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Stony Brook men’s basketball ends regular season with beatdown of Delaware

Point guard Aaron Clarke shoots over Delaware point guard Jalun Trent on Saturday, March 3. Clarke led the Stony Brook men’s basketball team with 19 points in a blowout win. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team honored its seniors perfectly to end its regular season.

In their regular season and home finale, the Seawolves (17-14, 10-8 CAA) earned a hard-fought victory over the Delaware Blue Hens (18-13, 10-8 CAA) at Island Federal Arena on Saturday. On a night where almost everything fell, Stony Brook’s shooters helped it run away in the second half to secure a 79-56 win. With the victory the team secured the seventh seed in the 2024 Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) men’s basketball tournament.

The Seawolves owned almost every single statistical advantage over Delaware. They shot 50% from the field and 52.6% from three-point range while holding the Blue Hens to just 43.1% and 12.5%, respectively. On defense, Stony Brook made a plethora of splash plays through the first nine minutes to set an aggressive tone.

Small forward Tyler Stephenson-Moore blocked a pair of layups from Delaware point guard Jalun Trent and power forward Christian Ray within a span of two minutes. Just 13 seconds after Stephenson-Moore denied Ray, center Keenan Fitzmorris decided to do the same. Starting at the 12:06 mark of the first half, power forward Andre Snoddy went pick-pocketing, recording three steals in a span of 35 seconds.

Head coach Geno Ford said his team played smart defense and took away the Blue Hens’ strength, leading to many electric takeaways.

“I thought we guarded them fairly intelligently,” Ford said in a postgame press conference. “Tyler had some blocks … Fitz had some blocks and that always helps because it discourages them. They’re a dribble-drive-heavy team and we happened to catch them on a night where they didn’t make threes so that helped things, too.”

The Seawolves’ offense stumbled out of the gate, but their defense sparked a 25-7 extended run. Shooting guard Dean Noll and Stephenson-Moore each went inside and out to spearhead the run with six points apiece, giving them a 13-point lead with just five minutes remaining in the first half. Both teams traded blows after that, with Delaware shaving the lead down to nine points by halftime with a buzzer-beating put-back layup from center Jyáre Davis.

The Blue Hens fed off the momentum from Davis’ last-second shot, as they opened the half on a 10-2 run with physical, contested layups from shooting guard Gerald Drumgoole Jr., small forward Niels Lane and Ray.

After watching its lead dwindle down to just a point, Stony Brook took over the game and put it to bed early. Point guard Aaron Clarke drained a deep three-pointer off the left wing to snap a three-and-a-half minute scoring drought. On the ensuing defensive possession, small forward Sabry Philip intercepted Davis’ pass and won a race to the basket, flushing it home with two hands and hanging on the rim to ignite the crowd.

Philip and Clarke kept the show running in the immediate aftermath. On the next possession, Philip hauled in a rebound before giving way to Clarke, who knocked down a step-back three from the top. After forcing another miss, Clarke pulled down the defensive rebound and took it coast to coast before finding his spot on the right baseline and sinking his jump shot to cap a 10-0 run.

Delaware shooting guard Cavan Reilly broke the scoring streak with a three-pointer, but Clarke responded immediately with another mid-range jumper. Just over a minute later, Clarke bounced it over to center Chris Maidoh, who spun around in the paint before slamming a thunderous dunk down.

The Blue Hens got two points back with a left-handed jump hook by center Tyler Houser, but over the next two minutes, Stephenson-Moore drilled three consecutive three-point attempts. Reilly responded by knocking one down from mid-range, but Fitzmorris dunked one home off a fast break to finish a 25-7 extended run, giving the Seawolves a 19-point lead with 8:13 left.

The rest of the game was all garbage time, but Stony Brook did not take its foot off the gas. The final eight minutes saw another nasty fast-break dunk by Philip off a steal and assist from shooting guard Jared Frey, who later combined for back-to-back threes with Stephenson-Moore. Small forward Peyton Frey — Jared’s younger brother — finished off a 14-4 run with a layup to give the team a 25-point lead.

Clarke led the team with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting and went 3-for-4 from deep. He also pulled down four rebounds and dished out two assists without committing a turnover.

In his final game at Island Federal, Stephenson-Moore scored 18 points while shooting 6-for-12 from the field and 5-for-7 from three-point territory. He also led the team with eight rebounds and three blocks while also collecting one steal.

Stephenson-Moore felt some emotion about his last-ever home game, but he is more focused on the CAA playoffs.

“It still hasn’t hit me; I feel like I’m emotionally there but it’s just not coming out,” Stephenson-Moore said. “I just know we have some unfinished business. We’ll save all the emotional stuff for the playoffs. We’ve got four games to win.” 

Maidoh and Fitzmorris scored 10 points apiece. Maidoh shot 3-for-7 from the field and 4-for-6 from the free-throw line while also tallying six rebounds and a block. Fitzmorris made four of his seven field goals and finished with five rebounds and two blocks.

Snoddy and Jared Frey co-led the team with three assists apiece. Frey scored six points on 2-of-4 shooting, all of which was from beyond the arc. He also recorded two steals, trailing only Snoddy, who finished with three.

Davis had another huge day with 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting while pulling down 16 rebounds. He also blocked two shots and recorded a steal. All of his teammates combined to shoot 38.6% from the field.

As the seventh seed in the playoffs, the Seawolves will take on the Northeastern Huskies on Saturday night at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. The Huskies are 12-19 overall and 7-11 in CAA play after losing 73-59 to Drexel on Saturday. Opening tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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