The game clock read zero and the backboards glowed red, but Stony Brook refused to leave the court. Coach Steve Pikiell yelled at the referees to add more time to the clock, knowing his Seawolves needed just a few more seconds to get a good shot. Fractions of a second, though, were all his players got - 0.4, to be exact. It wasn't enough.
Danny Carter's inbounds pass from beyond the midcourt line fell just short of teammate Al Rapier, who was underneath the basket, as time expired, resulting in a 73-72 victory for host Columbia Saturday.
Carter and Bryan Dougher each scored 13 points and Rapier had 10 points and five assists for the Seawolves (3-4), who dropped their third straight.
The young Seawolves were forced to play without Chris Martin, who was suspended Friday for violating team rules, and Dallis Joyner, who has been nursing a sore right ankle all season. Nonetheless, they were 15-for-27 (55.6 percent) from the field in the first half and finished the game 27-for-55 (49.1 percent).
"Today's definitely the hottest we've shot," Carter said. "That's not what we do; we're a defensive team, we stop people. We're blue- collar, we work hard on every possession, and I think we did that. If we shoot like that, we're going to be very good."
The outcome should never have come down to time left on the clock, given Stony Brook's 18-point lead in the first half. But the Seawolves, who were 4-for-7 from downtown in the first half and 4-for-13 the rest of the way, were forced to play catch-up after Lions guard Steve Frankoski continued to torch them from behind the arc.
He scored 12 of his career-high 21 points in the second half and hit three of his seven three-pointers in a two-minute span to turn a 65-61 Stony Brook lead into a five-point Columbia advantage with 3:46 left.
"At some point, we're going to have a scoring drought," Pikiell said. "One of our characteristics is: a drought's coming. We just don't quite know when it's coming."
The Lions (4-4) extended their lead to seven on a pair of free throws, but the Seawolves responded with a three by Dougher and a conventional three-point play from Rapier, which pulled them to within 72-71 with 59.2 seconds left. Dougher missed an off-balance jumper on the Seawolves' next possession, but Marcus Rouse stole the rebound from the Lions and Rapier was fouled going to the basket with 23 seconds remaining. He hit his first foul shot, tying the score at 72, but missed the second.
Anthony Mayo blocked Brian Barbour on the Lions' final possession, but John Daniels was fouled by Carter as he went up for the offensive rebound with 2.7 seconds left. His free throw broke the tie.
Carter rebounded Daniels' miss on the second shot. The Seawolves looked to put the ball in Dougher's hands, but Barbour deflected Carter's inbounds pass out of bounds just before the buzzer.
Levien Gymnasium doesn't have replay, Pikiell said, so the referees and scoreboard operator determined 0.4 seconds should be put back on the clock.