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Men’s basketball drops second straight at Eastern Illinois

Despite a career-high 19 points from senior Al Rapier, Stony Brook men’s basketball fell short against Eastern Illinois, losing 72-69. Jeremy Granger of EIU scored 25 points, and the Panthers capitalized on 17 free throw attempts in the second half to secure the win.

SBU out-rebounded EIU 39-36, 19 of them offensive, but that was not enough to make up for the free throw difference. Stony Brook shot 41 percent from the field but only went to the line five times, whereas the Panthers shot 44 percent and were 16 of 21 from the stripe.

In addition to Rapier’s 19, Dougher finished with 16 points, and Brenton added 11 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

“Eastern Illinois played a very good game today, and I thought our defense struggled with their personnel,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “They have some good players that we had no answer for today. We have to get better on defense.”

The Seawolves played well in the first half, at one point going on a 20-1 run. Bryan Dougher led the team on this run, scoring 11 consecutive points including three three-pointers. This put Stony Brook on top 26-14 with 4:32 to go in the first half.

EIU closed the gap before the end of the half, making it 30-29 heading into the locker room. The game was tight in the second half, with seven ties early on. Stony Brook took its final lead at 49-48 off an Anthony Jackson three.

The Seawolves missed their next six shots, letting EIU go on a 9-0 run making it 57-49.

For the rest of the second half, SBU fought hard and went on runs, but the Panthers were able to fend off the rallies and kill any form of momentum. Stony Brook had chances to take the lead at 61-59, 66-65, and 70-69 but not once were they able to get over the hump.

Stony Brook heads home for a Wednesday matchup with Fairleigh Dickson at Pritchard Gym at 7 p.m.

The game is the first game that will be televised on Optimum Local Channel 118. There will be 11 men’s and women’s basketball games over the course of the season.

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