Category: Game Recap

Zoe Belodeau the hero as Penn tops Penn State in wild 2OT thriller

Originally published at College Crosse

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Shadows crept across the LaValle Stadium field, as the game prolonged from mid-afternoon to evening. The grueling NCAA Tournament battle was deep in the second overtime. It was exhausting to just watch.

But somehow Penn sophomore goalie Mikaila Cheeseman was focused as ever. When Katie O’Donnell, Penn State’s star, raced toward the cage with 46 seconds to play in double-OT, Cheeseman was up for the task.

Throughout the week of prep, Cheeseman studied O’Donnell, the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year. She watched her release, her tendencies, her footwork.

With the game on the line, Cheeseman stabbed her stick to her left and saved the shot, her 13th of the game. But more importantly, she saved her team’s season.

“Every time she makes a save, I just stand there like ‘oh my God, she just did that,’” Penn freshman Zoe Belodeau said. “Then it takes me like five seconds to realize, ‘oh. It’s coming back now. I need to play offense.’”

Once Penn took offense, the Quakers called timeout and head coach Karin Corbett designed a play for Belodeau to become the hero. With 1.8 seconds left in double-OT, the first-year phenom sniped the biggest goal of her lacrosse life. Penn defeated Penn State, 15 to 14.

“She’s come through in every game for us,” Corbett said.

Belodeau’s golden goal was her fifth of the day and the 43rd of her freshman season. She passed the freshman goal total of another lefty who dazzles at LaValle Stadium. Make no mistake. On this day, Zoe Belodeau — from the game-winner, her ridiculous behind-the-back tally, even the eyeblack dripping from her cheek — seemed to mirror the superstar who calls the stadium her own: Kylie Ohlmiller.

Ohlmiller and the Seawolves sat in the background of Friday’s lacrosse showdown, scouting their next opponent from the far-side bleachers. Penn will play Stony Brook on Sunday at 12 p.m. Stony Brook is controversially ranked as a No. 5 seed in the tournament (Corbett thought that seeding was unfair to the Seawolves), but alas, the two schools have never met, and the Quakers are excited for an opportunity for the upset.

“I know they’re incredibly talented and can do some crazy things you’ve never seen before,” Belodeau said. “But I’m excited to see how we match up.”

Neither program, Penn nor Penn State, entered Friday’s meeting intimidated by the postseason atmosphere — the Quakers have made 12 straight NCAA Tournaments, while the Nittany Lions have made 7 straight — but it was certainly Penn State that had the more experienced offense. All three of the Nittany Lions’ key scoring options (O’Donnell, Madison Carter and Maria Auth) played critical roles when the team made a run to the Final Four in 2017. Penn State also made the Final Four in 2016. On the other hand, the Penn offense is very young; all three leading point-getters this season are underclassmen.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 4-2 in the first 15 minutes, with O’Donnell, Carter and Auth all scoring (they combined for 12 goals in the contest), but then the Quakers went on a 7-1 run to flip the scoreboard 9-5 in their favor. It was a rare Penn veteran, redshirt senior Emily Rogers-Healion, who drew the most excitement from the Quakers crowd.

She scored two goals and an assist in the first half, playing just a three-mile drive from Ward Melville, her high school alma mater.

“It’s really cool to come back to this field that I watched girls play college lacrosse on since I was like five,” Rogers-Healion said. “I went to the national championships (hosted by Stony Brook in 2011 and 2012), camps, all of it. I’m really blessed to be able to come back here.”

The Quakers took an 11-7 lead early in the second half, but Carter and O’Donnell clawed the Nittany Lions back into it. The duo combined for four goals over the next 20 minutes and O’Donnell tied it up at 13-13 with just over eight minutes to play.

Four minutes later, Belodeau buried one for the highlight reel… and also to give her team back the lead. Fellow freshman Elyse Decker cut through the lane and wasn’t open, but then Belodeau found the open space, caught a pass from Caroline Cummings and went behind her back with a quick flick of the wrist to give her team a 14-13 lead.

 

Penn State held a 43-28 shot advantage, but Cheeseman made up for it with elite goalkeeping for Penn. Finally, with 23 seconds left in regulation, O’Donnell broke through and brought the Nittany Lions within a 14-14 tie, but it was all for naught.

