Game #9-288: Boston University Terriers at Stony Brook SeawolvesJanuary 15, 2013 7:00 pm
USB Sports Complex
STONY BROOK, N.Y. - I don't often like making blanket statements with absolutely no empirical data to back it up, which probably disqualifies me from many government jobs
and positions on television.
However, Long Island traffic is the absolute worst.
I've lived in Dallas, and that could be tough. New York City is obviously New York City, and I haven't spent a whole lot of time in Los Angeles. But I can say without equivocation that I have never, ever, even in the middle of the night, seen an open highway on Long Island. Or an open road, for that matter.
If you've read Mid-majority, you know I've been to Hofstra a few times, but that's not really out on Lawn Guyland. Stony Brook most certainly is. As you get close to the campus, there are city roads where the posted speed limit was 55 miles per hour. Yet there was a stoplight seemingly every 500 feet or so. Who exactly was going to break 55 miles per hour on this road? I was lucky to hit 20, but eventually made my way into the humongous campus.
Another odd thing about Stony Brook, it has 20,000 undergrads (it is a state school), meaning the campus was massive, fortunately there were some signs pointing the way. Adding to the bizarre feel, Stony Brook is currently playing its home games in Pritchard Gym, capacity 1,800. I'm no math major, but with 10 times more students than capacity in its home gym
, they should probably be able to sell out most games.
And this was supposed to be a sell-out, so I sprinted to the ticket office and luckily, they still had a few, adjacent to the student section, which was surprisingly small, but classes were not in session yet, so I'll give them a slight pass.
I question a lot of things about Stony Brook, but I don't question its team. I mentioned Bucknell as a team that is an NCAA Red Line Upset candidate
, and Stony Brook may certainly be a little further down the list, but if someone takes them lightly, they may do so at their own peril.
The Seawolves can play
defense, and although it was a little tougher to focus on individual tendencies sitting in a packed section full of middle school kids, I tried to watch Boston University junior D.J. Irving.
Truth be told, in my very amateur coaching career, defense was my thing. I was always in charge of the scouting reports and who could shoot and who couldn't go to their left. That's why when I watch Stony Brook, I'm always drawn to fiery Associate Head Coach Jay Young
, who has the same job at a much higher level, and seems - from my seat - to do it spectacularly, even if he could probably stand to smile a tad more.
I was slightly surprised to see Stony Brook not really keying on Irving, his team's leading scorer, early, but good defense is not always about swarming players. Boston set Irving up away from the ball, and Dave Coley - primarily responsible for Irving - may be needed to help in the paint. By the time the ball rotated across to Irving, Coley was there, and when Irving would try to drive, Coley would have help. It seemed like Irving's strategy was mostly to drive, draw double and triple-teams, and then kick the ball out. But Stony Brook recovered remarkably fast, something I'm sure that is drilled into them in practice.
Still, Stony Brook started with four turnovers in the first three minutes, and a seemingly late close out allowed freshman Mike Papale to hit a superhoop and give the upset-minded Terriers a 5-0 lead. That, obviously, made Young thrilled. He scowled and said something angrily to head coach Steve Pikiell. I never did that when my scouting reports were ignored or my team didn't show proper hustle. As far as you know.
With some great shooting and generally positive plays from the unorthodox Tommy Brenton, Stony Brook jumped back in front, but Boston stormed back, Irving finally got loose for a basket in transition, and when Maurice Watson beat the Seawolves down the court to cut the lead to 22-20 with 5:08 to go in the half, Pikiell was forced to call time, and Young was obviously livid.
As it turned out, he shouldn't have been that worried, although coaches are always worried about little things, it's part of the job. In a span that encompassed halftime, the Terriers went 12 minutes, 48 seconds without a field goal, scoring just four points. By then, it was 54-29 Stony Brook and Boston University was already eyeing escape routes, of which there weren't many in tiny Pritchard Gym.
Stony Brook was playing without one of their leading scorers in junior Anthony Jackson (ankle), but the real revelation has been 6-foot-8 Jameel Warney. Warney still has to develop a reliable offensive game, but he owns the paint on defense, especially in Americ East. That allows Stony Brook (and Young) to defend more aggressively on the perimeter with Warney hanging around near the rim. And you can forget about offensive rebounds, Warney had 13 defensive boards against a cold-shooting Terrier squad Tuesday night.
Irving, meanwhile, was trying just about everything: driving, starting away from the ball, starting with the ball. He seemed open a couple of times early in the second half, at one point rattling a superhoop in-and-out, which just led him to shake his head on the way back down the court. It's always hard to know how much to credit poor shooting and good defense, but when a team like Stony Brook can do it consistently, they have to get the credit, no?
