Monday, March 12, 2012

Stony Brook Men's hoops draws Seton Hall in the NIT

Stony Brook, N.Y. - The Stony Brook men's basketball team, making its second national postseason tournament appearance in the last three years, has drawn Seton Hall in the first round of the 2012 Postseason NIT. The Seawolves will take on the Pirates Tuesday night at Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J., at 7:15 p.m., live on ESPN3 and WUSB 90.1 FM.

This is Stony Brook's second NIT appearance in the last three seasons, having also played in 2010 when the Seawolves hosted Illinois in the first round at Stony Brook Arena. The Seawolves qualified for the NIT by winning the America East regular season championship.

Stony Brook and Seton Hall have met two prior times, with the Pirates winning both matchups, the most recent one coming Dec. 31, 2002. The Pirates are 20-12 this season and were 8-10 in the BIG EAST.

Should Stony Brook defeat Seton Hall, the Seawolves will advance to face either No. 4 Mississippi State or No. 5 Massachusetts in the second round.

This season, the Seawolves are 22-9 overall and 14-2 in America East, the program's best record in the league since joining in 2001. Stony Brook has won 19 of its last 22 games and sports one of the nation's best defenses, allowing only 59.0 points per game. In this 22-game stretch, Stony Brook has not allowed an opponent to score 70 points, and 14 times, the team has held its foe under 60 points.

Part of Stony Brook's defense has been its rebounding prowess. The Seawolves rank fifth in the nation in rebounding margin at +7.9, and they have outrebounded their opponents in 27 of 31 games this season.

Stony Brook is led by first-team All-America East senior Bryan Dougher (Scotch Plains, N.J.), who just became the school's all-time leading Div. I scorer with 1,597 points. Joining him on the All-America East first team is junior Tommy Brenton (Columbia, Md.), who is also the 2012 America East Defensive Player of the Year. The Seawolves are also led by third-team All-America East senior Dallis Joyner (Norfolk, Va.), who was the conference's leader in field goal percentage at 60 percent.

The Seawolves are under the direction of seventh-year head coach Steve Pikiell, who has built the Stony Brook program from the ground up, taking over a team that had never finished better than sixth in America East to winning two regular season championships in three seasons. In each of those regular season championship years, Pikiell has been named America East Coach of the Year.