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Stony Brook men’s basketball to finish regular season versus Delaware

Small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore shoots a layup through contact against William & Mary on Saturday, Feb. 24. Stephenson-Moore, along with several others, will play his last-ever game at Island Federal Arena tomorrow versus Delaware. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

In both its home and regular-season finale, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team will look to enter the 2024 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) men’s basketball tournament on a high note.

The Seawolves (16-14, 9-8 CAA) will host the Delaware Blue Hens (18-12, 10-7 CAA) at Island Federal Arena on Saturday with opening tip-off set for 4 p.m. Stony Brook will shoot for a split season series with Delaware after blowing a double-digit point lead against it on Jan. 18.

The Blue Hens have been one of the most efficient teams in the CAA this season, as their .467 field goal percentage is second best amongst the 14 teams. They have plenty of players who get inside and finish with ease, such as center Jyáre Davis, who leads them and ranks seventh in the conference with 17.6 points per game. Though Davis is an undersized five man at 6-foot-7, he has been a wrecking ball in the paint. What makes him even more lethal is that he cannot be hacked, as he has made 83.0% of his free throws this year.

Davis playing center is indicative of Delaware’s lack of height, as he profiles perfectly as a power forward. However, the team’s height issues have not affected it when attacking the rim. 

Power forward Christian Ray is just 6-foot-6, but he leads the team with a .583 field goal percentage. Small forward Niels Lane is another good finisher, evidenced by his .529 shooting percentage from the field. After them, point guard Jalun Trent is shooting 51.3% from the floor this year.

The Blue Hens’ efficiency has made it the fourth-best scoring offense in the CAA with 74.1 points per game. Shooting guard Gerald Drumgoole Jr. has earned the starting role for them after beginning the season as their sixth man and is their second-leading scorer with 13.7 points per game. Behind Drumgoole Jr., Lane is averaging 9.8 points per contest, followed by Ray at 9.5 and shooting guard Cavan Reilly at 9.2. Trent is sixth on the team with 8.4 points per game.

Despite its downhill-scoring prowess, Delaware is not as good in other areas. It sports the sixth-worst three-point percentage (.338) and the fourth-worst free throw percentage (.707) in the CAA.

Drumgoole Jr. is shooting 42.6% from the field and 36.9% from three. Reilly leads the team with a .376 three-point percentage. Center Tyler Houser — a 6-foot-9 floor-spacer — has shot 36.4% from deep this year on 77 attempts. Shooting guard Kobe Jerome is back after sitting for three weeks and has made eight of his 23 threes (34.8%) this year.

The Blue Hens move the ball very effectively, as they average the third-most assists per game (14) in the conference. Trent is their lead facilitator, averaging 3.1 assists per game, followed by Davis and Ray at 2.5 apiece. Drumgoole Jr. rounds out the list of players with multiple dimes per contest, as he averages 2.4.

Delaware’s well-oiled offense will face off with an up-and-down Seawolves’ defense that is coming off one of its worst performances of the year. Stony Brook has been stuck in the middle tier of the CAA’s scoring defenses all year long, but it fell to 10th (or fifth worst) with 72.7 points allowed per game after surrendering 90 to Drexel on Thursday.

The Seawolves’ shot defense has been excellent for the most part, as they are allowing the fifth-lowest field goal percentage (.427) in the conference. However, as part of their inconsistency, they allow too many good looks from deep. Opponents shoot 35.0% from deep against Stony Brook: the fourth-worst rate in the CAA.

Centers Chris Maidoh and Keenan Fitzmorris have been crucial to the team’s success in defending the interior. Maidoh has the best box plus-minus and defensive rating on the team while also leading the team in steals plus blocks (53). Fitzmorris is ninth in blocks per game (1.0) and eighth in total blocks (31).

Shooting guard Dean Noll is one of Stony Brook’s better on-ball perimeter defenders, as his 1.4 steals per game rank fifth in the league. Small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore has averaged 1.1 steals per game, followed by Maidoh’s 0.9. Small forward Sabry Philip will also get some burn in an attempt to slow down Drumgoole Jr. and Reilly at the three-point line.

The Seawolves own a slight statistical advantage on the glass coming into this matchup. They are fifth in the CAA with 36.2 rebounds per game, just one spot above the Blue Hens’ 35.5.

Power forward Andre Snoddy leads Stony Brook’s rebounding efforts with 7.3 per game, which is the seventh-best mark in the conference. Also contributing to the effort are Maidoh, who trails Snoddy with 5.6 rebounds per game, followed by Fitzmorris with 4.4.

However, Ray leads the entire CAA with 9.1 boards per contest. Davis is sixth in the league with 7.4 rebounds per game. After those two, Drumgoole Jr. ranks third on his team with 3.9.

Delaware is one of the smallest teams in the conference, which hurts its rim protection. Other than only having two rebounders averaging over four per game, the Blue Hens average the fifth-fewest blocks per game (3.0) in the CAA. Despite being just 6-foot-4, Trent is the master of the chasedown, as he leads them with 27 blocks and 0.9 per game. Houser — their tallest player — averages 0.7 blocks per game, which trails Trent on their team leaderboard.

Despite its lack of height, Delaware is one of the conference’s premier defenses. It is allowing the fourth-fewest points per game (69.9) in the CAA while allowing a conference-best .310 three-point percentage. Overall, the Blue Hens’ shot defense has held their foes to just 42.9% shooting from the field, which is the sixth-best rate in the league.

Much like the blocks category, Delaware does not rack up a lot of steals. Reilly leads the team with 1.3 steals per game, followed by Trent’s 1.1.

The Blue Hens’ defense will match up with a Seawolves’ offense that has been just as unpredictable as their defense. Stony Brook’s offense ranks seventh in the CAA with 72.9 points per game and sixth with a .436 field goal percentage. The team has shot 34.5% from three-point territory this year, which is the fifth-best mark in the conference.

Leading the way is Stephenson-Moore, who is the league’s eighth-leading scorer with 16.0 points per game on a .441/.415/.837 shooting line. Point guard Aaron Clarke is the Seawolves’ second scoring option and their main facilitator with 13.2 points and 3.0 assists per game.

Behind those two, Fitzmorris’ offense is his strength. He has averaged 11.1 points per game on 51.5% shooting from the field and 78.9% from the free-throw line. Noll is fourth on the team with 10.2 points per contest on a .408/.366/.796 triple slash while also dishing out 2.0 assists per game. He is coming off a season-high 21-point performance against Drexel.

Maidoh leads the team with a .550 field goal percentage and puts up 7.0 points per game. Shooting guard Jared Frey is the team’s three-point specialist, as he has made 37.2% of his 113 tries. He is also a good playmaker off the bench, as his 1.9 assists per game lead the second unit and rank third on the team.

Saturday’s game will also serve as Stony Brook’s senior game. If the Seawolves can get the win, they may be able to clinch a seed in the top half of the CAA while also sending their seniors off with a win in their last-ever home game. Some of those who are out of eligibility and will definitely be honored are Clarke, Noll, Stephenson-Moore and Maidoh.

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