Stony Brook and Cornell have become unlikely men's basketball hotbeds in recent weeks, as the Seawolves hosted Illinois in the first round of the NIT, and Thursday the Big Red faces Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
But last night, with the onset of spring slowly approaching, the schools' usual athletic forte, men's lacrosse, earned top billing.
Like on the hardwood, Cornell outshone Stony Brook, as the No. 9 Big Red earned a 12-9 win over the No. 17 Seawolves through a steady drizzle at LaValle Stadium.
Stony Brook (4-3), which hadn't faced Cornell since 2004, has lost two straight at home after a three-game winning streak. "Gotta give Cornell credit, they beat us up pretty good," Seawolves coach Rick Sowell said. "Offensively, we're scuffling a little bit."
Stony Brook, which had a 17-8 advantage in faceoffs, was held scoreless for a stretch of 20:24 as Cornell went on a 6-0 run, capped by Ryan Hurley's fourth of a game-high five goals to take a 10-5 lead.
Kevin Crowley's second of four goals gave the Seawolves a 5-4 lead with 1:23 left in the first half. But it took them until there was 10:59 left in the game to score again as Timmy Trenkle tallied on an assist from Robbie Campbell.
"The way I look at it is, I had some shots I should have stuck," Crowley said. "We've got to do a better job of burying opportunities as they come."
Hurley (five goals, two assists) and Rob Pannell (Smithtown West) each had seven points for Cornell (6-1). Pannell, a sophomore, had a goal and career-high six assists.
"My teammates finishing the ball for me was what allowed me to have a good day," Pannell said, before adding, "It's always great coming back to Long Island. So many people from Smithtown follow our team, and a ton of those people were here."
The Big Red opened the game with three straight goals, all assisted by Pannell. But the Seawolves came back with four straight goals, taking a one-goal lead on Crowley's score with 3:51 to play in the first quarter on an assist from Tom Compitello.
Cornell answered with the second Pannell-to-Hurley hookup on a man advantage to tie it 2:22 into the second quarter, and Pannell assisted Roy Lang to tie it at 5 with 5.5 seconds left in the half. Cornell would never trail again.
Said Sowell: "Losing is never any fun."