Monday, February 27, 2012

Seawolves Get a #1 Seed in America East (Recap of Maine v. Stony Brook)

Day Four of our four day weekend of hoops concluded today with a tripleheader.  First, it was Maine vs. Stony Brook, then a St. Peter's - Iona double feature; the women's game followed by the men's game.  And it was Senior Day for all three home teams.

I picked up my older son Matthew from baseball camp, then dropped off my younger son Jonathan with my in-laws.  Then it was off to Stony Brook for our first game.  We got there about a half hour before game time.  In the confusion of putting my tickets away, I left my wallet on the counter top of the concessions area. Thankfully, the person running the concessions gave it to a security guard. When I realized I had forgot my wallet, the concessions person pointed me to the security guard who gave me my wallet.  Can't thank both of them enough.  Crisis averted.

As we walked into a sold out Pritchard Gym, they were finishing the Senior Day ceremonies.  Dallas Joyner, Bryan Dougher, Al Rapier and Danny Carter were honored on their last regular season home game. The game was being televised on CBS Sports Network.  Don Criqui, who I grew up watching on Saturday afternoon NBC college basketball games, was doing the play by play while Wally Szczerbiak was doing the color.

Feeding off the emotion of Senior Day and the energy of the crowd, the Seawolves came out strong from the start.  After Maine's Gerald McLemore's three pointer cut Stony Brook's lead to 5-4, the Seawolves scored the next ten points. Dougher scored eight of those points, including two three pointers.  Stony Brook was up 15-4 with not even four and a half minutes gone by in the game.

After a classic hustle play by Tommy Brenton resulted in him scoring on a left handed driving layup, the Seawolves' lead had swelled to 26-11. It looked like Wolfie, the Seawolves Mascot, could put away the foul shot distracting Shake Weight away for the day.  Meanwhile, the Stony Brook Pep Band was playing some good tunes, including a good rendition of Santana's "Oye Como Va".

But Stony Brook then suddenly went cold from the field, going two of eleven the rest of half.  The Seawolves also committed six turnovers over the last seven minutes of the half.  This allowed Maine to go on a 13-4 run to end the half and cut the lead to six, 30-24.

At halftime, Matthew was really hungry and wanted two soft pretzels.  Thus we made our way to the concessions while a local CYO team played at halftime.  We got back for the tale end of the CYO game and Matthew was as aggressive eating his first pretzel as Brenton drove the lane on that layup.

The Black Bears picked up right where they left off at the end of the first half.   After he was fouled shooting a three point play, Maine's McLemore hit all three of his foul shots to cut the lead to one, 36-35.  The Black Bears had now outscored the Seawolves 24-10 over two halves.

Maine was still within one 40-39 with a little over nine minutes remaining.  Then Stony Brook finally started inching away.  Dallas Joyner and Al Rapier combined on a 6-0 mini run and the Seawolves went back up  by seven, 46-39 with eight and a half minutes left.

When you watch a Stony Brook game live, you will be treated to the best mascot perhaps in the country, Wolfie Seawolf.  Whether he is part of the dance team's "Greased Lightning" dance set, or when he is putting on the big hairdo and the chains and dancing to LMFAO's Party Rock anthem.  And of course, Wolfie leads the kids in the "Cotton Eye Joe" dance at the under eight media timeout. The dance team brought cardboard cutouts of all the Stony Brook players and Coach Steve Pikiell onto the dance floor and danced with them.  It was a very funny touch to the routine.

Normally a seven point advantage with that much time remaining isn't that much of a cushion.  But when you play defense like Stony Brook does, a seven point deficit seems like a fourteen point deficit.  Thus, try as they did, Maine could not get any closer than three points the rest of the way.  In fact, Maine only shot thirty percent in the second half.  It didn't help the Black Bears any that the Seawolves were eleven of fifteen from the line in the second half.

After Justin Edwards missed a three pointer with fourteen seconds left, it was only fitting that the heart and soul of the Seawolves, Tommy Brenton, would grab the rebound and dribble out the clock.  Stony Brook had a hard earned 55-48 win to clinch their second America East Regular Season Championship in the past three seasons.   This gives them the number one seed in the America East Tournament and if they win two games in Hartford, they will have home court advantage in the America East championship.

As the team celebrated by their bench hoisting the America East Regular Season Championship trophy, Coach Pikiell.took a microphone and walked to center court.  He first thanked the band, then the cheerleaders, then the Stony Brook community for all their support.  Pikiell then talked about Stony Brook setting a team record with a 14-2 conference record.  Finally, Pikiell spoke about how great and how classy his seniors were as a whole.   I had never seen a coach do that after a game and it was truly a classy gesture by Pikiell.

As Matthew and I left the Pritchard Gym to head to New Rochelle for our second and third games in our tripleheader of hoops, I talked to my older son about the possibility of being at Pritchard one more time.  That would be for the America East championship on March 10.   All the Seawolves have to do is win two games in Hartford next weekend.

There's no place I'd rather be on March 10 at 11:00 AM than Stony Brook, New York.  Make it happen, Seawolves.

1 comment:

  1. Make it Happen Seawolves. Go Stony Brook! If we host it will be at the 4,500 seater Arena, it has been resurfaced just for the possible Championship game. I'm so hyped. Go SEAWOLVES! By the way, Thanks so much for your blogs. Your dedication to College Basketball is impressive and its great reading your posts. Keep it going, and go Seawolves