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The Statesman

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Stony Brook men’s basketball to wrap up road trip at Delaware

Shooting guard Jared Frey (left) and center Keenan Fitzmorris (right) move the ball around against Charleston on Saturday, Jan. 6. Frey’s floor-spacing and Fitzmorris’ inside scoring will be integral to Stony Brook’s chances to win tomorrow night. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook men’s basketball will look to win its second in a row against one of the Coastal Athletic Association’s (CAA) best offenses.

The Seawolves (9-8, 2-2 CAA) will conclude their three-game road trip in Newark, Del. against the Delaware Blue Hens (10-7, 2-2 CAA) on Thursday night. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. When the two teams squared off last season, Stony Brook’s poor perimeter defense sank it to a 71-60 defeat.

Delaware has shot the ball better than anyone in the CAA this year, as it leads all 14 teams with a 46.8% shooting percentage. The Blue Hens are also fifth in the conference in three-point percentage (.343) and eighth in free throw percentage (.713).

Delaware’s shooting has carried its offense to an average of 76.3 points per game — the fourth-highest figure in the CAA.

The Blue Hens’ top offensive weapon is center Jyáre Davis, who is the conference’s sixth-leading scorer with 17.9 points per game. Davis is an undersized center at just 6-foot-7, but his physicality allows him to be an effective inside scorer. His 47.5% field goal percentage is the fifth-best rate in the CAA, and his 88% free throw percentage ranks third.

Delaware has two more starters who average double-digit scoring figures: shooting guard Cavan Reilly and point guard Jalun Trent. Reilly is averaging 11.1 points per game while shooting 41.0% from the field. Trent is posting 10.1 points per contest on 48.9% shooting. Off the bench, shooting guard Gerald Drumgoole Jr. plays the sixth-man role effectively, as he is tallying 12.5 points per game on 41.3% shooting from the field.

Power forward Christian Ray leads his team with a .571 field goal percentage, while small forward Niels Lane trails him at .517.

Reilly and Drumgoole Jr. are good from deep, as well. Reilly owns a .396 three-point shooting percentage while Drumgoole Jr. trails him at .344. Center Tyler Houser — a 6-foot-9 floor-spacer — leads the team with a .463 three-point shooting clip on 43 attempts. Shooting guard Kobe Jerome is a three-point specialist who has taken 20 shots this year — all of which have been from beyond the arc — and has made eight of them (40%).

The Blue Hens average the third-most assists per game in the CAA (14.8), led by Trent’s 3.7, which is good for fifth in the conference. Davis is second on his team with 2.9 assists per game and Ray is third with 2.5 assists per game. 

Defensively, the Seawolves’ strength is from the interior. With center Chris Maidoh anchoring in the paint, they are a league-average defensive team. They are seventh in both points allowed per game (70.9) and opponent’s field goal percentage (.435). However, they are very weak on the perimeter, as opponents shoot 36.7% from three-point range against them, which is third worst in the CAA.

Stony Brook will look to get some takeaways and turn them into points. The Seawolves average the second-most steals per game (7.1) and force the fifth-most turnovers per game (12.2) in the CAA. However, Delaware is very clean with the ball, averaging the third-fewest turnovers per game (10.8) in the league.

Point guard Dean Noll leads the conference in steals per game (1.9). Small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore and Maidoh both average 1.1 steals per contest, while point guard Aaron Clarke averages exactly one.

The Seawolves have a slight advantage over the Blue Hens on the glass. Stony Brook is fifth in the CAA with 36.4 rebounds per game, compared to Delaware’s seventh-best 35.9.

Maidoh leads the Seawolves with 6.2 rebounds per game, followed by power forward Andre Snoddy’s 6.1. Center Keenan Fitzmorris uses his 7-foot frame well on the offensive glass, as his 40 offensive rebounds are the sixth-most in the conference. Maidoh and Fitzmorris both rank in the CAA’s top 10 in blocked shots per game.

Though Ray is only 6-foot-6, he leads the Blue Hens and is second in the conference with 8.8 rebounds per game in the CAA. Davis trails him on the team’s leaderboard with 6.6 boards per contest. Drumgoole Jr. pitches in 4.5 rebounds per game.

The Blue Hens lack a player taller than 6-foot-9. Consequently, Delaware’s 2.8 blocks per game are the third-fewest in the CAA. To make up for the lackluster rim protection, the Blue Hens can pick their opponent’s pockets at a high level. Reilly (1.5), Trent (1.1), Davis (1.1) and Ray (1.1) all average north of a steal per game.

On defense, Delaware surrenders just 70.5 points per game, which is the fourth-fewest in the CAA. The team’s great scoring defense stems from tight shot contesting, as it holds its opponents to the fifth-lowest field goal percentage (.429) and three-point percentage in the CAA (.320).

The Blue Hens’ strong shot defense can partially be attributed to its size on the wing, as none of its regulars are shorter than 6-foot-4. As has been the case several times in conference play, Maidoh and Fitzmorris will be the only Stony Brook players on the court who are taller than their matchup.

The Seawolves’ inefficiencies on offense have hurt them this year. They are shooting just 42.4% as a team this year, which is the third-worst rate in the CAA. Their 34.2% three-point percentage is good, but they have made only 70.0% of their free throws — the second-worst mark in the conference.

Stony Brook will need its top offensive weapons to deliver if it is to pull off the upset. Stephenson-Moore leads the team in scoring with 14.9 points per game on a .448/.410/.795 shooting line. Shooting guard Jared Frey is one of the CAA’s best floor-spacers, shooting 40.5% from deep this year while also leading the team with 2.4 assists per game.

Clarke (12.2) and Fitzmorris (10.6) are the team’s second and third-leading scorers, respectively. Clarke owns a .372/.325/.806 triple slash along with 3.5 rebounds per game. Fitzmorris boasts a .528/.364/.797 shooting line.

Noll is averaging 9.5 points per game this year and is on a three-game heater, slashing .500/.429/1.000 over that span. Maidoh also makes an impact on the offensive end, as he is averaging 8.2 points per game on a 54.5% field goal percentage.

With all of the numbers favoring Delaware, the Seawolves will have their hands full on Thursday night.

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