This was Belodeau’s night, and she seemed destined to be the hero.

“It’s pretty surreal,” she said. “Just being here and playing in this tournament is surreal as is. My dad and I and all of my friends have been watching NCAA Tournament games growing up. Just being a part of it was a surreal experience, let alone being part of a game-winning goal. It was pretty crazy.


Scores from the rest of the NCAA First Round action

  • Virginia Tech 13, Georgetown 10 — The Hokies secured their first NCAA Tournament win in program history and will go on to play #2 North Carolina on Sunday in the second round. Paige Petty and Tristan McGinley each had four goals in the win, while Meagh Graham recorded 10 saves.
  • #7 Towson 16, Wagner 6 — The Tigers scored early and often against the Seahawks, including an 8-0 run to run past Wagner, securing a trip to the second round. Kaitlyn Montalbano led the Tigers with four goals, while Emily Gillingham put up three goals and a pair of assists. Towson will face Northwestern in the second round.
  • Colorado 23, Jacksonville 18 — The Buffaloes emerged victorious from a wild scoring affair with the Dolphins. Darby Kiernan had a day with seven goals and five assists for a program record 12 points. Her seven goals in the win tied another program record. It was Colorado’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win. They’ll play #6 Florida on Sunday.
  • Princeton 12, Syracuse 11 (2OT) — Colby Chanenchuk scored the game-winner in her home city of Boston against Syracuse in a wild affair. The Orange had a huge second half comeback, using a 5-0 to take a one-goal lead with 6:57 left, but the Tigers were resilient. #4 Boston College awaits Princeton in the second round.
  • #8 Loyola 18, Fairfield 2 — The Greyhounds made quick work of the Stags behind four goals and two assists by Livy Rosenzweig. They also had two 7-0 runs to pretty much end the game early on. They’ll take on the Navy Midshipmen next.
  • Denver 19, High Point 10 — Denver earned a date with the #1 Maryland Terrapins on Sunday by virtue of beating High Point. The Pios pulled away from the Panthers by scoring 11 of the game’s final 14 goals. Quintin Hoch-Bullen had a game-high five points.
  • Northwestern 24, Richmond 18 — Goals, goals, goals. This game had a lot of them. Northwestern attacker Selena Lasota had nine, setting an all-time NCAA Tournament record, as the Wildcats will face #7 Towson in the second round.
  • Virginia 12, Stanford 3 — Goals? Not here. Not if you’re Stanford. The Cardinal offense struggled mightily against the Cavaliers, as Virginia earned the NCAA Tournament win. Rachel Vander Kolk stopped 14 shots for the win. They’ll face #3 James Madison in the second round.
  • Navy 16, Johns Hopkins 9 — After a trip to the Final Four in 2017, the Midshipmen are looking to do it again. They won against the Blue Jays in dominant fashion in the First Round thanks to Julia Collins and her six goals and one assist. They’ll face Loyola in a Patriot League rematch on Sunday.

Vermont edges Stony Brook in America East title rematch

Originally published in The Statesman

Only one player seemed able to shoot the three-pointer at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Saturday night. Luckily for the Vermont Catamounts, that player was theirs.

Ernie Duncan, Vermont’s redshirt sophomore guard, made six three-pointers in the team’s 74-67 win over Stony Brook. The Catamounts redeemed themselves against the team that handed them a loss in the America East Championship last season and maintained a perfect 8-0 record in 2017 conference play.

The Seawolves trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, but crawled their way back to a 50-50 tie with 11:02 left to play in the game.

An erratic performance behind the three-point line plagued Stony Brook down the stretch; the team’s 2-for-19 shooting from beyond the arc was its worst showing in the discipline all season.

“We knew watching the tape that, the way they play defense, we could get open shots,” Stony Brook head coach Jeff Boals said. “Out of those 19 shots, I’d probably take 14 of them again. They were wide open looks.”

Duncan totaled 22 points for the Catamounts in the game. His fifth three-pointer, with 2:24 remaining in the first half, gave his team a 39-22 lead. But the Seawolves showed resilience in a measuring-stick game against the conference favorites.

Senior guard Lucas Woodhouse rattled in a double-pump fadeaway jumper at the first-half buzzer to cap an 8-0 run and cut the score to 39-30. The point guard was stellar throughout the contest, recording 22 points and five assists, without committing a turnover.

