Al Rapier, left, had 12 points to help lead Stony...

Al Rapier, left, had 12 points to help lead Stony Brook over UMBC. (Dec. 28, 2011) Credit: Bob Mitchell

Over the past two seasons, Stony Brook has established a trend of playing well in big games only to be undermined by shooting droughts. A case in point was last season's America East final when the Seawolves were tied or ahead for all but the final two seconds before losing an NCAA berth.

For much of the second half against Cornell Wednesday night, it seemed the pattern was repeating, much to the consternation of a Pritchard Gymnasium sellout crowd of 1,630. A 20-point SBU lead late in the first half shrank to 15 at the break and then gradually eroded over the course of the second half until the Seawolves had to come from behind to force overtime on a Ron Bracey layup that tied the score at 51.

But after scoring only 16 points in the second half on 27.3-percent shooting, Stony Brook exploded for 17 points in overtime to pull away for a 68-59 victory over the Big Red of the Ivy League. The key seemed to be hanging tough and working at defense and rebounding until the ball started going in the basket again.

"Heart," Bracey said. "We stayed in there and went for it."

"I wasn't going to let my team lose this game," said forward Tommy Brenton, who played a huge role with 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and some tough defense on Cornell's Drew Ferry, who had 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting from three-point range, including the three with 1:17 left in regulation that gave the Big Red a short-lived 51-49 lead.

The box score looked just fine at the end for the Seawolves (4-6) with Bracey and Bryan Dougher each scoring 16 points and Dave Coley adding 10, including six in overtime. Stony Brook won the rebounding battle 40-32, and coach Steve Pikiell was pleased that guard Chris Wroblewski, who scored a career-high 29 in a win over the Seawolves last season, was held to five points. Cornell (4-7) came in with wins over three other America East teams and a four-point loss to No. 24 Illinois, so this was a quality win.

"Cornell is good," Pikiell said. "They have two guards who started for the Sweet 16 team [in 2010], and they almost beat Illinois. I was pleased with our defense. That was Cornell's low points in regulation this year."

Brenton left the game with his fourth foul with 6:57 left in regulation, but Pikiell brought him back just over a minute later when the going got tough. Ferry hit a couple big threes, but he missed his final shot in regulation and two more in OT when Brenton scored seven points.

"We don't lose at home," Brenton said. "We're trying to go undefeated at home."

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