Once again, it was left to veterans Bryan Dougher and Chris Martin to make the necessary offensive plays down the stretch to allow Stony Brook to pull out a 51-49 victory over Monmouth in the 6 a.m. game on ESPN's 24-hour Tip-Off Marathon. Each scored six points in the Seawolves' finishing 17-6 run in the final eight minutes.
But several of the newcomers on the roster made important contributions that hinted at their potential. Winning on the road in a surprisingly raucous environment at such an unholy hour of the day took some guts and determination. Backup freshman center Anthony Mayo and junior college transfer forward Al Rapier, in particular, showed they could step up.
On a day when the Seawolves shot 34.5 percent from the field, Mayo made all three of his shots and his only foul shot for seven points, including a three-point play that tied the game at 44 with 4:06 left to play. Rapier was the only other Seawolf to hit better than 50 percent with a 5-of-7 performance for 10 points, and he added six rebounds and two assists.
"Al's been real good, and Anthony Mayo gave us a lift off the bench," SBU coach Steve Pikiell said.
Starting freshman guard Dave Coley struggled again, making only two of seven shots for seven points and committing five turnovers. But he was solid at the foul line and had one basket wiped out by a charging call against him. "Dave didn't worry as much about his shots," Pikiell said. "He has disappointment lags when he misses."
At the moment, it's a learning process for a team that no longer has Muhammad El-Amin, last season's America East player of the year. "He's gone," shrugged Martin, the Seawolves' only senior.
"It's youth," Pikiell said of the lack of early-season scoring. The coach said injuries to Tommy Brenton and Marcus Rouse have been a bigger part of the problem.
"It's about us playing defense," Pikiell said. "If we had made free throws [instead of going 11 of 20], we would have been around 60 points. Today was tough against their matchup zone, but Coley and Rapier are going to get better. It was nice today. We were down 11, and we kept playing."