“He’s got the ultimate green light,” Boals said. “I don’t know what’s greener than green. … I tell him, ‘Just throw them up there — they’ll go in.’ When he’s aggressive we’re a completely different team. I thought in the first half he was passing shots up, which I think hurt us, but he’s just not a selfish type of kid.”

It was during a second Stony Brook run — a 15-2 span early in the second half — that Boals himself waved to pump up the crowd, and it obliged. Fueled by offensive rebounds and seven points by Woodhouse, the Seawolves made the score 50-50.

The Seawolves had 12 offensive rebounds in the game, with junior center Jakub Petras and junior forward Junior Saintel grabbing four and two, respectively.

“Jake’s just a high energy guy,” Boals said. “He’s really figured out what his role is, accepted his role and is really playing out his role very well.”

But just as the Seawolves approached the precipice of a scoreboard advantage, the rim turned against them. Freshman forward Akwasi Yeboah missed six of his seven three-point attempts and junior guard Bryan Sekunda, who entered as the team’s No. 2 shooter (behind Woodhouse), missed all three of his tries.

“It was just an off night,” Woodhouse said. “They’re a good defensive team, but for us to shoot that bad. … I don’t think we’ll shoot that bad [against them] again.”

Stony Brook was still within two points with two minutes to play in the game, but Vermont freshman forward Anthony Lamb scored a layup to put Vermont up four. On the next Catamounts possession, Saintel committed an ill-advised foul while trying to jump a passing lane, allowing Duncan to shoot a pair of free-throws to put his team up six and seal the Seawolves’ fate.

Stony Brook will play a home game against New Hampshire on Wednesday in a crucial America East conference matchup. The Seawolves are the league’s second place team with a 6-2 record, while the Wildcats lag slightly behind in third, with a 5-3 record, meaning the game has significant seeding implications.

Stony Brook beat New Hampshire, 59-56, in the teams’ first meeting in the Granite State on Jan. 5.

“I told our guys, ‘You’re 6-and-2. You’ve won six games. Everyone’s going to come at you now,’” Boals said. “We’re no longer the preseason number seven pick. We’re the number two team in the conference. We’re going to get everyone’s best shot.”

Temple outclasses Stony Brook, wins in blowout

Originally published in The Statesman

After being competitive with Football Bowl Subdivision opponents in recent seasons, Stony Brook failed to seriously challenge Temple on Saturday afternoon, falling 38-0 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Owls, who were runners-up in the American Athletic Conference in 2015, found the end zone early and often against the Seawolves.

The two teams traded punts to open the game, then Temple redshirt freshman wide receiver Cortrelle Simpson took the ball on a reverse play and ran 36 yards along the left sideline. Two plays later, sophomore running back Ryquell Armstead punched in a 3-yard carry to give the Owls a 7-0 lead.

Stony Brook failed to record a first down on the following drive — the first of six consecutive possessions without moving the chains — and Temple responded by marching down the field, where senior quarterback Phillip Walker found redshirt junior Keith Kirkwood on a 5-yard pass into the endzone. The touchdown, the first of Walker’s three and the first of Kirkwood’s two, put Temple in the lead, 14-0.

By the end of the first half, the lead had grown to 28-0, while the announced crowd of 22,296 had diminished substantially. The 93-degree heat was one factor, but the game’s lopsidedness seemed to be the main deterrent.

Stony Brook’s offense ended the day with seven first downs, nine punts and no points. Its 133 yards is the fewest for the program in recent memory.

“Their defense played a great game. We didn’t. That’s what happened,” redshirt sophomore quarterback Joe Carbone said.

Carbone threw a pair of interceptions in the game, gaining just 29 yards through the first three quarters of the game, before Temple inserted its backup players into the game.

While the vaunted Stony Brook defense — the Football Championship Subdivision’s best last season — allowed 38 points, much of the damage was facilitated by the short fields it was forced to protect.

Stony Brook redshirt sophomore punter Marc Nolan was erratic at times, with kicks of 26 and 19 yards in the first half. Temple had long returns on other punts and also capitalized on turnovers to gain optimal field position. Through the first three quarters, the Owls did not start any of their 12 drives inside their own 30-yard line.

