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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 Moves Past Albany With 58-47 Win

The men’s basketball team had a total of nine conference wins in Head Coach Steve Pikiell’s first three seasons on the sideline. With a revolving cast of players, the Seawolves were never a serious threat in the America East. But for the first time under Coach Pikiell, Stony Brook is battling for one of the top four seeds in the America East conference.

They’ve done it all season, with a tough defense and an offense that has been able to make big shots when necessary.

The Seawolves lead the America East conference in scoring defense, allowing only 61.2 points per game. They also lead the conference in steals with 8.8 per game.

Those two factors played heavily into the Seawolves 58-47 win over the Albany Great Danes on Thursday night at Pritchard Gymnasium.

“We came out today to play hard, to move up in the rankings and secure fourth place,” sophomore guard Chris Martin said after the game. Martin led the team with 20 points off the bench.

Stony Brook used a high pressure, harassing defense early on, and forced the Great Danes into many of their 21 turnovers before the 12-minute mark of the first half even came. The Seawolves turned those mistakes into fast break points.

The 12-4 run to start the game was highlighted by an alley-oop thrown down by Demetrius Young from Muhammad El-Amin. The play was #8 on the Sportscenter top-10 plays of the night on Thursday evening.

After that, it got ugly. But it seems the Seawolves like it that way.

“We just play,” Coach Pikiell said. “We did a great job defensively in the first half, even when our offense wasn’t great.”

The Seawolves went into the half up 20-19 after a three-point play by Young with nine seconds left.

The game stayed close in the second half, and the Seawolves used their defense and toughness to hold the Great Danes at bay.

“I was real pleased that we learned from the Binghamton game and made free throws down the stretch, made big stops,” Coach Pikiell said. “We beat a good basketball team that dominated our league for years.”

The second half saw even more physical play, and big contributions from players like Marques Cox and Tommy Brenton, who made big plays that didn’t show up in the box score.

“He does everything for us,” Pikiell said of Cox. “He’s tough as nails, he takes charges, gets big rebounds, always guards the best guy on the other team. He gets no attention, no credit, but not from the coaching staff. He brings high energy, he’s had a great year for us,” he said.

Although Cox did not score in the game, his presence was felt, diving for loose balls, coming up with big steals, and sacrificing his body and taking multiple charges.

Brenton, the 6-5 forward, who grabbed only four rebounds, was forced to guard 6-8 forward Brian Connelly and 6-11 center Brett Gifford all night.

Brenton and Connelly had some spirited battles under the basket, and Connelley gave Brenton one of two elbows the freshman took straight to the face.

“He’s tough, I don’t worry about Tommy,” Pikiell said. “He’s always in some type of commotion because he’s physical, which we need. He’s pretty calm and cool during the course of games, but he’s physical and playing guys that hit him, and he’s going to hit back.”

After Albany’s Jamie Covington sent Brenton to the floor and eventually the bench with a bloody nose, Martin took it upon himself to stand up for his teammate.

“I was just trying to defend my teammate,” Martin said. “He got hit with two elbows, the ref wasn’t doing anything so I went to defend him.”

“We don’t really need a fourth ref out there, but I appreciated Chris going in there to help out,” Pikiell joked. “I like the fact that he was defending his teammates, just do it a little quieter next time.”

Pikiell also spoke of the rest of the teams chemistry.

“We have a lounge now, they hang out, they watch TV together, they watch games together, they do more things as a team,” he said. “And all those little things are huge things. We have good chemistry, we’re very unselfish.”

It all adds up to the best season in the Seawolves’ brief Division I history.

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