Saturday, March 3, 2012

Stony Brook advances to America East semifinals with 78-69 win over Binghamton

Brenton leads with 14 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists

West Hartford, Conn. - The Stony Brook men's basketball team had a hard-fought America East Championship quarterfinal against Binghamton, using a 23-6 run mid-way through the second half to erase a four-point deficit and get past the Bearcats, 78-69, Saturday at Chase Arena. Junior Tommy Brenton (Columbia, Md.) led the Seawolves with 14 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Stony Brook (21-8) advances to the semifinals for the third consecutive season and will face either No. 4 Albany or No. 5 New Hampshire Sunday at 5 p.m. The Seawolves have now won 12 of their last 13 games and 18 of their last 20 as they chase their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.

Five Seawolves scored in double figures, led by Brenton and sophomore Dave Coley (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who each had 14. Seniors Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.) and Dallis Joyner (Norfolk, Va.) and sophomore Anthony Jackson (Columbus, Ohio) each had 13 points. The Seawolves shot 50 percent for the game and went to the foul line 34 times, where they made 22 shots. SBU outrebounded the Bearcats 36-25 and had 14 offensive rebounds that led to 17 second chance points.

Binghamton also shot 50 percent for the game and drained 10 three-pointers. Ben Dickinson led the Bearcats with 20 points, and Jimmy Gray added 16 points and nine assists.

"Our goal today was to win and advance, and we did it," head coach Steve Pikiell said. "Give credit to Binghamton, they played a great game and hit some big shots. I liked the way our guys played hard, stuck with the game plan and executed. We now have to get ready for another tough game tomorrow."

Stony Brook led for the entire first half, but the Bearcats took advantage of a Seawolves cold spell to take a four-point lead mid-second half. BU hit a trey of three-pointers, the last one by Chris Longoria, to make it 47-43 Bearcats with 12:17 to play.

The Seawolves then found their groove as Jackson came off the bench to hit a jumper to cut the deficit to two. Coley followed with a jumper of his own and then hit a pair of free throws on the following possession to reclaim the lead for the Seawolves, 49-47. Brenton followed by hitting an easy layup on a pass form Coley, and the Seawolves went up six points.

It was 53-51 when Coley and Brenton took over. Coley took his defender off the dribble and pulled up a smooth 15 foot jumper. Brenton then stripped Omar Richards and came down in transition and slammed a dunk home. On the next possession, he found Joyner deep in the paint for a layup, and Stony Brook now led 59-51 with 7:44 to play.

Brenton again put the crowd in a frenzy with a dunk off a Coley pass that made it 66-53 with 4:41 to go in the game to finish the 23-6 run and give the Seawolves their largest lead of the game.

Binghamton hung around by hitting a few three-pointers near the end of the game, but never got closer than six points. The Seawolves made 10 of 15 free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win.

Stony Brook had controlled the first half, but never was able to distance itself from the Bearcats. SBU's defense helped build an eight-point lead as back-to-back Brenton steals led to points and then Dougher stole a pass and hit a fastbreak layup. Jackson then nailed a three-pointer to give the Seawolves a 10-2 advantage.

Binghamton hung in there and made it a two-point game, 16-14, on a pair of Gray three-pointers. Then Stony Brook had a 7-0 run that gave it a nine-point lead, 23-14, with 6:05 remaining in the half.

Again the Bearcats fought back and got as close as four, 27-23, before Joyner and Brenton made a coupled of big plays. Joyner put back a Dougher miss by tipping it in, and then near the end of the half, Brenton completed a three-point play after getting an open layup, drawing contact and making the free throw. Stony Brook went into halftime leading 34-28.

The Seawolves will collide with either Albany or New Hampshire Sunday at 5 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

Notes: Stony Brook has now won four straight games against Binghamton and leads the all-time series 29-25…Stony Brook has 21 wins, one shy of the program's Div. I record of 22, set in 2009-10…Bryan Dougher is now only 17 points away from becoming the program's all-time leading Div. I scorer…he has 1,574 points…Tommy Brenton notched his 17th career double-double, fifth of the season and second against Binghamton this year…Stony Brook is 4-1 all-time in America East Championship games held at Chase Arena.