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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Points in the Paint: Turnover struggles for men’s team, McCombs’s shortened rotation

Sophomore Kori Bayne-Walker (No. 5, above) scored nine points in SBU’s loss over to Ioa State. (ANDREW EICHENHOLZ / THE STATESMAN)

Point #1: Turnovers are plaguing the SBU men’s basketball team in the early going

As with the squad made up of mostly freshmen, Stony Brook’s made a habit out of shooting themselves in the foot in recent losses.

The Seawolves rank 287th in the country in turnover rate out of 351 schools, as per kenpom.

Nearly a quarter of SBU’s possessions end in a giveaway, a number that, if remains come the postseason, will cost the Seawolves a chance at a tournament berth.

To no surprise, the main culprits are the freshmen.

Deshaun Thrower has given the ball away on 24.6 percent of his possessions, Roland L’Amour Nyama on 31.8 percent and Bryan Sekunda has thrown it away on 32.1 percent of his possessions.

The team leader, however? Sophomore Kameron Mitchell, who has started every game of the season.

39.5 percent of Mitchell’s personal possessions have ended in a turnover, as per kenpom.

Turnovers have only been a major problem in recent contests. Stony Brook did a relatively good job holding on to the ball in the season’s first few games.

The Seawolves will have to clamp down on the giveaways if they want to get back in the win column.

This could very easily be a bump in the road that fixes itself.

Point #2: Tyrell Sturdivant has loads of potential

After not playing until the third game of Stony Brook’s schedule, freshman Tyrell Sturdivant went on quite a tear.

In his first contest playing legitimate minutes, Sturdivant went for a double-double in just 15 minutes of action.

Granted, this was against the Division III U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, but Sturdivant followed his breakout performance  with a 10-point, five rebound night against Western Kentucky.

He is currently second on the team in both points and rebounds per 40 minutes according to Sports-Reference.

He and Jameel Warney have shared floor time as a menacing defensive frontcourt.

Although Sturdivant is still on the raw side, his superb length and soft touch has made him effective down low on the offensive end.

On the flip side, Sturdivant is not the quickest defender on the roster, but uses his stature well as a rim protector.

Head coach Steve Pikiell has boasted about his freshman all season long and we finally got a glimpse of why.

Point #3: Non-conference tests do not signal failure for the SBU women’s basketball team

Much like the men’s team has done, coach Caroline McCombs and her Seawolves have faced a tough, nonconference schedule.

Contrary to the 8-3 start to last season’s campaign, there have been more bumps along the way.

Yes, the likes of the Duke Blue Devils will do that to a team’s momentum, but fret not.

It may be for the better of the team in the end.

Last year, Stony Brook and Albany were a couple of steps ahead of the rest of the America East Conference, and that may very well be the case again this year.

But after Stony Brook beat the Great Danes in their dynamic clash at the end of the regular season, Albany regrouped and put on an absolute clinic in the conference championship game.

Perhaps it will be the schedule that McCombs and company go through during the early parts of the season that will prepare the team to go through bumps at the end of the year, when it matters most.

This time, with difficulty early on, they will hope to be ready for it in the big moments.

Point #4: How long will McCombs’ small rotation last?

While men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell has played around a lot with his rotation, testing out many lineups with pretty much everybody on the team seeing significant time at some point, coach McCombs has done the opposite.

Only seven players on the team have seen on average more than 12 minutes of action per game.

Everybody else is below 10 minutes per game, with most of those being limited to the not-so-big moments.

It has been interesting to see McCombs’ use of junior Kim Hanlon this season, after Hanlon got only rare minutes under former coach Beth O’Boyle last season.

She has had quite a few plays run for her to take three-point shots straight off of an inbounds pass throughout the season.

The question is, has McCombs seen what she wanted from this team, or will she start to change things up as America East play quickly approaches?

Andrew Eichenholz contributed the last two points of this story.

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