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Dougher drops 26 in OT loss to Lehigh

After a nine-day layoff, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team was back in action at Pritchard Gymnasium suffering a 79-76 OT loss at the hands of Lehigh University on Wednesday night.

Junior guard Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) had a season high 26 points, but in the end, the Seawolves (3-3) blew a 14-point second half lead, dropping their second-straight home game after not having lost at Pritchard Gymnasium in their previous 10.

“I’m just disappointed,” Seawolves head coach Steve Pikiell said after the game. “79 points is just way too much for us to give up. You give up that many points at home, and you’re going to lose.”

The Seawolves held a healthy 14-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go in the game, but were done in primarily by Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum, who had a game-high 31 points on 10 of 19 shooting.

“He got open jump shots, he got out in transition, he made free throws,” Coach Pikiell said of McCollum. “That was the guy, we talked about him for 10 days, everything is run through his hands. We needed to hold him to 15 points and he got 31. That was the key to the basketball game. “

The second-year guard from Ohio led the comeback, scoring 13 of his 31 points in the final nine minutes of regulation and in OT to help Lehigh escape with the win.

The Seawolves started the game off strong, holding the Mountain Hawks to 30 first-half points, including only 8 from McCollum.

But the defense fell apart at the start of the second half as Lehigh cut the lead to four, forcing an SBU timeout.

“When you’re up eight at halftime, you either let a team know they’re in for a long night, or you let them know they’re back in the game,” Pikiell said. “We let them know they were back in the game in a hurry.”

Clutch shots by Dougher down the stretch kept the Seawolves ahead until the final seconds of regulation where McCollum converted two free throws to tie the game at 66. McCollum would get another chance to win the game but was too strong on a jumper from the elbow.

Stony Brook had multiple chances to take the lead in the final seconds of overtime, but a missed free throw by junior forward Dallis Joyner (Norfolk, Va.) and two free throws by McCollum put Lehigh up three, setting up the play of the game.

With less than 20 seconds left, Dougher got the ball in the corner and, with a pump fake, got the Lehigh defender in the air. Leaning off balance, Dougher hit what looked at first to be a three-pointer, but after a second look via replay it was ruled that his foot was on the line, making it a two, and putting SBU down 1.

“I was hoping it was a three,” Dougher said after the game. “I figured I was shooting a three, but I guess my toe was on the line.”

In overtime, McCollum would hit two more free throws to put the Mountain Hawks back up by three, and with less than three seconds to play, a half-court heave from Dougher could not send the game to a second OT.

Though disappointed by the loss, Coach Pikiell stood by his team at the end of the game.

“I like our team,” Pikiell said. “We’ve just got to improve a little bit; we’re a few possessions away from having a different record. But this is who we are right now, we’re 3-3, a young team, we’re still trying to find our identity.”

Game Notes:
• Coach Pikiell was extremely disappointed with the play of Junior Forward Al Rapier (Chicago, Ill.) saying after the game that “he was awful.” Rapier was expected to be Stony Brook’s lockdown defender and was benched in the second half.
• Sophomore guard Marcus Rouse (Upper Marlboro, Maryland) made his season debut after missing the first five games of the year with a knee injury finishing with 8 points and 4 assists in 28 minutes,
• Expect minutes for Rapier to go down with the return of Rouse. Pikiell, after the game, emphasized the importance of getting Rouse and his younger players ready for conference play.

“I need to get some minutes for Marcus Rouse,” Pikiell said. “He hasn’t played all season, we need to get him some minutes. I can’t take Bryan [Dougher] off the floor. I was trying to get our lineup straight. I’m trying to get some rookies some minutes, get them ready for league play. Now we got Rouse in the mix, try to get him ready for league play so we’re kind of juggling a lot of different guys in some different spots.”

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