A guest post from Ari Kramer, who was at last night’s Stony Brook victory over Binghamton. – For Stony Brook, Wednesday’s 62-37 win at Binghamton can be described as a tale of two halves — offensively, at least.
The Seawolves (11-4, 2-0 America East) scored 23 points on 27 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes but shot 48 percent for 39 second half points. Defense remained a constant throughout the game, as Binghamton (2-14, 0-3 AE) could never find an offensive rhythm and shot 26 percent on the night.
“At halftime, I just told our guys that if we’ve got to win this game with our defense we’ll do that,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. “But eventually I knew we’d make enough shots and score enough points.”
The shots started falling rather quickly after the break, and a 20-2 run sparked by a Marcus Rouse trey at the 12:32 mark effectively separated the Seawolves from the opposition. Leonard Hayes, who had scored 14 points in six games played, went for 11 second half points.
“[Hayes] is a veteran guy and he really came in and gave us some great minutes tonight,” Pikiell said. “We put him in the lineup, he’s been great in practice, he’s hungry to play.”
In his first encounter with classmate Jordan Reed, Jameel Warney led Stony Brook with 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. His counterpart, on the other hand, endured his most frustrating night yet. Binghamton’s leading scorer recorded just seven points on 3-of-13 shooting and turned the ball over five times.
“I was happy with our performance [against Reed] because he has put up some numbers, and some of the tapes I’ve seen – very, very impressive freshman,” Pikiell said. “He’s going to be good. He’s going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of people for some time, as I think Jameel Warney will in this league.”
Tommy Brenton played a crucial role in frustrating Reed, and Pikiell said he briefly considered matching Dave Coley with the 6-foot-3 guard before assigning the freshman to the conference’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Brenton not only held Reed to his lowest scoring output, but he also notched two steals to move within one of tying the school’s all-time record.
As a team, Stony Brook had an extremely efficient night defensively, holding the Bearcats to 58.7 points per 100 possessions. Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey said he thought his team worked for good shots, but that they simply could not convert enough open looks.
“They’re very, very good defensively, and you’re going to have to have a good offensive night against a good defensive team,” he said. “When you have a poor offensive night against a good defensive team, you see what happens.”
Not a single Bearcat reached double-figures, as Jimmy Gray led the team with eight points.
But even though a metaphorical lid covered Binghamton’s basket, Dempsey said he was pleased with his team’s defense and rebounding. The Bearcats held the Seawolves to a below-average shooting night at 37 percent and lost the rebounding battle 40-39.
For Stony Brook, Brenton scored four points but also grabbed eight rebounds and dealt five assists, and Rouse finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
The Seawolves, who have won more true road games than any other team in the nation, are off to their best start since transitioning to Division I. Four key players from last year’s regular season champion squad graduated, but Pikiell said this year’s team is different in a good way.
“I’m really excited about this group,” he said. “We’re versatile. We can do some different things – we can go big, we can go small. We’ve got a nice blend of veteran players and some rookies.”
And that nice blend will look to extend its best start on Saturday, returning home to take on surprising Hartford (3-0 in America East) at 2 p.m.