Joe Jones left Irving in until the end, and finally, with 45 seconds left, he drove the lane, scored and got fouled. It was his first field goal since that one in transition midway through the first half, and second overall. Finally, Jones - trying to end on some modicum of success, apparently - allowed Irving to call it a night. As he walked down the bench, Irving grabbed a cup of water and let out a big breath, like someone who was just relieved that was over. His final line: five points on 2-of-12 shooting (he did have five assists and kept his composure enough to only turn it over twice). I'd be glad it was done, too.
Boston University and Jones might be somewhat glad when this season is over. Although they've played an extremely difficult schedule and battled hard for the most part, the Terriers will not go to the NCAA Tournament. They are off to the Patriot League next season and have therefore been declared ineligible for the America East Tournament. There are entirely too many of these teams this season, so hopefully things will settle down in the near future, although that's probably wishful thinking.
With the game sold-out, I didn't exactly have a chance to move around much, and therefore didn't get a chance to get too many good shots of Wolfie, who sadly had no counterpart to badger. (That story is one of the classics of Mid-majority, proving that a story doesn't have to be 5,000 words to be good, by the way.) I shudder to think what Wolfie would be able to do with a Terrier, anyway, so it was probably for the best.
The now sugar-filled middle school kids were off become even more so by eating someone's birthday cake, and I said goodbye to my neighbor for the evening, a retired local firefighter who had some good stories about Rollie Massimino in the late 1960s and early 1970s. On the way out, I noticed Coley - who tied a career-high with 21 points - being interviewed by the Stony Brook radio crew. And to do it, he actually had to go in the stands.
After numerous delays, the adjacent Stony Brook Arena (where the Seawolves lost to Vermont in last March's America East final) is supposed to have its renovation complete in time for the 2014-15 season, and hopefully that will be an arena worthy of the program Pikiell has built. Pikiell may have a bit of a dilemma, if Stony Brook is the top seed and makes the America East final, they will host again. Stony Brook has never been to the NCAA Tournament, and I'm not sure Stony Brook Arena can even hist a game this year, let alone if Pikiell wants to play there. Now that will be a tough ticket.
As I got to the car for the long ride home, there was plenty of traffic trying to get out, and of course - unlike Lewisburg - I got cut off by a woman who was obviously in more of a hurry than I was. HOW IS THERE TRAFFIC ON A CAMPUS OF 20,000 STUDENTS WHEN THE GYM ONLY SEATS 1,800?, I thought loudly, but then I remembered ALL-CAPS DAY is not for a few weeks.
I never did hit 55 miles per hour on those local roads, but my escape from Lawn Guyland was complete, beating the incoming storm that would drop a couple inches of snow in a few hours.
It's a shame about Stony Brook, I do love its team. Trying to get there, however? Not so much.
at STONY BROOK 75, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 48
BOSTON UNIVERSITY 8-10 (2-3) -- D. Harrison 2-8 2-2 8; D. Irving 2-11 2-2 6; J. Papale 2-9 0-0 5; D. Morris 3-8 4-6 11; M. Watson Jr. 3-9 0-0 7; T. Robinson 3-8 0-0 8; M. Thomas 3-4 0-0 8; Z. Chionuma 1-5 0-0 3; J. Alston 0-1 0-0 0; J. Kennedy 0-0 0-0 0; D. Brossman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-55 6-8 48.
STONY BROOK 13-4 (4-0) -- C. Puriefoy 4-8 0-0 9; T. Brenton 5-9 1-1 12; D. Coley 8-12 2-2 21; J. Warney 5-9 2-4 12; L. Hayes 1-1 1-2 4; M. Rouse 3-6 0-0 8; E. McAlister 1-3 0-0 2; A. Mayo 1-3 0-0 2; B. Resner 0-3 0-1 0; S. King 1-1 0-0 3; R. Bracey 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 29-55 8-12 75.
Three-point goals: BU 8-27 (M. Thomas 2-3; D. Irving 0-6; D. Morris 1-1; T. Robinson 2-7; Z. Chionuma 1-4; J. Papale 1-3; M. Watson Jr. 1-3), SB 9-17 (T. Brenton 1-2; M. Rouse 2-5; L. Hayes 1-1; D. Coley 3-4; B. Resner 0-2; S. King 1-1; C. Puriefoy 1-2); Rebounds: BU 24 (M. Thomas 5), SB 37 (J. Warney 14); Assists: BU 10 (D. Irving 5), SB 17 (T. Brenton 4); Total Fouls -- BU 15, SB 11; Fouled Out: BU-T. Robinson; SB-None.
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