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Tyler Stephenson-Moore

#14 Tyler Stephenson-Moore was on fire Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Stony Brook Athletics

Tyler Stephenson-Moore was there when the Seawolves needed him most.

The redshirt-sophomore rose up and pinned Daryl Banks III’s shot to the glass and the Stony Brook men’s basketball program improved to 7-4 with an electric 64-63 win over Saint Peter’s on Dec. 18 at Island Federal Arena

Stephenson-Moore finished with a team-high plus-12 overall, scoring eight points and grabbing six boards, but his one block was the biggest stat of the night as he propelled the home team to its fourth win in a row and sixth in the last seven tries.

The Seawolves used a 14-4 run to propel themselves ahead by seven with 1:56 to go, as Jahlil Jenkins scored half of the points during that spurt. The graduate guard finished the night with a game-high 15, with 13 of them coming in the second half.

Stony Brook was down by as much as 12 in the first half and only led for 4:33 on the night but were ahead when it mattered and sent a raucous Island Federal Arena crowd home happy.

“Well, thrilled we won. That’s a really good basketball team that was picked second in the MAAC behind Iona,” said head coach Geno Ford. “We could not make shots and we showed some toughness and I think at the end of the game speaks to the growth we’ve had toughness-wise. Tyler [Stephenson-Moore] is always a good competitor and has good character but we don’t have a ton of guys on our roster capable of missing a free throw, going down and making a game-saving block. For him to not foul and block it clean is amazing because he got beat on the dribble a little bit. The toughness of him and certainly our team has had a lot of growth so we’re very excited that we were able to win this one,” he said. 

“I give a lot of credit to playing back home and playing in the park because you know in the park they won’t give you anything free. They will foul you, they will push you, they did what they had to do to win. That’s where I got my toughness from playing at home when I was younger and growing up,” said redshirt junior guard Tykei Greene on his tough play.

“We’re a great shooting team and none of us were really panicking. It was kind of frustrating to see the shots that we should hit not go in but we know someone is gonna step up and knock it down. Once that happens then it’s just going to go uphill from there. He [Coach Ford] said just play and we can turn the game around,” said Stephenson-Moore.

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.