You have to go back more than three years -- a span of exactly 1,100 days -- to find the last time Stony Brook had lost an America East home game. Lowly New Hampshire didn't seem likely to snap the Seawolves' 23-game home winning streak in the conference, but the Wildcats made 14 of 30 three-pointers Saturday to pull off a 73-69 upset.
The first conference home defeat since a 62-49 loss to Boston University on Feb. 4, 2011, knocked Stony Brook (17-8, 9-2) out of a first-place tie with Vermont (9-1).
Five players made three-pointers for the Wildcats (6-17, 4-6 America East). Seven of their last nine field goals came from beyond the arc, and they scored on six of their last eight possessions, starting with a three-pointer by Daniel Dion that tied the score at 60 with 4:29 left.
The Seawolves were tied for first in the league in three-point defense, holding opponents to 31.7 percent shooting, but UNH hit seven in each half. Jordon Bronner (16 points) and Dion (13) each made four and Jaleen Smith (14) hit three. The Wildcats were so effective spreading the floor that it created room inside for 6-10, 250-pound Chris Pelcher (15 points, 11 rebounds).
"We tried to 'D' them up, but it's tough when they're hitting from all over the court,'' said Carson Puriefoy, who returned after a three-game absence because of a groin injury and led Stony Brook with 18 points off the bench. "We tried our best, but they were just hot. They deserved to win.''
Anthony Jackson scored 12 points and post man Jameel Warney had 11 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high four assists for Stony Brook. But he struggled trying to cover Pelcher, who hit a hook in the lane for a 68-67 New Hampshire lead with 41 seconds left.
"He's very skilled and has a great right hook," Warney said of Pelcher. "He was physical with me, and he was a big reason why they won.''
Puriefoy responded with a layup that put the Seawolves back in front, but Dion buried a left-wing three with 14.4 seconds left. It marked the seventh lead change in the final 3:22 and put the Wildcats in front for good at 71-69.
Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell called a play for Puriefoy to come off a pick on the right side and "go 1,000 miles per hour right to the rim.'' But he was met by a double-team, and Pelcher not only blocked the shot but tied up the ball, forcing a turnover because the possession arrow pointed to UNH.
"It ended up there was nowhere for me to go,'' Puriefoy said. "I was stuck. They made a good defensive play.''
After a quick foul, Bronner hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left to clinch it.
Warney suggested that the loss might teach the Seawolves a lesson about the toughness required to earn an NCAA bid. "We need to come into every game knowing we're going to get everybody's best punches,'' he said. "We have to fight back and play like the team we're supposed to be.''