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SBU Sports

Jaden Sayles cruises in for a layup last Sunday in Newark.

NEWARK, N.J. — A day after coach Geno Ford lamented the Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s defensive execution, the Seawolves clamped down on Jan. 24.

Stony Brook rebounded from a defeat the previous day to beat host NJIT, 56-44.

The Seawolves held the Highlanders to 13 first-half points. It was the fewest points scored by a Seawolves opponent in a half since UMBC mustered only 10 in the second half of an 83-39 loss to Stony Brook on Feb. 19, 2013.

Juan Felix Rodriguez (16 points) and Frankie Policelli (11) each scored in double-figures in Sunday’s victory, while Mouhamadou Gueye contributed a career-high 14 of the Seawolves’ eyepopping 55 rebounds.

Stony Brook trailed 36-35 after a three-pointer from NJIT’s Miles Coleman with 10:58 remaining in the game. The Seawolves then answered with a 10-0 run that included three field goals from Rodriguez.

The Seawolves (7-7, 5-3) maintained the lead the rest of the way despite shooting 1-for-19 from three-point range for the game.

Stony Brook snapped a three-game conference losing streak to stay in the upper echelon of the conference.

“It was a grind,” Rodriguez said. “Coming from the two losses from the last weekend and the loss yesterday, we needed this win. We came in with the mentality to get that W.”

Said Ford: “As a staff I felt like we were playing for our lives today. Losing stinks.”

Stony Brook held NJIT leading scorer Zach Cooks to four points on 1-for-13 shooting from the field. The 55 rebounds marked the most since producing that same number against Farmingdale State on Nov. 11, 2019.

“I was super-pleased with our defensive effort, obviously, today,” Ford said. “I know they missed some shots. But clearly we did, too. We missed almost all of them.

“It’s the first game since we’ve returned (from a two-week COVID pause) that we mentally and physically competed at a high level. That looked like our team from four weeks ago. And not because we won. We could have lost, and I would have just said, ‘Well, we didn’t shoot it good.’ But, man, we did a look of good things. Anytime you out-rebound people like we did, you know guys are playing super hard.”

With America East shuffling schedules due to COVID-related pauses, Stony Brook now will host Hartford Jan. 30 and 31 at Island Federal Arena. Start time for both games is 2 p.m.

Asiah Dingle (16 points) was one of three Seawolves in double-figures in scoring on Sunday.

The Stony Brook women’s basketball team produced its largest victory in 14 months on  Jan. 24.

The Seawolves defeated America East newcomer NJIT, 73-41, at Island Federal Arena to sweep the back-to-back games.

The 32-point margin of victory was Stony Brook’s largest since a 43-point win at Hofstra on Nov. 13, 2019.

Stony Brook improved to 8-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play.

Tied at 18 early in the second quarter, the Seawolves erupted with a 15-0 run that included four field goals from Asiah Dingle.

In all, Stony Brook outscored NJIT 27-4 in the second quarter. It marked the program’s largest margin outscoring an opponent in a period since the NCAA switched to quarters for the 2015-16 season. It also marked the largest scoring quarter by the Seawolves since posting 35 points in the fourth quarter against St. Francis Brooklyn in the 2019-20 season opener.

“We really talked about refocusing going into the second quarter,” coach Caroline McCombs said. “We keyed in on our defensive principles, and with that we were able to convert rebounds and turnovers into points.”

Dingle, India Pagan and Leighah-Amori Wool all scored in double-figures.

Wool, a transfer from Western Michigan, produced her first double-double with Stony Brook. She had four last season with the Broncos.

The Seawolves, who originally had been scheduled to face Vermont next weekend, instead will head to Hartford as America East juggles schedules to accommodate COVID-related pauses.

Vermont on Sunday announced its women’s basketball team would cancel the remainder of its season at the request of its players. The Catamounts had played only six of their 12 scheduled conference games to date.

