LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. -- College kids generally aren't early risers, but Stony Brook and Rider had no problems answering their alarms for a rousing game in the 6 a.m. slot in ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon Tuesday morning in the Broncs' noisy bandbox gym.
"If you need something extra to get pumped for an ESPN game, I don't know what to tell you," Seawolves forward Tommy Brenton said.
Stony Brook had to be alert to defend a lethal Rider attack powered by Nurideen Lindsey, the high-scoring guard who left St. John's last December. Lindsey hit a half-court three-pointer that sparked a Rider rally to tie the game with 4:08 left, but Brenton and Stony Brook guards Anthony Jackson and Dave Coley dug in and pulled out a 54-46 victory.
"I like the fact that, when it was tied, we won the basketball game with four minutes left," Seawolves coach Steve Pikiell said. "We defend. This will probably be their season low, 46 points, because they can really score."
Jackson and Coley led the Seawolves (3-0) with 12 points apiece, freshman center Jameel Warney added nine points and nine rebounds, and Brenton contributed eight points, seven rebounds and his rugged defensive presence. Anthony Myles scored 16 for Rider (1-1), and Lindsey had 15 of his game-high 17 in the second half. But the Broncs shot only 30.8 percent from the field.
"I think the biggest disappointment for me is we only had [five] points in the post," Rider coach Kevin Baggett said. "You're not going to win many games if you can't score inside."
Stony Brook pushed its lead to a high of 11 points at 37-26 after a spinning baseline move by Eric McAlister with 12:09 left. Lindsey still was in a funk after Jackson drew a charge moments earlier.
"I was excited," Jackson said. "I ran all the way down the court like coach wants us to do and got the charge call, and it got the gym hyped -- our bench at least."
A few minutes later, Jackson and McAlister forced a near-turnover that Lindsey chased down in the backcourt, and with the shot clock running down, he let fly with a three from just inside the timeline that banked in to cut the deficit to 37-33. He hit another three and totaled nine points in the 15-4 run that tied the game at 41.
"That was deflating," Jackson said. "I felt like we had a stop, and we end up giving up three points. You've just got to get past that one."
Rider's crowd went bonkers. "The crowd got into it, and the team got into it," Lindsey said. "It was kind of a relief for me, too. I was struggling a little bit. When I hit that, it felt like it was going to be a good night. But I give credit to Stony Brook."
With the game tied, Coley and Jackson hit back-to-back jumpers, Warney made a foul shot and assisted on a layup by Ron Bracey, and the Seawolves made their last six free throws.
"I was too anxious to sleep all night," Coley said. "But I can sleep now."