As double-doubles go, Jameel Warney’s 12-point, 10-rebound effort in Stony Brook’s 65-48 demolition of Vermont Friday night at Pritchard Gymnasium sounds rather modest. But make no mistake – it was the freshman who delivered the knockout punch with eight points in a 20-5 Seawolves run to open the second half.
With Marcus Rouse knocking down three-pointers in the first half, Warney managed only two points as SBU took a 35-29 halftime lead. But the 6-8 forward scored on an offensive rebound on the first possession after the break and then caught a lob from Anthony Jackson to dunk on the next possession.
Following a dunk by Eric McAlister and a three-pointer by Jackson, Warney got to the rim for two straight layups and a 48-34 Stony Brook lead, and the Seawolves just kept going from there, leading by as much as 22 points. When the lead reached 55-34, Vermont coach John Becker switched from his trademark man defense to a 1-3-1 with 6-8 Clancy Rugg on the baseline and three players strung across the lane denying the entry pass.
It worked for a few minutes as the Catamounts cut the deficit to 15, but then Warney got to the rim, was fouled and made both to start the 7-0 surge that pushed the lead to 62-40. “Jameel did a great job of staying with the plan, and we ran some sets for him,” Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said. “But he also has to get his shot off of rebounds, and he did.”
Warney might look placid at times, but he always was active on defense, and he let the offensive part of the game come to him. It was another demonstration of his unusual poise for a young player.
“When they have three people on me, our team has enough talent to score without me,” Warney said. “Teams have to pick their poison.”
Warney’s game was the epitome of efficiency as he went 5-for-5 from the field. In fact, you could say that for the top four Seawolves forwards, including McAlister, Tommy Brenton and Scott King, who combined with Warney to make 11 of 12 shot attempts.
Describing what it’s like to play with Warney, the senior Brenton said, “It’s unbelievable. He has the best hands I’ve ever seen. I just throw it up, and he makes me look good.”
Warney looked plenty good in a big spot against archrival Vermont, and he’s only begun to scratch the surface at Stony Brook.