Freshman Jameel Warney only had eight points in Stony Brook’s 50-44 win over Manhattan Tuesday afternoon at Draddy Gym, but when the Seawolves absolutely had to have it, Warney’s inside presence led to consecutive layups for a 45-40 lead with 2:01 left to play.
That was the decisive sequence and undoubtedly is the sort of thing Seawolves fans are hoping to see when America East play begins with a home game against New Hampshire on Saturday. Last Friday in Newark, Pikiell tried to go inside to Warney with 17 seconds left in what became a 60-59 loss to Seton Hall, but the ball was hacked out of the freshman’s hands before he could shoot.
This time, though, Stony Brook executed perfectly in the clutch. “He’s seen everything, 7-1 guys to the 300-pounder at Seton Hall,” Pikiell said of his prize freshman. “I’m excited moving forward into league play because there’s nothing he hasn’t seen. He keeps getting better and learning from film. This is the first game he’s been in foul trouble. Jameel did a great job in the second half staying on the floor.”
Warney played only eight first-half minutes after picking up two fouls, but even though he was eager to get back in the mix in the second half, he didn’t force things. Warney is very conscious of playing within the offense and taking good shots. On a day when Stony Brook shot only 34.1 percent from the field against the Jaspers, Warney made 4 of 8 shots and added six rebounds and two blocks.
“We improve every day feeding the post,” Warney said. “If the jump shots aren’t falling, we throw it into the post. I know the time will come for me to be a go-to guy, but it’s good for me to feed off the upperclassmen and feed off Tommy [Brenton] because he’s a really good passer and also A.J. and Dave [guards Jackson and Coley].”
Warney’s eight shot attempts actually led Stony Brook’s balanced attack against Manhattan, but as the freshman matures, the temptation will be to run more of the offense through him in conference play. “More shots for me will come,” Warney said. “We’re doing more plays for me. The same with [center Anthony] Mayo, too. If we throw it down low, it will open up a lot of things.”