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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Stony Brook men’s basketball prepares to wrap up season on Sunday against Maine

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team has had one of its most successful seasons in program history in the America East conference, and on Sunday it will try to win the conference’s regular season title for the second time in three years when it plays the University of Maine.

This will also be the last regular season game for four seniors: forward Danny Carter, guard Bryan Dougher, forward Dallis Joyner and forward Al Rapier, who will be honored before Sunday’s matchup in a pregame ceremony.

“I love the senior class,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “Since they’ve been here, we’ve done nothing but compete for league championships, everything you could ask for as a coach.”

They will try to achieve at least one more regular season victory, finishing out the schedule with the regular season championship and thus guarenteed home-court advantage should they host the conference championship game. They have been active participants in Stony Brook’s ascendance from a unremarkable men’s basketball program to a consistent title-seeker.

“It’s a special group of kids,” Pikiell said. “We’re really fortunate that they came here. We’d never had a winning season in conference play. They believed in us when not a lot of people believed in us.”

But it is not only the senior class whom Pikiell had good words for. He also remarked on the improved play of sophomores guard Dave Coley and forward Eric McCalister and how the return of junior forward Tommy Brenton from injury last year has been a huge lift.

But the past is not what is most important in Pikiell’s mind at the moment. His focus is on the Maine Black Bears (12-15, 6-9).

“We played great defense against Hartford (on Tuesday),” he said. “We need to play great defense and rebound against Maine.”

Pikiell has his eye on every player on the Maine squad, which won its game on Senior Day against the University of New Hampshire on Wednesday, 71-58. Gerarld McLemore, who up to this point has the third-best scoring average in the conference, had 16 points in the victory.

The Seawolves were 1-1 in last year’s games against Maine. They lost the first game, 70-59, at Maine’s court but then won in overtime, 71-69, when the Black Bears came to Long Island.

“It’s our last home game,” Pikiell said. “I think our guys are excited about it. Hopefully our depth will prove to be a really positive again.”

Even with the conference tournament ahead, Pikiell’s focus is on this weekend.

“Whatever the bracket is, the bracket is,” he said. “The bottom line is that you’ve got to win your game. The best team doesn’t always win the tournament. It’s one game, 40 minutes. We’ve got to be better than the other team for 40 minutes.”

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