SBU Coach Chuck Priore on right. Photo by Jim Harrison/Stony Brook Athletics

The Stony Brook football team is set to play an untraditional season this spring. And head coach Chuck Priore is bullish on the Seawolves’ potential during a six-game CAA schedule that begins in March.
“Overall, as a team, I’m excited,” Priore said on a kickoff CAA Football conference call on Wednesday.

The Seawolves, who begin official practices Feb. 5, return a dozen starters from a 2019 squad that produced its signature win against fifth-ranked Villanova.

That includes quarterback Tyquell Fields, running back Ty Son Lawton, center Anthony Catapano and right guard Kyle Nunez on the offensive side.

Fields engineered three game-winning or game-tying fourth-quarter drives last season en route to one of the best seasons from a quarterback in school history. He recorded a program single-season-record 2,809 yards of total offense. His 2,471 passing yards ranked second most, trailing only T.J. Moriarty (2,495 in 2004). Fields also tossed 16 touchdowns and rushed for four more. He accumulated 338 rushing yards.

“The interesting thing was he had the opportunity all spring and summer to study himself. He got drill work when he was home from our quarterback coach to do,” Priore said. “The biggest thing ended up becoming his accuracy — and his improvement in that [area of the] game. His play-action game was lights out for us, his ability to throw the ball up the field, yards per reception. But he needed to become more accurate. And I think those are the things we worked on. We saw great improvement.

“He’s been part of the team now as a starter. He’s captain. And he knows he has the fall [2021 season too], which he is coming back for us. It’s a win for all of us.”

Lawton earned Freshman All-American honors from Phil Steele in 2019 after tallying 648 yards and seven touchdowns on 152 carries.

Nunez already has been tabbed a second-team Preseason All-American from HERO Sports and Stats Perform as well as first-team Preseason All-CAA Football by Phil Steele.

Catapano has been selected a co-captain after seeing action in all 12 games and making nine starts in 2019.

On the other side of the ball, defensive linemen Casey WilliamsSam Kamara and Brandon Lopez all are returning starters as well as linebacker Reidgee Dimanche and defensive backs Augie ContressaJustin Burns and TJ Morrison.

Morrison actually is moving to free safety to anchor the defense because Priore felt the squad had great depth at the corner position.

On special teams, Aussie punter Mitchell Wright returns as the first-stringer.
Kamara was granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA after suffering a season-ending injury five games into the 2019 schedule.

“We think he’s a next-level guy,” Priore said.

Kamara, Burns and Dimanche have been tabbed second-team Preseason All-CAA Football by Phil Steele.Contressa is first-team Preseason All-CAA Football by that same publication.

“Defensively we have six linebackers — two by transfer, two by freshmen getting older and two who were in the program last year,” Priore said. “We’re really excited about that position.”

The Seawolves also will be bolstered by tight end Tyler Devera (Maryland transfer) and wide receivers Hunter Hayek (Rutgers) and Malik Love (New Hampshire).

The season consists of six conference games, with the CAA split into North and South divisions.

“This has been a team that has attacked it with a passion for success,” Priore said. “I think it built great team morale when we got back here in the fall after being apart.”

Ben Fero throws off the bullpen mound as pitching coach Tyler Kavanaugh monitors his session on Monday. Photo from SBU Athletics

Spring was in the air on Jan. 18 as the Stony Brook baseball team’s pitchers and catchers held their first official workout in preparation for the regular season.

And with temperatures in the mid-40s, the Seawolves were able to hold their workout outdoors at Joe Nathan Field rather than at one of the program’s indoor facilities.

Position players are due to begin formal practices Feb. 1.

It’s been 313 days since the Seawolves’ last game — a 4-2 victory against Merrimack last March 11. Stony Brook had been slated to begin America East play three days later with a doubleheader against Hartford.

“We felt like we were peaking at the right time heading into conference play,” coach Matt Senk said. “So we’re excited. We were the defending champs. So we’re looking forward to defending our championship and can’t wait to get started.”

Stony Brook did get in a relatively normal workout schedule this past fall, albeit without games against other teams.

