Tommy Brenton looks forward to NIT after struggling in conference tournament

Stony Brook forward Tommy Brenton shoots a free

Stony Brook forward Tommy Brenton shoots a free throw in the first half of a game against Albany at Pritchard Gymnasium. (March 3, 2013) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

ALBANY -- Throughout his Stony Brook career, Tommy Brenton always was the guy opposing teams hated to see. He scored in single digits, but when you added in his rebounds, assists, steals, tough defense and hard-nosed, selfless attitude, well, he was a regular one-man wrecking crew.

Brenton's reputation was such that he capped his senior year by being voted America East player of the year, along with his second straight defensive player of the year award. But facing his last chance to help the Seawolves gain their first-ever NCAA bid, Brenton struggled along with the rest of his teammates.

He followed a one-point performance in a quarterfinal win with six points and 12 rebounds in top-seeded Stony Brook's 61-59 semifinal loss to fourth-seeded Albany on its home court Sunday night. The only consolation for Brenton is that he has at least one more game to play because SBU (24-7) already had earned an automatic NIT bid as the conference's regular-season champion.

"I'm definitely proud of my team," Brenton said. "I'm proud of everyone and what we've done the entire season. One game is not going to hurt us. The season's not over yet. We still go to the NIT, and we're definitely going to try and reach Madison Square Garden."

Reflecting on his time at SBU, Brenton said, "I just love playing here and love the guys and coach. Even the community and the fans and the band, just everything that I've been through the past five years here. It's been unbelievable. I never would have thought it would happen like this."

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