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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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Seawolves miss first-ever NCAA tournament bid, have to settle for NIT again

Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook's career leader in rebounding, will finish his college career without any NCAA tournament appearances. (EZRA MARGANO / THE STATESMAN)
Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook’s career leader in rebounding, will finish his college career without any NCAA tournament appearances. (EZRA MARGONO / THE STATESMAN)

And just like that, Stony Brook’s bid for its first-ever NCAA tournament bid came to an end.

It has become a familiar feeling for the Seawolves, who will once again have to settle for a bid into the NIT tournament for the third time in four years.

“At this level, you got to win, win, win, win, win, 24 wins was not enough.” Pikiell said after the game. “I’m disappointed for our university, but we’ve been doing this for 12 years, some teams go 100 years with no NCAA berths.”

Despite graduating three starters from last year’s squad, including four-year starters Bryan Dougher and Dallis Joyner, Stony Brook actually improved overall this season.

Led by the America East Player and Defensive Player of the Year in Tommy Brenton, and getting contributions from junior guards Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley as well as from freshman forward Jameel Warney, the conference rookie-of-the-year, Stony Brook ran the table in conference play, going 14-2 in the America East regular season.

Unlike past years where the offense was inconsistent, this year’s team brought efficient offense in addition to the suffocating defense the program has become known for. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Seawolves averaged 68.4 points per game and held their opponents to 37.4 percent shooting from the floor, the fifth-best rate in Division I.

However, the offense went cold in the first half, and shot only 28.6 percent.

Stony Brook came back, tying the game in the dying seconds, only to see Albany’s Mike Black come right back and hit the game-winning lay-up with 2.4 seconds left.

Uncharacteristically, Stony Brook was out-rebounded 38-32 by the Great Danes.

It is a bitter ending for the seniors, particularly for Brenton, a red-shirt senior who has twice seen the team come up one game short of getting an NCAA tournament bid in his career.

“I just love playing here, love the guys, the community, the fans, the band, everything,” Brenton said. “It’s been an unbelievable five years.” Brenton said.

While Brenton will be the only starter graduating, he will not be easy to replace.

The 6-foot-5 forward from Maryland finishes his career as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds, fourth in assists and second in steals.

For Pikiell, who took over the program in 2005 and turned it from one of the worst teams in Division I to a top America East program, the team has accomplished all of its goals over the past few years, including winning three regular season titles over the past four years.

The biggest goal, however, remains elusive for the Seawolves: that coveted NCAA tournament appearance.

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