Playing well at home and playing consistence defense has been a driving force behind Stony Brook’s success the last few seasons. Both aspects were evident in the Seawolves 79-62 win over Rider on Friday night.
Rider (3-11) had more turnovers (10) in the first half than shots made (7).
Stony Brook (5-6) saw a 34-14 lead in the first half trimmed to 61-53 in the second, but the Seawolves never let the Broncs get any closer than that. Rider used three-point line to trim the deficit to eight, but missed on six of its final seven attempts.
Stony Brook’s second-half performance was a far cry from Wednesday’s 68-59 overtime win against Cornell. The Seawolves led by 20 in that one, but needed an overtime session to seal it.
“We played great defense in the first half,” said Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell. “We’ve got to learn how with leads, but we did what we had to do.”
The other aspect is Stony Brook’s fan support as 1,031 showed up for Friday’s game. That number may not sound overwhelming, but considering the fact that students are away on semester break and that Pritchard Gymnasium seats a little over 1,600, it was a good crowd.
Stony Brook obliged its fans with a solid game from start to finish.
"That's one of our goals going into the season," said Pikiell, "We want to make this a tough place to play, and hopefully, Monday will be the toughest day to play here."
Stony Brook hosts Vermont on Monday in its America East opener.
Stony Brook drew 1,630 to its win over Cornell, 1,078 showed up for FDU, 1,168 were on hand for the Columbia game and the Mount Ida game had 1,301 in the seats.
“The crowd helps us. These guys like playing in front of people,” said Pikiell. “And the community is starting to come out and embrace us.”