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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Men’s basketball wins first conference game against Vermont

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team won a tightly contested game against the University of Vermont Catamounts on Monday evening, 65-59, the Seawolves’ first America East conference game of the season.

Head coach Steve Pikiell was pleased with his team’s defense, holding Vermont to a season-low 34 percent shooting percentage and maintaining a strong presence underneath the basket.

“It’s our defense, and that’s part of our defensive package,” he said after the game. “You’ve got four of the best rebounders in the conference. That’s one thing we take a lot of pride in.”

The Seawolves would bring down 37 total rebounds for the evening, 11 of those coming on offense and giving the team the opportunity to score 11 points with second chances.

However, those efforts would not prevent the game from being a close contest almost immediatley from the beginning. Both teams edged each other for the first 10 minutes of the game with the score midway in the first half standing at 10-10. Vermont consistently attempted three point shots from the corner of the court and made a significant number of them to keep Seawolves fans worried.

“They took a lot of three’s,” Pikiell said, “And they don’t normally do that.”

For the final 10 minutes of the half, however, the Seawolves began to put some distance between themselves and the Catamounts, who accumulated a substantial number fouls early on. Seniors Bryan Dougher and Al Rapier and sophomore Dave Coley combined for 31 of Stony Brook’s 32 points for the half. They would finish with a combined effort of 46 points. Rapier and Coley would have career-high performances with 17 and 15 points, respectively.

Rapier was particularly active underneath the basket, finding himself open as the Catamounts moved away from the hoop to defend the other four seawolves. He would tally seven made shots on the evening out of 11, a 63 percent field goal percentage.

“My teammates got me the ball, and I made plays,” he said.

After halftime, the Catamounts made a push to pass and surge ahead of the Seawolves that had many of the fans that evening getting anxious. They continued to take pieces out of Stony Brook’s lead until Clancy Rugg made a three point shot that put Vermont on top, 37-36. For the next few minutes, the two teams would exchange the lead.

“It’s a 40-minute game,” Pikiell said. “They’re going to go on a run. You’re going to have those kind of periods. Our defense sustained us.”

Pikiell’s team put up statistically the best defensive effort that Vermont has seen all season, holding the Catamounts to a season-low 34 percent field goal percentage.

“This organization was built to win,” Coley, who said he wanted the rest of the America East teams to know that he felt prepared to defend their best players. “We preach defense. That’s what you’ve got to do to win.”

As the time left the game began to slip away, the Seawolves fired ahead, pushing their lead to over 12 points. The rest of the game would not pass without some worry, however, as the Catamounts once again creeped back into the struggle.

But the closest they would come is six points within Stony Brook, and that would be their final deficit as the Seawolves took the game, 65-59.

The Seawolves will next return to action on Thursday as they play Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y. Stony Brook’s next home game will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday when the team plays the University of Albany.

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