Coach Geno Ford gathered the Stony Brook men’s basketball team by the home bench after last Sunday’s loss and told his players that he was proud of their effort and toughness. “The results are not what we signed up for,” Ford added to his team. “And we have to stick together.”
Unfortunately, Stony Brook suffered a heartbreaker Sunday afternoon. The Seawolves were edged by New Hampshire, 67-64, at Island Federal Arena. UNH swept the back-to-back games after Stony Brook returned from a 20-day COVID pause. The Seawolves had entered that pause on a five-game winning streak.
With the team’s deadlocked at 62, Nick Johnson’s layup for UNH with 93 seconds remaining provided a two-point lead for the Wildcats. Tykei Greene and Mouhamadou Gueye then were whistled for offensive fouls the next two trips down the floor for Stony Brook (6-6, 4-2 AE). Still, after a shot-clock violation by the Wildcats, spurred in part by a block from Gueye, the Seawolves had another opportunity in a one-possession game.
Juan Felix Rodriguez then was fouled while driving with 14.2 seconds remaining and the Seawolves trailing 64-62.
Rodriguez missed both free throws. And New Hampshire converted a pair of free throws at the other end for a four-point lead. A potential game-tying three-pointer shortly before the buzzer from Rodriguez also came up short.
“It’s a frustrating loss,” Ford said. “I thought the guys really battled. I thought we physically tried hard. We missed a bunch of free throws in the last six or seven minutes that we had been making most of the game. And I think losing some possessions in there really hurt. And give them credit. They hit a couple of real timely threes.”
Frankie Policelli’s driving layup with 3:18 remaining had staked Stony Brook to a 61-59 lead. However, Qon Murphy answered with a three-pointer for UNH shortly thereafter to give the Wildcats a one-point advantage. Greene then sank one of two free throws with 1:53 remaining to even the score at 62.
Four Seawolves scored in double-figures: Greene (14 points), Policelli (13), Gueye (10) and Jaden Sayles (10).
Gueye also had five blocks, giving him 101 for his career. He became the second-fastest in program history to the 100-block plateau at 45 games. Only Jeff Otchere was quicker (44). “I don’t set out to get those accolades,” Gueye said. “It kind of just happens. I know shot blocking is a big part of my game.”
Sayles returned to action after missing Saturday’s game, but was limited to 13 minutes as he eased back into play. Omar Habwe, however, missed Sunday’s contest after being deemed unavailable shortly before tip-off. The Seawolves return to action next weekend with a pair of games at conference newcomer NJIT.