And with the bulk of the seniors having returned for the 2020-21 academic year after gaining an extra year of eligibility — coupled with a new freshman class that was touted by Collegiate Baseball as among the best in the nation — the Seawolves figure to again make noise in 2021.

Stony Brook produced a .673 winning percentage in America East play during the decade of the 2010s (159-77-1).

In game-situation matchups in the fall, upperclassmen Brian MorriseyBrian HerrmannJared MilchAdam Erickson and Sam Turcotte combined to produce a 2.65 ERA with 52 strikeouts, 12 walks and a .198 opponent batting average in 51 innings.

Herrmann returns as a redshirt senior this season after missing last spring due to injury, while Morrisey and Milch are seniors and Erickson and Turcotte now are graduate students.

“Certainly what we bring back on the mound, I think, is going to be impactful,” Senk said. “… Those guys were strike-throwers, pounding the zone, and were really displaying some plus stuff — fastballs, breaking balls — and really challenging our hitters. All those things will lead to success for the team in the future.”

Mouhamadou Gueye drives during the first half of Sunday’s game against UNH. Photo by Andrew Theodorakis

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.

Photo by Jim Harrison/SBU Athletics

The Stony Brook Athletic Department held its annual awards ceremony, “The Wolfies” on May 13 in the Island Federal Arena and several student-athletes received hardware.

The 2019 Senior Athletes of the Year were Ryland Rees (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia) of men’s lacrosse and Shania Johnson (Frederick, Md.) of women’s basketball.

The 2019 Junior Athletes of the Year were baseball’s Nick Grande (Smithtown) and women’s lacrosse Ally Kennedy (North Babylon).

Track and field’s Luke Coulter (Jamesport) and women’s soccer Sofia Manner (Helsinki, Finland) took home Sophomore Athlete of the Year honors.

The 2019 Freshman of the Year honors went to Miles Latimer (Fairfax, Va.) of the men’s basketball team and Jamie Wei (Chiayi City, Taiwan) of women’s tennis.

Senior Michael Thompson (Wallkill) of track and field and senior Ana Carrion-Rodriguez (La Linea, Spain) of women’s tennis were the winners of the Male and Female Senior Scholar-Athlete awards.

Sophomore TJ Morrison (Yonkers) from football and senior Julie Johnstonbaugh (Neshanic Station, N.J.) of women’s soccer were presented the Athletic Director’s award by Stony Brook Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron for their embodiment of Stony Brook Athletics’ ideals and core values.

A brand new award in 2019, redshirt sophomore Andrew Garcia (Harlem) won the Comeback Athlete of the Year award. After sitting out from playing competitive basketball for two years, he came back to play in all 33 games this season, averaging 22 minutes per contest. At the end of it all, he earned America East Sixth Man of the Year honors.

The Male and Female Danni Kemp Teammate award, was given to student-athletes nominated by their teammates. The award is named in honor of Danni Kemp, the softball student-athlete who passed away in 2017 from brain cancer. Her parents, Cliff and Melinda Kemp, presented the awards on Monday night to senior Chris Pedone (Port Jefferson Station) of men’s lacrosse and sophomore Danielle Petrovich (Cortlandt Manor) of softball.

Senior Darian Sorouri (Wilmington, Del.) of track and field and graduate student Emily Costello (Webster) received the Seawolves Impact award. These honors are given to a student-athlete who has demonstrated exceptional contributions to his or her sport on the playing surface as well as within the campus and community.

Another new award in 2019, the Noah Farrelly Spirit of the Seawolf award, is given to a male and female student-athlete who exemplifies the passion and pride for their Stony Brook Athletics experience that Noah felt in his short time here. The winners were Carrion-Rodriguez of women’s tennis and junior Cameron Avery (Christchurch, New Zealand) of cross country/track and field.

Junior Sam Kamara (Carteret, N.J.) of football and senior Katelyn Corr (Suffield, Conn.) of softball received the male and female NSCA All-American award. The award recognizes an individual’s athletic accomplishments and their dedication to strength and conditioning.