Jameel Warney bobblehead night at Island FCU Arena turned into a showcase for the senior that had everyone in attendance nodding in agreement that a third straight America East player of the year award is likely. Warney scored a career-high 36 points in record-setting fashion as Stony Brook extended the nation’s longest Division I winning streak to 16 games in an 85-72 victory over Hartford Monday night.
Warney made 16 field goals — to set a Stony Brook single-game record and his career-high — on 18 attempts, and he added 13 rebounds for his 17th double-double this season. The previous record for field goals in one game was 14 by JonPaul Kobryn on Feb. 17, 2002 against Northeastern.
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Warney’s 36 points also tied the single-game scoring record held by Anthony Jackson (Nov. 23, 2013 vs. Toledo) and D.J. Munir (Nov. 19, 2001 at Sacred Heart).
“I love bobblehead night,” said Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell, who reached 20 wins for the fifth straight season and sixth time in the past seven seasons.
The Seawolves (20-4, 11-0 AE) also got 22 points from Carson Puriefoy III and 12 points and 10 rebounds from Ahmad Walker. The 58 points scored by Warney and Puriefoy was their highest-ever total.
Pancake Thomas topped Hartford (7-18, 2-8) with 23 points, Jalen Ross added 16, and Jack Hobbs had 13.
Warney made his first six shot attempts, prompting the student section to chant to Hartford, “You can’t stop him!” By halftime, Warney already had 20 points and had hit 9 of 11 shots. SBU led 37-31 at halftime.
“I had to be aggressive,” Warney said. “I’ve been struggling with zones . . . Everything was going in. Even my free throws. From the jump, I was being aggressive and getting lift on my hook.”
The Hawks shot 52 percent from the field overall and 50 percent from three-point range (5-for-10) in the first half but were held to 39.4 percent in the second half, including 28.6 percent beyond the arc. They also were outrebounded, 43-25.
Stony Brook opened the second half with a 9-0 burst and later blew the game open with a 14-5 run that also included six points from Warney and three-point plays by Puriefoy and Walker to push the Seawolves’ lead to 68-49. Coming off a win Saturday at Massachusetts-Lowell in which they scored 91 points, the Seawolves continued to show they are the best offensive team in America East as well as the best defensive team, which has been their calling card.
“We can win two ways — offensively if we’re shooting well and defensively if we’re not,” Puriefoy said. “Tonight, the ball was going in for Jameel and myself. We were shooting too many threes, so I tried to attack the basket and get to the line.”
No one attacked better than Warney. “They were crowding our three-point shooters, and Jameel was open,” Pikiell said. “He was active, and he wanted the ball.”
Asked on his special night how he liked his bobblehead, Warney smiled and said, “A lot of people say it doesn’t look like me. I feel they’re wrong. I’m just happy to have a bobblehead.”