Just a word of apology from Jameel Warney to the Stony Brook fans about the spill he took with 14:46 left and the score tied against tough Northeastern Wednesday night at Pritchard Gym: "I'm sorry for scaring the crowd."
Play came to a screeching halt, and the crowd went dead silent as Warney writhed and clutched at his right knee. If there had been a collective thought bubble hovering over the court, it would have said, "No, not him."
There was applause when Warney got up and walked off the court followed by relief when he returned to play 56 seconds later. That gave way to appreciation for a tremendous effort by Warney at both ends of the floor as he led a hard-nosed 73-66 victory over the Huskies with inspired play down the stretch.
"I felt like I wasn't going to sit out no matter how much it hurt," Warney said. "It was a hard spill, but I had a lot of adrenaline."
The Seawolves (3-0) all had to play at their best against the Huskies (0-2), who cut an 11-point SBU lead to 51-50 with 7:30 left. NU forward Scott Eatherton, who scored 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting and had 13 rebounds, had a chance to tie the game but missed a foul shot.
Then Anthony Jackson, who led the Seawolves with 17 points and four assists, buried a 19-foot jumper to start a 7-0 surge that ended with a three from Scott King for a 58-50 lead. "I was looking to throw it in to the big fella," Jackson said of Warney, "but then, I saw an opening and took the shot. No hesitation."
An Eatherton layup cut the deficit to 60-55, but then Warney shut down the Huskies. On the next three possessions, Warney blocked one shot, stole the ball and then blocked an Eatherton attempt that went to Carson Puriefoy, who streaked the other way for a layup that gave SBU a 62-55 lead.
Warney finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, Dave Coley added 11 points and Puriefoy totaled 11. The Huskies also got 18 and eight rebounds from Reggie Spencer and 13 points from David Walker.
Describing his game-turning defensive effort in the second half, Warney said, "It's a different side of me this year. I wasn't playing really good on offense. I decided I owed the team to play good defense and be active. My chances came, and I took them."
Notes & quotes:Stony Brook announced three players signed a national letter of intent for the 2014-15 season, including 6-8 PF Tyrell Sturdivant of Newark, Del., who currently is playing for Chester, Pa. High School; 6-1 PG Deshaun Thrower of Muskegon, Mich., who also was recruited as a quarterback, and 6-5 SF Bryan Sekunda of State College, Pa.