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Poor rebounding sinks Stony Brook men’s basketball against Yale

Point guard Aaron Clarke drives the lane against Rider on Monday, Nov. 20. Clarke had 10 points and three assists in the loss to Yale on Wednesday. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

Despite having four double-digit scorers, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team failed to muster up a comeback and remained winless on the road.

Though they were in it until the end, the Seawolves (2-4) stayed one step behind the Yale Bulldogs (5-3) for the entirety of the second half. Yale seemingly had an answer for any comeback attempt by Stony Brook, handing it a 79-71 loss.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead with a pair of three-pointers from point guard Bez Mbeng. The Seawolves responded with a pair of triples from point guard Dean Noll, who went on to drop 15 points in the first half alone, tying his previous season-high. The very competitive first half saw seven ties and eight lead changes, but it was Yale who flipped the score for the final time.

A layup by center Chris Maidoh gave Stony Brook a 29-28 lead, but Yale responded with four consecutive free-throw makes by power forward Nick Townsend and a layup from point guard Yassine Gharram. Another three by Noll and a made free throw by power forward Andre Snoddy cut the Seawolves’ deficit down to one point, making it 34-33 with just 2:17 left in the first half. However, a three-pointer by small forward John Poulakidas swung the pendulum back in the Bulldogs’ favor.

Yale capitalized off a costly turnover by Maidoh with a mid-range jump shot by Poulakidas. A layup by shooting guard August Mahoney capped off a 7-0 run by the Bulldogs that gave them an eight-point lead. A thunderous dunk within the final minute of the half by center Keenan Fitzmorris cut Stony Brook’s deficit to just six points, but it never fully recovered from the run it surrendered.

Early in the second period, Noll and Snoddy each missed good looks, but a timely fast-break three-pointer by shooting guard Jared Frey kept the team in it and cut its deficit down to three. Townsend and Mbeng helped maintain Yale’s two-possession lead before Fitzmorris knocked down a three-pointer to make it a three-point game again with 16:07 remaining.

After a tough layup through contact by Townsend extended the Bulldogs’ lead back to five points, the Seawolves never got back within one possession for the rest of the night. As the period wore on, both sides dug and committed a flurry of turnovers and fouls to slow the tempo. 

Just past the 6:30 mark, Stony Brook found rhythm with a clutch three-pointer from point guard Aaron Clarke. Frey followed and knocked down a jumper from mid-range, and a bank shot from around the basket by small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore made it a six-point game with just five minutes left. 

On Townsend’s back, Yale outworked the Seawolves on the offensive glass for the rest of the night, as its second-chance points put the game away.

While Stony Brook played a good game on both sides, its poor rebounding and costly turnovers placed it on the losing side. The Bulldogs’ pulled down 18 offensive rebounds and scored 22 second-chance points, while the Seawolves totaled just nine of each.

Townsend put together a career night, totaling 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds. He was equally effective on both sides, hauling in seven boards on the offensive glass and eight on the defensive. He also recorded a block and two steals. As a scorer, most of his damage was done from the free-throw line, where he was 10-for-10.

Noll finished the game with 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but scored only one in the second half. He and Stephenson-Moore co-led the team in that area. Stephenson-Moore shot 5-for-12 but just 1-for-4 from three-point range. Fitzmorris scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and led the team with seven rebounds and two blocks. Clarke totaled 10 points while shooting 4-for-8.

Frey led the team with five assists, while Clarke and Noll each dished out three. As a team, the Seawolves’ 16 assists were their most against an NCAA Division I opponent this year. Their effective ball movement led to effective shooting, as they posted a .444/.455/.765 shooting line. Defensively, they held Yale to a .409/.391/.762 triple slash, but the battle of the boards was the difference in the end.

Stony Brook will return to Island Federal Arena this Saturday to host the Wagner Seahawks. The Seahawks will be looking for their first road win of the season, as they are fresh off an 86-52 loss to Providence this past Tuesday and are 2-4 overall this year. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

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