“It doesn’t help the defense when all their drives are 20, 30-yards,” coach Chuck Priore said. “We understand that 85 scholarships trumps 63 scholarships and that often shows on special teams and subsidiary types of situations.”

FBS schools are allowed to issue 85 scholarships to football players, while FCS schools are only permitted 63.

The Seawolves defense limited the Owls to 301 yards overall, an average of 4.7 per play. On an ordinary day, such numbers would put the team in a position to win, but in Saturday’s game, it could not make up for Stony Brook’s ineptitude.

“We can’t really afford to make mistakes when we’re that close to the touchdown [the whole game],” redshirt sophomore linebacker Noah McGinty said. “There’s no excuses for where the ball is [to start the drives], we just have to play.”

The game, which was held at the home stadium of the Philadelphia Eagles, was the second game in Stony Brook Football history to take place in an NFL stadium. Six seasons ago, the Seawolves lost to the South Florida Bulls, 59-14, in Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It’s pretty cool, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Carbone said. “We watch our idols play here. It’s like a wake-up call, like, ‘This is real.’”

The road will not get any easier for the Seawolves. On Saturday, Stony Brook hosts No. 2 Richmond, one of the best FCS teams in the nation.

While the Seawolves were outclassed in their FBS matchup this season, the Spiders defeated the Virginia Cavaliers of the Atlantic Coast Conference, 37-20, in Week 1.

The game will kick off at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at 12 p.m.

Draw woes, questionable call end Stony Brook’s season against Syracuse

Originally published in The Statesman.

The Stony Brook Women’s Lacrosse team’s season ended against Syracuse on Sunday afternoon, as the Orange used a late four-goal push to defeat the Seawolves, 7-6, and advance to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Stony Brook held senior midfielder Kayla Treanor, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Player of the Year, without a point, a shot attempt or even a ground ball in the contest.

But the Syracuse star’s presence made a difference in the draw circle. Treanor, the most effective self-drawer in the country, controlled eight faceoffs herself, while the Orange as a team beat the Seawolves in the category, 11-4.

“Possessions matter,” head coach Joe Spallina said. “I like to think that if we had the ball seven more times on offense, we’d be up two or three.”

Stony Brook’s defense had success through much of the first half. The team assigned a single player to follow around and “faceguard” Treanor — a tactic uncommon from the Seawolves zone — and the Orange did not score in the contest’s first 19:50. Treanor finally got the team rolling with strong faceoff play, however.

“She’s just so fast in the way she turns it back,” freshman midfielder Kasey Mitchell, who took the bulk of Stony Brook’s draws in the game, said. “You just have to try to keep it away from her, honestly. It’s a respect thing, you can’t try to beat her.”

With Stony Brook’s star’s facing double-teams, Mitchell scored three goals in the contest, the most in her young career, the third of which was 3:17 into the second half and gave the Seawolves a 5-3 lead.

“They were helping onto our main girls and someone had to step up,” Mitchell said. “I was just at the right spot at the right time.”

By virtue of dominance on the draw, Syracuse rallied back. Senior midfielder Kelly Cross scored off a quick pass from senior attacker Halle Majorana. Later in the half, the Orange scored on a pair of free-position goals — first from senior Gabby Jaquith then from redshirt sophomore Taylor Gait — to tie and go ahead, 6-5.

Treanor won the draw and Syracuse sought to kill the clock. Stony Brook senior defender Alyssa Fleming was assessed a yellow card on a stick-to-the-head call. With Fleming sidelined for two minutes, madness ensued.

Syracuse senior midfielder Erica Bodt struck post on the power play and the ball ricocheted all the way to the offensive zone line and out of bounds. Amid the commotion it was unclear which team would be awarded possession. In lacrosse, possession after a shot goes out of bounds is awarded to the player nearest to the ball when it crosses the line. Much to Spallina’s chagrin, the Seawolves were not given the ball in what would have been a chance to tie the game.

“It was a bad call,” Spallina said. “It’s a race to the ball, but their player was out of bounds before the ball went over the line. Once you’re out of bounds you’re not part of the play anymore. We had two players, still inbounds, closest to the ball.”

Syracuse was granted possession, getting a two-player man-up situation when sophomore attacker Kylie Ohlmiller was granted a yellow card.

