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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stephenson-Moore’s career game elevates Stony Brook men’s basketball over N.C. A&T

Small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore drives the lane through two North Carolina A&T defenders on Thursday, Feb. 22. Stephenson-Moore scored a career-high 28 points. MACKENZIE YADDAW/THE STATESMAN

Behind a career-high 28 points from small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team bounced back in a big way.

After being annihilated in their last outing, the Seawolves (15-13, 8-7 CAA) defeated the North Carolina A&T (N.C. A&T) Aggies (7-21, 5-10 CAA) in an 80-64 victory at Island Federal Arena on Thursday night. After having a string of rough defensive games, Stony Brook locked down N.C. A&T from the field while complementing the effort with some solid shooting.

The Seawolves struggled to contain the Aggies on offense, as shooting guard Landon Glasper torched them for 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting through the first 15 minutes. However, Stony Brook had its three-ball working, as it shot 50% from deep in the first half to keep pace, leading to a 25-25 deadlock with just over five minutes remaining until halftime.

After shooting guard Jared Frey knocked down a tough layup between two defenders to beat the shot clock, the Seawolves broke the tie and heated up. After getting a steal on the defensive end, center Keenan Fitzmorris drew a double team in the low post and whipped it out to a wide-open Stephenson-Moore on the right wing. Stephenson-Moore drained his three-pointer to go up by two possessions.

Frey and Stephenson-Moore’s buckets propelled Stony Brook, jump-starting a 14-4 run to end the first half. On consecutive possessions within the final minute and a half, Frey and Stephenson-Moore each buried a triple, allowing the Seawolves to take a 10-point lead into halftime.

Stephenson-Moore scored 13 of his career-high 28 points in the first half on 5-of-9 shooting — 3-of-4 of which was from deep. He credited his career night to the performance of his teammates around him, who racked up 19 assists and 12 in the first half.

“Honestly, just my teammates were finding me, just moving around the ball and just playing with confidence,” Stephenson-Moore said in a postgame press conference. “You know, we don’t have so many games left so you know we’ve got to make all of these games count.”

Stony Brook opened up the second half in identical fashion, going on yet another 14-4 run on the back of three consecutive layups from shooting guard Dean Noll and back-to-back threes from Stephenson-Moore. Noll capped the run with a pair of free throws to give them a 20-point cushion with 15:40 left in the game.

Some back-and-forth play ensued over the next minute and a half, shaving two points off the Seawolves’ lead. From there, Stephenson-Moore put any potential threat of a run by N.C. A&T to bed by knocking down a pair of free throws and a mid-range jump shot before stripping Glasper on the defensive end. After the steal, Fitzmorris found small forward Sabry Philip uncovered on the backdoor cut, who flushed home a mean two-handed dunk to send the crowd into overdrive.

After Philip’s jam, Stephenson-Moore came back with a layup to cap off an 8-0 run, spotting his team an insurmountable 26-point lead with fewer than 12 minutes to play.

The rest of the game was all garbage time. Stony Brook maintained its 26-point lead over the next five minutes before the Aggies finally started to make up ground. However, their efforts were far too little and way too late to change the game’s outcome.

The Seawolves shot 47.5% from the field and 34.6% from deep. Head coach Geno Ford credited the solid offensive showing to a strong connection between the players.

“We were sharp offensively,” Ford said in a postgame press conference. “We shared the ball. We had 12 assists in our first 14 baskets and so the ball was finding the right guy. I thought we had really good energy, really good chemistry, really good togetherness … It’s easy when everyone is playing well.”

Stephenson-Moore’s 28 points came on 10-of-16 shooting. He went 5-for-7 from three-point range and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. He also led the team with two steals.

Power forward Andre Snoddy had a good night, scoring 13 points while shooting 5-for-8. He also pulled down six rebounds. Frey had his best game of the conference season with 11 points while shooting 4-for-8 from the field and 3-for-7 from deep.

Fitzmorris finished the game with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting. He also hauled in eight rebounds, blocked two shots and picked up a steal. Point guard Aaron Clarke had a bad night shooting, scoring just two points while going 1-for-9 from the field and 0-for-6 from downtown. However, he racked up a career-high 10 rebounds and collected a season-best eight assists.

On defense, Stony Brook held N.C. A&T to just a .345/.250/.692 shooting line. The Seawolves shut out Glasper in the second half, as he finished with 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting. Power forward Nikolaos Chitikoudis finished with 13 points while shooting 4-for-6. Small forward Uchenna Kellman-Nicholes finished with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting and grabbed six boards, while shooting guard Jalal McKie also scored 10 while going 3-for-10 from the floor.

Stony Brook will remain home to wrap up its season series with the William & Mary Tribe on Saturday afternoon. The Tribe are 8-20 this season and 3-12 in Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) play after losing 81-65 to the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Thursday night. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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