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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Stony Brook men’s basketball rises above .500 with overtime win at Army

Center Keenan Fitzmorris takes a hook shot from the low post against Norfolk State on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Fitzmorris scored 15 points and led the team in rebounds at Army West Point on Sunday. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

Though it had to work overtime, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team started its road trip on the perfect note.

In a tightly-contested battle in West Point, N.Y., the Seawolves (6-5) edged out the Army Black Knights (2-9) in a thrilling overtime showdown on Sunday afternoon. The late-game heroics of small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore powered Stony Brook to its fourth-straight win — its longest since the 2021-22 season — leading to a 78-74 victory.

The Seawolves opened the game playing at their fastest pace of the year, as center Chris Maidoh opened the scoring with a powerful dunk. Maidoh’s slam inspired a 15-2 opening run, capped off by a three-pointer from power forward Andre Snoddy at the 12:46 mark.

The Black Knights fought back ferociously with a barrage from beyond the arc to thrust them back into the thick of things. Army point guard Ryan Curry spearheaded a 24-8 run by sinking a pair of smooth threes and a layup to put his team up 26-23 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.

Within the final two minutes of the half, three buckets by center Keenan Fitzmorris and a mid-range jumper at the buzzer by point guard Aaron Clarke tied it at 36 going into halftime.

The second half was more of the same with both teams trading baskets all the way through. On the backs of seven different scorers, Stony Brook built a 59-52 lead with 3:29 left in regulation. Over the next two minutes, the Black Knights responded with a pair of threes from power forward Josh Scovens and another from shooting guard T.J. Small, taking a 61-59 lead.

With the clock ticking down under 30 seconds, the Seawolves intentionally fouled three times in a row to send Army shooting guard Blake Barker to the free-throw line. Barker missed his first attempt, and Stephenson-Moore flagged down the rebound and handed it to Clarke, who took it up the court himself before getting hacked while driving the lane. He sank both free throws to knot things up at 61 apiece and send it to overtime.

During the first minute of overtime, Stephenson-Moore picked his spot on the left wing off a screen from Maidoh and knocked down a triple to take the lead. On the next possession, Stephenson-Moore came off another pick from Maidoh and drained a catch-and-shoot three-pointer from right down the middle to go up by two scores. Stephenson-Moore followed his threes with a steal and a fadeaway jump shot in the paint to extend the Seawolves’ lead to 69-66 halfway through overtime.

The wave of momentum never left Stony Brook’s side for the rest of the extra period. A layup by Maidoh and a pair of free throws by shooting guard Jared Frey gave the Seawolves a seven-point lead — their largest of the frame. Despite a late three-pointer by Small to cut the cushion to four points, a steal by Clarke with five seconds left and a couple of free throws secured the hard-earned win.

Head coach Geno Ford was pleased with his team’s resiliency against its stingy opponent.

“Great win against an Army team that played at a really high level,” Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We’ve put a nice win streak together with some confidence heading into Michigan State.”

Stony Brook continued its hot shooting streak, posting a .491/.500/.773 shooting line. It was the fourth consecutive game in which the team shot over 46% from the field and 40% from deep.

Clarke returned to the lineup as the team’s sixth man after missing the last four games and led his team with 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep. He co-led the team with three assists and also tallied a block and a steal on defense. Fitzmorris scored 15 points while shooting 7-for-11, led the team with six rebounds and added a block.

Maidoh stayed hot on offense, scoring 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting. Stephenson-Moore was held without a field goal for all of regulation, but he finished with 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting. Both players pulled down five rebounds.

Other notable contributors for the Seawolves include point guard Dean Noll and shooting guard Toby Onyekonwu, who co-led the team with three assists each alongside Clarke.

Stony Brook’s shot defense was poor, as the Black Knights shot 49.1% overall and 55.6% from three-point range, making 15 of their 27 shots from downtown. Nobody guarded Scovens particularly well, as he led all scorers with 31 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including 6-for-8 from three. He also tallied five rebounds, seven assists and four steals in 40 minutes played.

Despite this, the Seawolves collected a season-high 13 steals, led by Stephenson-Moore’s career-high six takeaways. Onyekonwu and Noll each contributed a pair of steals, while Clarke, Fitzmorris and Maidoh all added one. These led to 15 points off turnovers, which helped them overcome their poor defensive performance.

Stony Brook is now over .500 in a season for the first time since the 2021-22 season. Now, it will go on the road to take on the Michigan State Spartans on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The Spartans are in the news after upsetting No. 6 Baylor in blowout fashion, 88-64 on Saturday. Michigan State is 5-5 this season and will face off with Oakland University on Monday night before its matchup with the Seawolves.

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