“What the ref sees they have to call,” Ohlmiller said. “But when it’s a close game like that I think it has to be our ball. First of all, we were there first and second of all, I did not swing at her head.”

The Orange extended the lead to 7-5 on a free-position shot by Bodt. Stony Brook’s Samantha DiSalvo cut the score to 7-6 off an Ohlmiller feed, but Mitchell turned the ball over after winning the next faceoff.

The Seawolves’ attempts to force a turnover proved futile as the Orange ran out the clock to end the game. Stony Brook’s season ends with a 17-4 record, with three of the four defeats coming by 7-6 scores.

Stony Brook will return 96.8 percent of its goal-scorers next season, including junior midfielder Courtney Murphy, who scored her 100th goal of the season in the game, becoming the first player in Division-I lacrosse history to achieve the feat.

“You name it, offensively, they’ll be back,” Spallina said. “I love our talent, I love our system. This won’t be the case next year.”

But in the interim, the loss stings for a Stony Brook team that had national title aspirations.

“We want people to be scared to play us,” Ohlmiller said. “They were scared to play us. We had it in the bag, it was just a couple plays that we had to finish.”

Mitchell scores in last second, Stony Brook beats Albany for AE crown

Originally published in The Statesman

The game was tied with mere seconds remaining. The ball lay nestled in the stick of Stony Brook freshman midfielder Kasey Mitchell as the crowd — speckled with Stony Brook red and Albany purple alike — stood collectively with anticipation.

Watching most of the contest from the sideline, Mitchell had not recorded a single statistic all day. But with the America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship on the line, the freshman had a free-position chance to win the game at the buzzer.

She delivered.

Mitchell took two steps in from the left and shot the ball under the crossbar and into the net, sending the Stony Brook bench and crowd into eruption. The Seawolves defeated the Great Danes, 10-9, to claim their fourth consecutive conference title.

So what was going through Mitchell’s head as she stepped to the free-position line, preparing for the game-deciding shot?

“Honestly, nothing,” Mitchell said. “I was just praying to God that it went in.”

Head coach Joe Spallina, who said he had never won a lacrosse game with a buzzer-beater in his life — not as a player nor as a coach at any level — had complete faith in the freshman to keep composure in the highest of stakes.

“Ice in her veins, man,” Spallina said. “She’s a tough kid.

“I think when you’re a little kid, it’s like that situation, you know, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth, mighty Kasey at the bat,” he said, grinning at his pun. “She hit it out of the park.”

The game could not have been much closer, as Stony Brook and Albany were tied eight times in the contest. Neither team took a lead larger than two goals, a stark contrast from last Saturday’s regular season meeting when the Seawolves annihilated the Great Danes, 13-4.

“I think they played their offense a little differently,” junior midfielder Dorrien Van Dyke, who scored four goals in the game, said. “They definitely had more of a fight today.”

With 4:14 remaining in the game, Albany senior midfielder Rachel Bowles scored on a free-position shot to give the Great Danes a 9-8 lead, their first of the second half.

Albany controlled the ensuing draw and looked to burn as much time as possible. America East co-Defensive Player of the Year Alyssa Fleming forced junior attacker Dakotah Savitcheff into a critical turnover and secured the ground ball. Stony Brook cleared the zone, taking offense, where Spallina called timeout with two minutes remaining.

“Pretty much when you go down and people are stalling in the women’s game it’s almost impossible to get the ball back,” junior attacker Courtney Murphy said. “Flem won the game for us, she came up with that ball … I think people would forget about that play, but if it wasn’t for her they would have been celebrating on our field.”

When play resumed, the ball cycled around the field. It eventually found junior attacker Alyssa Guido, who found Murphy crashing to the front of the net for a quick catch-and-shoot to tie the game, 9-9. Scoring her 95th goal of the season, Murphy leapt wildly with celebration, having kept her team’s championship hopes alive.

“We just needed a goal,” Murphy, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, said. “By any means necessary, we had to do it. Guido’s awesome, she found me. I closed my eyes and I heard it hit the pipe — we had hit the pipe on two shots before that — so I was like ‘No way, oh my god it’s going to pipe and out,’ but it went in and we got the momentum.”

Murphy scored four goals in the game, creeping closer to the NCAA single-season goals record, 98, set by Delaware’s Karen Emas in 1984.

