Marcus Rouse (16 points) comes off bench to lead Stony Brook

Stony Brook's Marcus Rouse drives the baseline in Stony Brook's Marcus Rouse drives the baseline in the first half. (Dec. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

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Marcus Rouse is Stony Brook's version of J.R. Smith. Just as the Knicks guard comes off the bench to provide an offensive jolt, so does the SBU senior.

Rouse matched his season high of 16 points as Stony Brook beat Eastern Illinois, 66-52, Saturday afternoon at Pritchard Gymnasium. He shot 5-for-9 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from three-point range.

"That's my role," Rouse said. "Coach [Steve Pikiell] wants me to provide instant offense, so that's what I try to do."

Rouse had a personal 8-0 run to give Stony Brook (6-2) a 33-24 halftime lead, but the Seawolves led only 50-49 with 5:57 to play. An 11-0 run in the next 4:42, including Rouse's three-pointer, put the game away.

"That was an old-fashioned grind-it-out win," Pikiell said. "We really did a great job making big plays down the stretch."

Said Pikiell: "You have a senior in Marcus Rouse who comes off the bench, and last game he was our best defender, and then this game he scored points and was ready to play."

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Stony Brook played stifling defense, holding Eastern Illinois (3-6) to 34 percent shooting, making seven steals and blocking seven shots. SBU was 16-for-17 from the free-throw line.

Anthony Jackson scored 13 points, Dave Coley had nine points and four steals, and Tommy Brenton had seven points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Brenton is four rebounds from becoming the school's all-time leader. The senior has 903 career boards.

Stony Brook wrapped up a stretch of four games in eight days in which it went 3-1, with the only loss at UConn. The Seawolves have a nine-day layoff before kicking off a five-game road trip at St. Francis (N.Y.).

Pikiell called the road trip, which includes games at Maryland, Seton Hall and Sacred Heart (which beat SBU on Nov. 18), "the toughest stretch in the history of our program."

Said Brenton, "I think this road trip coming up is going to be a good test for us to see how well we really can play. We have a lot of preparation time, so we'll get a lot of film sessions in on the teams coming up and be able to tell who we really are going into conference play.''

Of course, Rouse already knows exactly who he is -- an offensive catalyst off the bench.

And Pikiell seems to be putting more faith in him of late. After playing no more than 14 minutes in any of the first six games, Rouse has played 25 and 24 in the last two. In those two games, he has 23 points and has shot 8-for-14.

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