The post season is so close to Stony Brook they can probably taste it. Thursday’s 80-68 win over UMBC moved the Seawolves one step closer to guaranteeing a post season berth.
Stony Brook improved to 17-7 overall and 12-1 in the America East. If the Seawolves wins at Vermont on Sunday, they will at least a share of the America East regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
If the Seawolves are crowned the conference regular champs, they get an automatic berth to the post season NIT. Stony Brook isn’t looking for another NIT berth, though. The NCAA Tournament is the only thing on the team’s mind right now.
But first thing’s first. Stony Brook has to win at Vermont (16-10, 10-2) on Sunday. There is also the matter of their BracketBuster game at Northeastern, but that has no effect on the conference standings.
"It's going to be a big game in front of a big crowd. Every game we play with them is physical, and we'll have to play our best to win on the road,” said Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell. “They have one week to prepare for us, and we only have 2 days, so we're going to work hard in practice to get ready."
Stony Brook should be ready. Offensively, the Seawolves have been a very efficient the last few weeks. Four players finished in double figures on Thursday, led by Anthony Jackson, who went 3-for-5 from three-point range and finished with a career-high 17 points.
Bryan Dougher added 16 points and Dallis Joyner and Marcus Rouse added 14 each. Jackson’s game wasn’t a surprise. The sophomore guard has hit 10 of his last 20 three-point attempts. Rouse’s point total was a surprise. It was only the fourth time this season he’s reached double figures.
On another note, Thursday’s game marked the 13 straight home win for the Seawolves, which matches the program's Division I record set during the 2000-01 season. The 14-1 record over the last 15 games is a Division I program best.