Savitcheff also scored four goals in the game, as the Great Danes star was a constant threat. Perhaps her finest play of the offensive player’s night came on defense, however. With just over seven minutes to play, Savitcheff stripped the ball from Stony Brook junior attacker Taylor Ranftle in the neutral zone. She garnered the loose ball and hurled a deep pass for junior midfielder Sarah Martin, who scored on a breakaway to tie the game 8-8.

“We just had some breakdowns,” Spallina said of his defense. “[Savitcheff]’s a really good player, they put her in good spots, she made plays.”

But the game will be remembered for the unlikely heroism of Mitchell, the freshman whose nerves kept cool enough for Stony Brook to win the game and clinch its spot in the NCAA Tournament.

“That finish, I mean, I don’t even know how you can write it up because I don’t even have words for it,” Van Dyke said. “It was awesome.”

No. 8 Stony Brook Men’s Lacrosse falls to Marist in overtime thriller

Originally published in The Statesman

The game had it all — behind-the-back goals, controversial calls and overtime — but in the waning seconds of the extra period, Marist freshman attackman Thomas Rago slipped behind the Stony Brook defense, took a pass from junior attackman J.D. Recor and scored to give the Red Foxes a 10-9 upset victory over the eighth-ranked Seawolves on Tuesday night.

Stony Brook had several opportunities to win the game, most notably in the final minute of regulation. With 55 seconds to play, the Seawolves led, 9-8, and Marist senior attackman Joseph Radin missed the net wide of the goal. Stony Brook backed up the shot, gaining possession with a chance to run down the clock.

Stony Brook senior defenseman Lucas Rock had the ball near his own goal. Marist sophomore goalkeeper Brian Corrigan abandoned the net, as the Red Foxes pressed in search of a turnover.

Head coach Jim Nagle told Rock to shoot at the open goal, despite being 70 yards away, so he did, launching the ball across the field, over the net and out-of-bounds. It appeared that Stony Brook was closest to the wayward shot attempt, which would give the Seawolves possession. But after brief deliberation, the officials awarded possession to the Red Foxes instead, leaving the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium crowd stupefied.

“The guy initially made the call, red [Marist’s jersey color],” Nagle said. “I don’t think he thought it was a shot, and then he conferred with the other guy. My question was, why did he need to confer? If red was closest, and it was a pass, then it’s red ball either way. So they conferred, and then they stuck to his call, which I didn’t really understand.”

Marist gained possession, cleared its zone and tied the game with 13.1 seconds left, as sophomore midfielder Gannon Morrison scored past Stony Brook sophomore goalkeeper Brandon Maciejewski. The contest headed to overtime, where the Seawolves had two offensive possessions — one of which ended in a turnover and the other of which ended in an unsuccessful shot attempt from senior midfielder Chris Hughes.

“From an offensive standpoint, we weren’t executing well,” senior attackman Brody Eastwood said. “We had a few costly turnovers, and it definitely hurt us in the end.”

Eastwood scored three goals, but the team struggled on offense as a whole. Stony Brook’s nine goals tied its fewest this season, set against Fairfield last month. The Seawolves finished the game with 12 turnovers, compared with the Red Foxes’ five, as ball insecurity contributed to the contest’s outcome.

Throughout the entire game, the lead switched back and forth. Neither team built a three-goal lead at any point in the evening. The first half ended at 3-3, as offense was scarce, but in the second half, particularly the fourth quarter, both teams’ attack picked up.

With 14:13 remaining in the game, senior attackman Matt Schultz received a pass from junior attackman Ryan Bitzer and shot the ball behind his back, tying the game, 6-6.

Minutes later, Marist responded, as Radin, the 2015 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, beat Maciejewski on a behind-the-back goal of his own to give the Red Foxes an advantage.

Junior midfielder Alex Corpolongo used a screen from senior midfielder Challen Rogers and whipped in a perimeter goal from the right side. Seven seconds later, junior faceoff specialist Jay Lindsay won the draw to himself, stepped into the offensive third of the field and launched a second Stony Brook goal, putting the team up, 8-7, against Marist with 6:44 to play

“Any time you score two goals in that short of time, it’s a big boost,” said Lindsay, who won all eight fourth quarter faceoffs he attempted. “It helps the morale on the bench and gets everyone more into the game.”

