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Stony Brook men’s basketball looks to snap two-game skid at William & Mary

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s bench celebrates a shot against Charleston on Saturday, Jan. 6. The Seawolves will take on William & Mary on Saturday afternoon. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

Coming off back-to-back tough losses, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team will aim to get back over .500 with a big road win.

The Seawolves (8-8, 1-2 CAA) will battle the William & Mary Tribe (7-9, 2-1 CAA) in Virginia on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. After engaging in a pair of nail-biters with William & Mary last year, Stony Brook is hoping to play more comfortably this time around with a fully healthy roster.

Although both offenses rank rather similarly in the conference leaderboards, the Tribe have the edge. They rank seventh in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) with 75.1 points per game. William & Mary is a middle-of-the-road shooting team, ranking eighth in field goal percentage (.443) and seventh in three-point shooting percentage (.334). The team has been fine from the free-throw line, knocking down 72.2% of its foul shots, which is the sixth-best rate in the conference.

Three of the Tribe’s five current starters are posting double-digit scoring averages. Shooting guard Trey Moss leads William & Mary and is 10th in the CAA with 13.9 points per game on a .429/.296/.767 shooting line. One spot below him on the conference’s scoring leaderboard is small forward Gabe Dorsey, who is putting up 13.8 points per game on a .424/.411/.939 triple slash. Rounding out the team’s trio of scoring threats is point guard Chase Lowe, who is averaging 11.9 points per game on 55.9% shooting from the field.

Dorsey’s three-ball is his strength, as he attempts over eight per game and leads the CAA in three-point percentage. Center Charlie Williams has also been on point from deep, as he is knocking down 42.3% of his 52 tries this year.

Dorsey is also automatic from the charity stripe, as his .939 free throw percentage leads the conference. If he keeps up the pace, Dorsey will break the CAA single-season record for free throw percentage.

The Tribe has other dangerous offensive players in the fold. Small forward and sixth man Matteus Case is back from injury and thriving, averaging 9.1 points per game while shooting 49.1% from the field. They are still without small forward Jack Karasinski and power forward Noah Collier, who were starters earlier this year but are injured and have missed substantial time recently.

William & Mary shares the ball better than its numbers show. The Tribe average 13.3 assists per game, which is good for seventh in the CAA. However, they are fifth in assists-to-turnovers ratio at 1.23. Their top facilitators are Moss and Williams, who dish out 2.9 assists per game apiece. Low narrowly trails at 2.7 assists per contest.

The Tribe will aim to get into a rhythm with their shots against a Seawolves’ defense that is allowing opponents to shoot 44.0% from the field — the fifth-worst mark in the CAA. To prevent William & Mary from getting shots up, Stony Brook will look for takeaways. It ranks second in the conference with 7.1 steals per game, largely due to point guard Dean Noll’s conference-leading 1.9. Center Chris Maidoh (1.2) and point guard Aaron Clarke (1.1) also average over a steal per contest.

The Seawolves also have a heavy paint presence, anchored by Maidoh and center Keenan Fitzmorris. Maidoh is 10th in the CAA in rebounds and averaging 6.3 per game while also leading his squad with 1.1 blocks per contest. Fitzmorris brings down 4.6 rebounds per game while blocking nearly a shot per game. He is also tied for fifth in the conference with 39 offensive boards. The team will also need help from power forward Andre Snoddy, who is averaging the second-most rebounds on the team with 5.9.

Those three have rebounded well enough to place Stony Brook at sixth in the conference in all three rebounds per game categories (offensive, defensive, total). However, they will need to box out better to limit second chances, as they still have a negative rebounding differential this season and the Tribe have some good rebounders, as well.

William & Mary know how to clean the defensive glass, averaging the third-most defensive rebounds per game (26.4) in the CAA. Power forward Caleb Dorsey — Gabe Dorsey’s older brother — leads the team with 6.4 boards per game. Lowe is just behind him at an even six boards per game. Case averages exactly four rebounds per game.

The Tribe’s scoring defense is just below average by league standards, as they surrender 73.1 points per game — ranking ninth in the CAA. They do not make many plays on the ball, as they have the fewest steals (4.4) and blocks per game (1.4) in the conference.

The Seawolves’ offense will look to expose their opponent’s struggling defense. They are not the most efficient shooting team, as they make just 42.3% of their shots, which is the third-lowest rate in the conference. At the charity stripe, Stony Brook’s .688 mark is the second-worst number in the CAA. However, its .345 three-point shooting percentage is the fifth-best mark in the conference.

The Seawolves run their offense through small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore, the CAA’s ninth-leading scorer (15.1 points per game). He boasts a .453/.430/.775 triple slash. Stephenson-Moore posts the seventh-best field-goal percentage in the conference.

Stony Brook has two other double-digit scorers: Clarke at 12.8 points per game and Fitzmorris at 10.9. Clarke is shooting 38.2% from the field and 32.9% from deep. Fitzmorris’ offensive versatility gives him a .538/.364/.800 shooting line.

Noll — who accompanies Clarke in the backcourt — has not shot the ball well this year, posting just a .372/.305/.636 shooting line. However, he has shot 10-for-19 (52.6%) over the last two games. Another option is shooting guard Jared Frey, who is a big contributor off the bench and leads the team in assists per game (2.4). Frey averages 8.3 points per game while shooting 40.5% from deep on 74 three-point tries.

Along with being the Seawolves’ best defender, Maidoh has been good offensively. He averages 8.1 points per game on a .531 field goal percentage.

With the numbers pointing toward another close affair between the two teams, Stony Brook will hope its advantages can return it to the win column.

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