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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


America East Quarterfinals Preview: #5 Stony Brook vs. #4 Albany

#5 Stony Brook will play #4 Albany in an AEC quarterfinal matchup at noon in Hartford on Saturday.

The Seawolves begin their quest for an America East championship on Saturday as they will face Albany in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. This is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal matchup that saw Stony Brook win 68-59.

The Seawolves are coming off a dominating 67-42 victory over Binghamton on Sunday to finish the season 13-16 overall and 8-8 in the conference. They shot a season-high 52.2 percent from the field and made 10 three-pointers for the sixth time in 10 games. They also had one of their best defensive games of the season, holding the Bearcats to just 29.5 percent from the field and just 13 field goals.

Dallis Joyner (Norfolk, Va.) led the way with a season-high 16 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and grabbed eight rebounds. Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) added 15 points on five three-pointers. All 13 eligible Stony Brook players played in the game, and all but one scored at least one point.

The Seawolves are playing their best basketball at the right time, winning four of their last five conference games, with two of those wins coming in overtime.

“We feel good about the way we’ve been playing,” Dougher said. “We feel like we hit our stride in the last few games so we hope we have a good weekend.”

The emergence of sophomore Leonard Hayes (Voorhees, N.J.), who is averaging 10 points per game on 49 percent shooting during conference play, has given them another scoring threat and made things easier for Dougher and Joyner.

“The more shots Lenny hits the easier it is for me because teams can’t key on one player anymore,” Dougher said. “Since he stepped up, Dallis is playing better and we’re seeing better results.”

The Great Danes won both regular season meetings, downing the Seawolves 52-50 in Stony Brook and then coasting to a 58-43 victory on their home floor.

“Tomorrow’s a whole new game,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “We’re playing better basketball right now so we look forward to it.”

Albany is riding a four-game winning streak into the tournament to finish with a 9-7 conference record for a third-place tie, their best conference finish since 2008.

Albany is led by the one-two punch of senior Tim Ambrose and sophomore Logan Aronhalt in the back-court. Aronhalt averages 14.7 points and 4.8 rebounds. Ambrose ranks second in the conference with 16.4 points per game to go along with 5.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He is averaging 18.5 points against Stony Brook this season.

“He’s played great, so if we don’t stop him it would be a short trip for us,” Pikiell said.

The Seawolves were without senior guard Chris Martin (Springfield Gardens, N.Y.) for both games and Pikiell’s “lockdown defender” Dave Coley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) for the second game as they both suffered knee injuries during the season. Pikiell said they both will be available for tomorrow’s game and he will be looking to them to try and stop Ambrose.

Albany is Stony Brook’s biggest rival: this will be the 54th all-time meeting between the two teams, and Albany leads the series 34-19. Dougher said the Seawolves will be seeking revenge tomorrow after the two regular season losses.

“There’s definitely a revenge factor with them taking the regular season series,” Dougher said. “We’re both representing SUNY schools so there’s definitely a rivalry there. We beat them three times last year so they’re trying to do that to us, but we’re not going to let that happen.”

Tipoff is set for 12 p.m.

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