But the change in momentum did not last, as Radin scored his fourth goal of the game just one minute later to tie the game, 8-8.

Eastwood gave the Seawolves a 9-8 lead with 4:32 remaining in regulation, finishing in traffic after receiving a pass from Rogers, but the potential game-winning goal was negated by Morrison’s heroics in the final minute.

Stony Brook’s overall record fell to 9-3 with the loss. Its only two losses before playing Marist were to Brown and Albany — two teams ranked in the top-10 of both major polls. Marist entered Tuesday’s game with a 5-5 record.

“To be honest, I thought our guys were going to be better than this team,” Nagle said. “We have a lot of upperclassmen, and it’s pretty disappointing. I think sometimes when you don’t expect to be in a tight game, and you are, you start to tighten up and choke a little bit. We did that tonight.”

Stony Brook returns to action on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m., when the Seawolves host the UMass Lowell River Hawks.

Stony Brook falls to Kentucky in first NCAA Tournament appearance

Originally published in The Statesman

After losing in four of the last five America East Championship games, the Stony Brook Men’s Basketball team finally appeared in its first-ever NCAA Tournament on Thursday night. However, Stony Brook’s first chance came against eight-time national champion Kentucky. The Seawolves’ inexperience in the big dance showed, as the Wildcats won the first round game, 85-57, at Wells Fargo Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

The length and size of Kentucky’s defense stifled the Stony Brook offense throughout the game. Head coach Steve Pikiell’s team shot just 26.3 percent from the field, as Kentucky blocked an NCAA Tournament record 15 shots in the contest, including six from freshman forward Skal Labissiere.

After trailing 33-19 at halftime, Stony Brook was unable to cut into the deficit. The Wildcats made 76 percent of their shots in the second half, which included a 21-6 run, to pave the way for a comfortable victory as the Seawolves ended their season with a 26-7 record.

“They were being Kentucky. They are a great defensive team. They were really athletic,” senior forward Jameel Warney said. “You can’t take away from their athleticism, and it’s a different level being face-to-face than just seeing them on TV.”

Kentucky freshman guard Jamal Murray, the third-leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, scored 19 points for head coach John Calipari’s team. Freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, who will face the Indiana Hoosiers in the second round on Saturday.

Warney notched his 60th career double-double, scoring a game-high 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds for the Seawolves in what became the final contest for the three-time America East Player of the Year and the Seawolves’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder.

Warney’s success came despite being double-teamed on nearly every possession.

“I will tell you that the respect we had for him we never played him one-on-one,” Calipari said. “Think about that. The guys that have watched me coach know that very rarely do we do that. Like, we just don’t play that way. So we did today.”

“I thought [senior forward] Alex Poythress did a great job of trapping,” Calipari added before praising Warney again. “Skal [Labissiere] did a great job of making shots tough and he still got 23 points. He still got 23.”

No other Seawolves player topped 10 points in the contest. The Stony Brook backcourt struggled as senior guard Carson Puriefoy and junior guards Lucas Woodhouse and Ahmad Walker combined to shoot just 6-for-35 from the field in the game. Senior forward Rayshaun McGrew shot 2-for-11 in the game.

The Wildcats may have led by an even larger margin if it had not been for the Seawolves’ rebounding success. Stony Brook led Kentucky in total rebounds, 46-44, including a 30-23 advantage at halftime, with Warney alone grabbing 10 rebounds in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Stony Brook’s 25 offensive rebounds in the game were the most that Kentucky allowed all season.

In the first half, the Seawolves’ poor offensive execution allowed the Wildcats to take a significant lead, setting the tone for the onslaught that followed. Stony Brook made only three of its first 27 field goal attempts, as Kentucky jumped out to a 28-13 lead with 3:56 remaining in the half. Calipari’s team took a 33-19 lead into the locker room on the way to the victory.

Stony Brook and Kentucky were teams on two different levels, and it showed on Thursday night.

While the Seawolves are perennially near the top of the America East Conference, the game gave the team a sniff of what it strives to be in the future, as Warney even said after the game that Kentucky will make the tournament’s Final Four.

“We have to play who they put us in the bracket with, and we played a great, great program,” Pikiell said. “55th trip to the tournament. Maybe our 55th time we’ll look like them, too.”