Dave Coley got two front teeth knocked out last month at the 2K Sports Classic in Detroit, courtesy of an elbow. Two days later, he got the same teeth jarred loose with a head butt.
Most players would have taken a seat on the bench. The Stony Brook senior barely came off the court.
"I was mad at first,'' Coley said, grinning. "The important thing is I still got that million-dollar smile.''
That's the kind of toughness Coley has brought to the Seawolves in his career. On Sunday night, still wearing a bridge to hold the teeth in, he led Stony Brook to a 76-54 win over Cornell at Pritchard Gymnasium. It was a milestone effort, as the Brooklyn native scored his 1,000th career point. Coley called it "an honor.''
"It's one of the reasons we recruited him -- he's a tough kid,'' Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said. "He hasn't been given a lot in his life. He's worked for everything.''
Coley had 15 points in what Pikiell described as a "dangerous'' game for the Seawolves (9-4). It was Stony Brook's final contest until Jan. 3 at VCU, and Cornell (0-11) isn't as bad as its record.
"You always worry this time of year,'' Pikiell said. "They just finished finals, guys are making plans to go home.''
Jameel Warney had 14 points, Carson Puriefoy added 13 points off the bench, Ahmad Walker scored 12 points and Eric McAlister added nine points and 11 rebounds for Stony Brook.
Devin Cherry and Darryl Smith each had 11 points for Cornell.
Coley played 31 minutes, less than each of the three games at the 2K Sports Classic, when he had his dental issues. In the third game, he played 40 minutes and scored 14 points in the Seawolves' triple-overtime win over Detroit, the game in which he took the head butt.
"He's our senior captain,'' Warney said. "He's shown great leadership."
The 6-2 lockdown defender played a pivotal role on Stony Brook's America East regular-season championship teams the previous two years. And he's gotten better through hours and hours in the gym and video room.
"I would've never said that year one, and now I think he's the best defender in the league,'' Pikiell said.
Clearly, there isn't much that can keep him off the court.
"I got a little bit of toughness in me,'' Coley said. "A little bit. Not a whole lot.''
Way more than most.