With 11 minutes left in regulation, any application of the probability theory could not possibly have predicted Stony Brook's 64-60 double-overtime victory over New Hampshire on Saturday at Pritchard Gymnasium.
Stony Brook trailed by 14 points, 30-16, and was thoroughly out of whack offensively. A field-goal accuracy under 20 percent. A second scoreless drought of about nine minutes (one in each half). A penchant for playground chaos producing empty trip after empty trip downcourt.
Stony Brook still trailed by 14 with less than nine minutes remaining, and even when the Seawolves cut the deficit to nine with 7:38 to play, no ouija board could have hinted at the home team's unlikely survival, nothing short of a Humpty Dumpty resurrection.
With 2:09 to go, looking at a 42-35 deficit, junior Bryan Dougher - in the midst of a 2-for-12 shooting day - made two free throws. And sophomore Marcus Rouse - who spent most of the first half on the bench after teammate Anthony Mayo accidentally elbowed him in the nose - conjured a steal that led to Dave Coley's three-point basket, making it 42-40 with 1:21 left.
Coley, up to that point, was having a dreadful shooting experience himself; he finished 3-for-12, although he contributed eight rebounds, two steals and a block along with 11 points.
New Hampshire (7-10, 1-4 America East) went up by four when Chandler Rhoads converted two free throws. And with 33 seconds remaining, SBU's Dallis Joyner took his shaky 45 percent free-throw percentage to the line. "I knew I had to make two; I had just missed two earlier in the game," said Joyner (11 rebounds), who made his two.
Rhoads missed two from the line with 28 seconds left and Dougher sank two free throws with 14 seconds left, giving him 11 points in the second half. On to the first overtime at 44-44.
Stony Brook (7-9, 2-2) still faced another heavy lift. With 27 seconds to go in the first overtime and the Seawolves down 51-48, Rouse attempted a three-pointer and was fouled by Tyrone Conley (14 points). Rouse (13 points) made all three foul shots, though the first two rattled around before dropping.
"I was kind of scared at first," he said. "But I was just thinking, we practice free throws every day; I was thinking it's another day at practice, just step up and knock 'em down."
With the score tied at 51, the second overtime began with Mayo slipping in a layup and swishing a baseline jumper and Rouse sinking a jumper for a quick six-point lead. Stony Brook, having wrung every drop of possibility from its defense, at last had the scoring edge. Coley's driving bank shot and Stony Brook's 5-for-9 free-throw shooting sealed the deal.
Anthony Jackson added 12 points for Stony Brook, ending each of the Seawolves' two long scoring droughts with a three-pointer. Brian Benson had 22 rebounds for New Hampshire, which hurt itself with 6-for-31 three-point shooting and 12-for-24 free-throw shooting.
So after managing only 16 points in the first 29 minutes, the Seawolves scored 48 in the next 21.
"I told our guys before the game," Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said, "our average is 63 points a game; we needed to get our average. I just didn't know it would take six overtimes to get there."