By Kevin Sweeney
Stony Brook stretched their win-streak, the longest in college basketball, to 18 games and remained undefeated in America East play with a hard-fought 59-58 win over New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon. Playing without head coach Bill Herrion, who was mourning the death of his mother, New Hampshire took the Seawolves to the final buzzer, but a late block by senior center Jameel Warney kept the Wildcats from bringing home an emotional victory.
With neither team effective from behind the arc, the game turned into a battle of big men, with Warney putting up 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 blocks, while New Hampshire power forward Tanner Leisner poured in 26 points and 9 rebounds. The Wildcats, who came in having won 4 straight games, trailed by two at the break despite holding the Seawolves to 31.3% shooting in the first half. In the second half, it seemed that the Seawolves were going to send home a sold out crowd at IFCU Arena happy, as they never trailed in the second half. A conventional 3-point-play by Stony Brook senior guard Carson “Tre” Puriefoy stretched the Seawolves’ lead to 9 with 5:41 to go in the game. But the Wildcats never quit, knocking down 3’s on their next 2 possessions to cut the Stony Brook lead to 3. In the final 5 minutes, Warney swatted 4 shots to protect the lead for the Seawolves, including one in the final seconds. Leading by one with 40 seconds to go, the Seawolves took nearly the entire shot clock before junior guard Ahmad Walker was fouled. Walker missed the front end of the one-and one, giving New Hampshire one last chance to win it. After a timeout, junior guard Jaleen Smith drove into the lane, but had his shot rejected by Warney as time expired.
Puriefoy scored 16 points and snatched 6 rebounds for the Seawolves, and Rayshaun McGrew added 14 points and 8 boards. Ronnel Jordan put up 12 points and 7 rebounds for the Wildcats.
Stony Brook will look to continue their nation’s-best win streak when they travel to take on second place Albany on Wednesday night. New Hampshire will return home to take on UMASS-Lowell on Wednesday.