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Sunday, January 30, 2011

New lineup helps Stony Brook to 69-35 win


Photo credit: Joseph D. Sullivan | Stony Brook's Leonard Hayes goes to the hoop against Hartford's Joe Nardi in the second half.


With his team having lost six of its last seven, Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell was looking for something - anything, actually - to stem the negative tide.
He rattled the cage with his young team yesterday afternoon, inserting sophomore Leonard Hayes and redshirt freshman Eric McAlister into the starting lineup for the first time in their careers.
It turned out to be just what the team needed. Stony Brook, sparked by a barrage of three-pointers and airtight defense, cruised to a 69-35 win over Hartford at Pritchard Gymnasium.
Stony Brook had been held below 60 points in regulation in six of the previous seven games. "I wanted to shake it up," Pikiell said. "Both of those guys have really been plugging away. I liked the way it looked and I liked our rotation."
Hayes tied Bryan Dougher with a game-high 15 points. McAlister played only 13 minutes but hit a three-pointer and had two blocked shots.
It was the second straight strong performance for Hayes, who had a career-high 22 points in a loss at Maine the previous Saturday. "He gives us another guy who can stroke it,'' Pikiell said. "So it takes some pressure off Dougher and it takes pressure off Marcus Rouse."
"We needed scoring and that's what Coach asked me to do," said Hayes, who hit three of SBU's season-high 11 three-pointers. "[Hartford] plays the 1-3-1 zone and that's what we've been going over the whole week."
The Seawolves led 37-26 before putting together a 17-2 run capped by Hayes' three-pointer for a 54-28 lead.
It was a rare blowout win for Stony Brook, which hadn't enjoyed a double-digit victory since an 80-43 romp over Division III Mt. Ida in the second game of the season. "I think our guys needed it," Pikiell said. "They need to be rewarded. They've been working hard."
It was an impressive defensive performance for the Seawolves (8-12, 3-5 America East), who limited Hartford to 15 points in the second half, a Stony Brook record in Division I play. Hartford shot 24 percent from the field (12-for-50).
Hartford's Morgan Sabia, who entered the game averaging 15.0 points per game, was held to four. Joe Zeglinski, who was at 14.4 and had scored at least 10 points in 99 straight games, was held scoreless. Milton Burton led Hartford (7-14, 4-4) with 10.
"We had eight days to prepare for them," Dougher said. "The game plan was to not let Zeglinski and Sabia score. We kind of stopped the whole team."
Stony Brook got an added bonus as Chris Martin returned to action. The fifth-year senior guard, who missed the previous 10 games with a torn meniscus in his right knee, had six points in 11 minutes. Martin's ability to get to the rim will give SBU's offense a boost. "It felt good just because we got a win," he said. "But I've been playing every possession in practice this week and I felt good out there today."
SBU women lose.Kirsten Jeter had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Stony Brook women's basketball team's 65-57 loss to UMBC Saturday in Baltimore.
Sam Landers added 11 points for the Seawolves (4-17, 1-8 America East). Michelle Kurowski led four UMBC players in double figures with 18 points.