Pritchard Gym may have shaken for the last time.
Unless Stony Brook hosts a game in one of the postseason tournaments, Saturday's loss in the America East championship game marked the end of the gym's run as the home of SBU athletics. The 1,630-seat gym -- whose cramped quarters, loud fans and shaking stands made it an unwelcoming place for visiting teams -- will be replaced next year by Stony Brook Arena.
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The 40,000-square-foot arena, which will seat 4,000 fans, is undergoing a $21.1-million renovation and is expected to be completed by the fall.
Pritchard was the home of Stony Brook basketball and volleyball from 1969-1990, when games switched to the new arena. The little gym took up hosting duties again in 2008 at the beginning of the renovations, although a 2010 NIT game against Illinois and the 2012 America East final were played in the arena during that span.
Stony Brook had a 23-game conference home winning streak snapped earlier this season, and the Seawolves had a 23-1 home record against America East teams the past three seasons before Saturday's loss.
Though there has been much ballyhoo about Pritchard's home-court advantage, fans seem to be ready for the switch.
"It'll be the same energy, and it's always an advantage to be on home turf,'' said Sandy Miller, 55, a season-ticket holder.
Michael Specht, 45, said that although he can't ignore the up-side of playing at Pritchard -- "there's definitely an advantage because we're so close to the court'' -- he'll welcome the new arrangement with open arms.
"In the new stadium, you can fit 4,500 fans,'' he said. "It's going to be nuts. I think it's even better.''