How many different words can be used to describe Jameel Warney’s dominant play this year? “Beast.” “Monster.” “Manimal.” “Juggernaut.” Those words have been used ad nauseam all season long, but the truth is that Warney has been all of that and more, and it was no different in Tuesday night’s game against Columbia.
Warney looked like a true giant playing among boys as he posted yet another outstanding stat-line with 25 points on 12-of-16 shooting, 13 rebounds and two blocks to help lead Stony Brook to a 70-61 win in its last non-conference game of the season. It was his nation-leading 13th double-double of the year, and he also leads Division I with an average of 12.3 rebounds.
“I just came in today thinking to be aggressive, my teammates trust me and they gave me the ball in great positions to score,” Warney said. “My first shot was a dunk and then I made a hook shot, so I felt like I was on today and I kept on shooting.”
Even Columbia’s head coach Kyle Smith was forced to sing the junior center’s praises after the game.
Anyone who follows #AmericaEastTwitter will recognize a few names immediately: @AE_Commish, which is run by conference commissioner Amy Huchthausen; friends of the site @onebidwonders and @ryanrestivo, two must-reads that cover mid-major hoops as well as anyone; @sbusports, obviously.
But one name in particular stands out for its uniqueness: @UAHOOPSWB, the enigmatic, omnipresent account belonging to Albany Men’s Basketball Head Coach Will Brown.
This site began two and a half years ago as a pet project and as an experiment.
The experiment was trying to see if there was an audience out there hungry for news and commentary about Stony Brook Athletics. Today I am declaring the exploratory phase over: our very first week coincided with Stony Brook baseball’s improbable run to the College World Series in 2012, and since then both the Athletics Department and this site have grown. Our audience now stretches into the tens of thousands, and our reach on social media has grown stronger every day. We’ve broken some huge stories and scooped national outlets in the process.
Which brings me back to the other side of the coin. In order to fulfill the ambitions I have for the site and the appetite our large and growing audience has for Seawolves news, this can’t remain a pet project. So here’s the deal.
Joe Lunardi, godfather of ESPN’s annual March Madness fetish known as Bracketology, is out with his latest predictions, and not only projects Stony Brook to make the dance, but gives them a #13 seed.
He bumped the Seawolves up from a projected #15 seed in his first edition of Bracketology back in November, and now has them facing West Virginia out of the Mid West region in the first round.
Lunardi has favored the Seawolves plenty of times before, and we all know how well those predictions have turned out. But a #13 seed matches the highest he has ever ranked an America East team in at least the last five years. Stony Brook was also projected as a #13 seed two seasons ago when the Seawolves won 25 games en route to a first-round upset over #2 UMass in the NIT.
There’s a lot riding on a team’s performance coming off of a big victory, never more so when we’re talking about a conference game. For Stony Brook, the victory in question couldn’t have been bigger: a win over a ranked team for the first time in program history. And the stakes in their follow-up game couldn’t have been higher: a stingy New Hampshire defense that posted a surprisingly strong non-conference record was coming to town to open America East conference play.
For 20 minutes, Stony Brook fans’ worst fears were realized. The Wildcats trailed by just 3 at halftime after Stony Brook had built and then squandered an 11-point lead early, and then took a five point lead to start the second. But the Seawolves battled back to reclaim the lead with 13:51 to play and never relinquished it the rest of the way, holding on for a 71-61 win.
Congratulations! You’ve just unwrapped a win over an AP Top 25 team. If this is your first experience with a win over a ranked opponent, here are some things you have to know.
1) Your season isn’t over! It might feel like you’ve just won a championship, but be warned: you haven’t yet. There is still a lot of basketball to be played, and this is no time to rest on your laurels. It’s time to hunker down and finish the second half of the season strong.
2) You’re now the top target. As if you didn’t already have a red crosshairs on your back all season, a nationally-recognized win over a ranked team from a Power 5 conference means everyone will be gunning for you until the final buzzer sounds on the season. Do not take anyone lightly, even a one-win team. Prepare as you would against any Top 25 team, even if you’re playing a team that has more losses than Kentucky has wins.
