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Coach Geno Ford

Alex Christie started for a second straight game on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team is headed to the America East Tournament as the seventh seed.

The Seawolves dropped their regular-season finale, 67-59, at UAlbany on Feb. 21 to complete the regular season 9-13 overall and 7-9 in league play.

Coupled with an NJIT loss, the Seawolves earned the No. 7 seed and will face No. 6 UMass Lowell at New Hampshire on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The winner faces No. 3 seed and pod host UNH the following day.

“We’re excited to play against a really good Lowell team,” said coach Geno Ford, whose squad swept UMass Lowell during the regular season. “It’ll be a hard game. They played us well both times.”

Stony Brook split a pair of games this weekend with the Great Danes.

On Sunday, the Seawolves continued to play shorthanded as Mouhamadou Gueye remained unavailable.

Tykei Greene nonetheless stepped up with a double-double for the second straight day and his fifth of the season.

Juan Felix Rodriguez also scored in double-figures.

Lenny Kadisha made his first collegiate start. Alex Christie also started for the second straight day.

“I really want to give a lot of credit to Dan Leonard, our trainer, who has had to deal with testing, protocols, travel, and really has carried the brunt of the load with all of that, which has allowed the coaches and players to stay safe. He’s been the real MVP of our season,” Ford said. “I don’t think a lot of people had confidence within college basketball that we’d get this far. We have.”

 

Tyler Stephenson-Moore sends through a dunk the first half of Sunday’s win against Hartford.

Frankie Policelli and the Stony Brook men’s basketball team awakened from a shooting funk at an opportune time.

Policelli drained a pair of three-pointers less than two minutes apart early in the second half to open a double-digit advantage and the Seawolves went on to a 63-49 win against Hartford on Jan. 31 at Island Federal Arena.

The teams split the weekend series.

Stony Brook (8-8, 6-4 AE) overcame early shooting woes and foul issues to take a four-point halftime lead. And when Policelli drained a three-pointer with 15:24 remaining in the second half, the Seawolves opened a 41-29 advantage. 

Another three-pointer from Policelli two minutes later upped the Seawolves’ lead to 14 points.

After Hartford clawed within 46-40 midway through the second half, Juan Felix Rodriguez answered with a three-pointer and Omar Habwe converted a jumper to reopen a double-digit advantage.

“I thought we defended at a high level, and we got separation in the second half because we made threes,” coach Geno Ford said. “We finally made some shots. It makes the offense look a whole lot better.”

The Seawolves had shot 17.1 percent (12-for-70) from three-point range over their previous three games, including 8-for-31 in a 59-57 loss to Hartford on Jan. 30.

Policelli, who reaggravated a recurring hip issue during the second half, finished with a team-high 16 points. He shot 4-for-5 from behind the arc on Sunday.

Leighton Elliott-Sewell added a career-high 13 points. He had accounted for only four points in Stony Brook’s six games since Dec. 28 entering Sunday.

“I was just getting the ball in spots where I could score,” Elliott-Sewell said.

Tavin Pierre Philippe logged a season-high 20 minutes.

“I thought our bench was great in the first half when we needed it,” Ford said. “I thought our starters looked a little lethargic. We were able to get some real lift off that bench.”

The Seawolves had dropped four straight meetings with Hartford, including last year’s America East semifinal.

“It really was a big motivation for the team,” said Mouhamadou Gueye, who finished with nine points and five rebounds. Stony Brook hosts UMBC for a pair of games next weekend.

“Here comes the best team in the league in my opinion,” Ford said, citing UMBC’s speed, athleticism and size.