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Stony Brook men’s basketball carved up by Campbell

Point guard Aaron Clarke shoots a layup against Northeastern on Saturday, Feb. 3. Clarke led the Stony Brook men’s basketball team with 16 points and five assists on Saturday at Campbell. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

Though it put up some points, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team had absolutely no answer on the defensive end.

Clashing for the first time in program history, the Seawolves (13-12, 6-6 CAA) were blown away by an offensive onslaught from the Campbell Camels (12-13, 6-6 CAA) in North Carolina on Saturday afternoon. After jumping out to an early lead, Stony Brook’s defense melted down and never recovered, leading to a 95-77 loss.

The Seawolves got off to a sizzling start, scoring both inside and out. Finishes around the rim by power forward Andre Snoddy and center Chris Maidoh got them on the board and a pair of three-pointers by point guard Dean Noll helped space the floor. Point guard Aaron Clarke joined in on the fun, knocking down jump shots from mid-range and deep. Small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore got involved by hitting a pair of free throws and a layup to put Stony Brook up 19-12 just seven minutes into the game.

Center Keenan Fitzmorris followed Stephenson-Moore’s layup by draining a triple to put his team up by 10 points. Campbell shooting guard Gediminas Mokseckas answered with a three of his own. However, Fitzmorris went right back at Mokseckas, dropping an and-one layup over him and converting the following free throw to restore the 10-point cushion with 11:55 left in the first half.

After falling behind by double figures, the Camels kicked it into gear and made 15 of their next 19 shots from the field to end the first half. During the run, five of their shooters combined to make six three-pointers in nine team attempts, spearheading a 37-13 extended run to put the Seawolves in a 14-point hole by halftime.

Campbell point guard Jasin Sinani hit two triples during the stretch and scored 10 points, two of which came on a last-second driving layup. Power forward Anthony Dell’Orso also provided 10 points and drilled a three during the explosion.

Head coach Geno Ford attributed Stony Brook’s porous defense to mental lapses.

“Campbell did a great job of running their offense today at a high level,” Ford said in a postgame interview with Stony Brook Athletics. “We were not sharp mentally on that end of the floor.”

The Camels kept their feet on the gas in the second half and continued to let Dell’Orso run the show, as he flushed down a mean two-handed dunk just nine seconds into the period. Through the first 10 and a half minutes of the final frame, Dell’Orso went downhill and scored with ease, racking up another 10 points while Mokseckas chipped in with a pair of threes and a layup.

With just 9:36 left in the game, Campbell center Laurynas Vaistaras found small forward Elijah Walsh cutting wide open towards the basket and set him up for an easy dunk. Walsh’s slam expanded the Seawolves’ deficit to a game-worst 23 points, putting it out of their reach.

However, they did not roll over and die. Ford implemented a full-court press, allowing Stony Brook to calm things down on defense. Carried by a three-point play by Fitzmorris and a triple by shooting guard Jared Frey, the Seawolves rode a 13-2 run to cut their deficit down to just 12 points with six minutes remaining.

The Camels put the comeback hopes to bed when point guard Omar Harris hit tough driving layups on consecutive possessions — the second of which came through a flagrant foul by Noll. Harris converted his and-one and on the ensuing inbound, Sinani bounced it between two defenders to find Walsh slashing towards the basket, setting him up perfectly for the layup.

Campbell’s layup party made it a 17-point game with just 4:34 left in the game, putting the final nail in Stony Brook’s coffin. Both teams padded their statistics with meaningless baskets over the rest of the contest to help the Camels reach their highest scoring output since Dec. 14, 2022, when they dropped 97 points on William Peace — an NCAA Division III school.

As bad as the Seawolves were on defense, they were not much better on offense. They shot just 41.8% from the field and 58.8% from the free-throw line, though they did make 39.3% of their three-pointers.

With neither the offense or defense showing up in a meaningful way, Ford believes the team never had a shot to win.

“We had several good looks we couldn’t convert and when you combined those two issues it’s a really bad formula,” Ford said. “In league games, you have to play well to have a chance to win. We certainly didn’t today.”

Clarke and Noll co-led the team with 16 points apiece. Clarke shot 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-6 from range while also leading the team with five assists. Noll posted similar shooting numbers, as he went 5-for-10 from the field and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Stephenson-Moore had a night to forget, scoring 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting and went 0-for-5 from deep. However, he did tally five rebounds and the team’s only two blocks on the day.

Fitzmorris brought some offense off the bench, scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting. Frey had a good night from the reserve squad, scoring eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three.

Snoddy led Stony Brook with seven rebounds.

All five of Campbell’s starters cracked double-digit scoring totals while eight of its 10 shooters made over 50% of their field goals. As a team, the Camels shot 64.4% overall and 47.6% from deep. Their high-percentage shooting netted them 29 assists — the second most ever for a home game in program history.

Dell’Orso led the effort, scoring 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting while also providing five rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. Sanini scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, hauled in seven boards and dished out four assists.

Walsh scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Mokseckas finished with 11 points while shooting 4-for-6 from the field and 3-for-5 from deep. Vaistaras scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, led the team with nine assists, pulled down five rebounds and swiped a pair of steals.

The Seawolves will now return to Island Federal Arena to battle the Hampton Pirates on Thursday night. The Pirates are 5-20 overall and 0-12 in conference play after falling 95-65 to the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Saturday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 6:31 p.m.

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