It’s a story we’ve all read before: Stony Brook keeps it competitive in the first 20 minutes on the road against a major program, only to see their opponent pull away and put the game out of reach.
But on Sunday, the Seawolves flipped the script. In the second half, as Stony Brook was staring at a 16-point deficit with 13:13 to play in Seattle, freshman Roland Nyama drilled a three pointer that ignited a 31-10 run to close the game and propel Stony Brook to the biggest win in program history, 62-57 over the #13 Huskies.
Sophomore Kameron Mitchell, who lost his spot in the starting rotation just two weeks ago, played the role of hero down the stretch, scoring all 12 of his points on four 3-pointers in the second half. His last one made it 55-52 with 3:51 to play, and his teammates took it from there.
Four players reached double-digit scoring, the team shot 54.9 percent from the floor, and the Seawolves led wire to wire in a dominant 73-54 win over LIU-Brooklyn at Madison Square Garden. For Seawolves fans, there’s a lot to be thankful for so far this season.
In front of a small Thanksgiving Day crowd, junior Rayshaun McGrew recorded his first double-double of the season on 13 points and 11 boards. He was one of four Stony Brook starters to cross the double-digit threshold in the scoring column, with freshman Roland Nyama adding 16, Carson Puriefoy contributing 10 and Jameel Warney leading all scorers with 18.
Warney’s dunk in the second half gave the junior standout 1000 points for his career, reaching the milestone in just 74 games.
Even in defeat, Stony Brook’s game against Hofstra felt like a turning point in the early weeks of the season.
In an unfriendly arena against a very good team and in just their third game of the season, the young Seawolves didn’t flinch. Jameel Warney got the ball in the post with less than 10 seconds to play and put it in for a 65-64 lead. A defensive lapse allowed the Pride to escape with a 1-point win, but Stony Brook looked good all night long.
And so, after easily dispensing Division II US Merchant Marine Academy, the Seawolves had an opportunity to put it all together at home against one of the most storied programs in Division I.
Western Kentucky are owners of the eighth best winning percentage in Division I history, and even in rebuilding seasons opponents overlook the Hilltoppers at their own peril.
But if Stony Brook felt at all overmatched, they didn’t show it. Carson Puriefoy led all scorers with 21, Jameel Warney went for his 5th straight double-double, and a pair of freshmen turned in good performances to lift Stony Brook to a 71-61 win.
On defense, the Seawolves held WKU to just 38 percent shooting from the floor, and Stony Brook held the slight edge on the boards, out-rebounding the Toppers 40-37.
Tyrell Sturdivant, the freshman who has been quiet for the first few weeks of the season, provided a spark for the Seawolves. In 23 minutes off the bench, he contributed 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a steal, all without turning over the ball. If he continues to improve, he will be a huge weapon for Coach Pikiell in giving starters Rayshaun McGrew or Roland Nyama a break.
Speaking of Nyama, the redshirt freshman is looking more and more comfortable on the floor after struggling to find a rhythm in his first four games. He went 3 for 5 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from long distance and finished with 10 points. He did end up fouling out, but his performance was the best we’ve seen from him so far.
Still, the offense belonged to the usual suspects: Puriefoy’s 21 points comes a week after his 26 point effort against Georgia. Warney, meanwhile, turned in another Warneyesque performance with 17 points and 15 rebounds to increase his season averages.
His field goal percentage is still off the pace from a season ago, but Warney has improved game to game. He also had 4 blocks to lead all players.
The game was being billed — by us, at least — as the renewal of New York’s biggest college basketball rivalry. And 40 minutes of back-and-forth basketball made us look friggin prescient.
A Jameel Warney lay-in with less than 10 seconds to play gave Stony Brook a 65-64 lead, but the Seawolves defense couldn’t stop Dion Nesmith from racing down the court, pulling up, and drilling a jump shot with 2 seconds on the clock to seal the win for Hofstra.
It was a close game all night long, with neither team able to open up a double-digit lead. Warney paced the Seawolves all night, finally turning in the kind of performance that has made him the most dangerous player in the America East. He went 11 of 14 from the floor, good for a game-high 26 to go along with 14 boards. That’s his third double double of the season, one for each game Stony Brook has played.