With four minutes left in the first half of Stony Brook's season-opening men's basketball game, the Seawolves found themselves trailing Marist by seven points and fighting through foul trouble. But preseason All-America East center Jameel Warney suddenly sprang to life, as Knicks color commentator Walt Frazier might say, "dishing and swishing."
Warney's passing, rebounding and shooting triggered a 23-1 run that lasted into the second half, sending Stony Brook on its way to a 71-55 win over the Red Foxes Friday night at Pritchard Gym.
Warney began the Seawolves' surge with an assist on a layup by Eric McAlister that turned into a three-point play. Then Warney grabbed two offensive rebounds and scored both times, fed Anthony Jackson for a layup and passed to Scott King for a three-pointer. It was a dazzling display by Warney, who finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high four assists.
"I had butterflies the first couple of minutes," Warney said of his lethargic start. "When they took that lead, we all came together and just decided to play. It was just us having the composure to keep on fighting."
The first half ended with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Carson Puriefoy, and Jackson hit two threes early in the second half to extend the run to 23-1 and give the Seawolves a 45-30 lead. That margin climbed as high as 19 points late in the second half.
"We all knew it was go time," said Jackson, who had a career-high 22 points. "We had to step on the gas. Everybody had that look in their eyes like they knew what we had to do. That was the breaking point for us."
McAlister, who figures to become a go-to player now that America East player of the year Tommy Brenton has graduated, delivered with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. But where it used to be Brenton distributing, Warney's passing out of double-team situations now seems to be one way to ignite the offense.
"Jameel is extremely unselfish, and he's a great passer," McAlister said. "We have to keep feeding him and run the offense inside-out."
Isaiah Morton led Marist with 15 points but was shut out in the second half. The Red Foxes shot only 30.2 percent for the game, including 22.2 percent from three-point range.
SBU's Dave Coley added nine rebounds and freshman Ahmad Walker had a team-high five assists. Walker, however, was called for a flagrant foul for elbowing Marist's Chevaughn Lewis, who had 14 points.
"It was a freshman mistake," Warney said of the flagrant. "He'll learn from it."
SBU women win. Stony Brook scored a 50-44 women's basketball win over NJIT in the first half of the season-opening doubleheader. Sabre Proctor had 18 points and eight rebounds and Chikilra Goodman added 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists.