SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. -- Following a rough start in which Stony Brook fell behind by 10 points to Seton Hall after committing nine turnovers and shooting 1-for-10, the Seawolves came roaring back last night to lead three times in the second half and take their first-round NIT game down to a final possession.
But Bryan Dougher's potential winning three bounced out, and Tommy Brenton's tip to tie it fell off the rim as time expired. The Pirates of the Big East escaped with a 63-61 victory over the America East regular-season champs.
"I didn't really get the shot I wanted at the end," said Dougher, who was contested at the top of the arc by Aaron Cosby.
Asked how long Brenton's tip seemed to sit on the rim, Dougher added, "Forever. I thought it was going to drop. But I'm proud of the way we played."
Dallis Joyner led SBU with 14 points and had nine rebounds, Marcus Rouse scored 13, Dougher totaled 12 points to add to his school Division I career scoring record, and Tommy Brenton added 13 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Jordan Theodore led the Hall with 21 points, and Herb Pope added 20.
SBU pounded the Big East team on the boards 44-23, including a 19-2 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Stony Brook (22-10) was making its second NIT appearance in three years, against Seton Hall (21-12), which has seven NCAA banners, including a 1989 runner-up finish, and 16 NIT banners hanging in the rafters of ancient Walsh Gym. The Hall had lost 11 straight NIT games dating to its last win in 1956, but the Pirates advance to meet UMass.
SBU looked completely overmatched physically in the first nine minutes against Seton Hall's full-court press and extended zone defense. "We had a little jitters early," said Dougher, a Scotch Plains, N.J., native who grew up a Pirates fan and who had upward of 40 friends and relatives in the stands. "Once we settled down, we were able to overcome it."
It was Dougher who finally hit a three with 11:04 left in the first half to start a 14-6 run that cut the Hall's lead to 18-16 when Joyner made a foul-line jumper. Every time the Pirates started to inch away, the Seawolves fought back, pulling within two four more times before the half when Rouse hit a corner three at the buzzer to cut Seton Hall's lead to 32-30.
"When Bryan hit that three," Joyner said, "Pope said to me, 'When he hits threes, you guys get going, don't you.' "
Did they ever. Stony Brook led three times early in the second half and then tied it for the last time at 46 on a three by Dougher with 10:13 to play. The Hall put together a 7-0 run that ended with two technical foul shots by Theodore for a 53-46 lead after Stony Brook point guard Dave Coley fouled out at 8:07 and protested too much. The Seawolves later lost Joyner to fouls with 1:43 left.
"That was our first technical this season," SBU coach Steve Pikiell said of the call by the Big East crew. "It was tough to lose Dave because he can go by guys, and I would have loved to have Dallis at the end of the game. We were going for it on the last shot because I wanted to win. I didn't want to go to overtime the way the whistle was being blown. I'm sad it's over, but I'm proud of these guys."