not convert a single field goal in his 32 minutes of play on Thursday. His single point came from a free-throw. The 6-foot-10 power forward did not make much of an impact on the boards either, collecting two rebounds on the night.

Lack of rebounding was crucial in the Stony Brook loss, allowing the Bears to grab 15 offensive boards while only pulling down two themselves. The Seawolves were also minus-11 in turnover differential. This allowed the Bears to finish with a win despite an unideal .323/.263/.571 triple slash. 

The highlight of the night for Stony Brook was Stephenson-Moore tying a career-high 20 points while shooting 6-13 from the field and 4-7 from three-point territory. All four of his three-point field goals came in the first half. He also led the team with seven total rebounds. 

The senior is shooting a scorching 44.0% from deep this year. The rest of the team continues to struggle from beyond the three-point arc, shooting only 22.6% on the season. 

The Seawolves will look to clean up their sloppy play as they will travel down to Miami to participate in the Florida International Tournament. They will open their tournament against the Florida International University Panthers on Wednesday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Panthers are 2-2 on the season and are coming off a 91-85 loss to Bryant.

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About the Contributor
Kenny Spurrell
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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