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Elijah Olaniyi hits milestone in Stony Brook men's basketball victory over Albany

Stony Brook forward Elijah Olaniyi reacts after hitting

Stony Brook forward Elijah Olaniyi reacts after hitting the three point shot against Albany, Saturday, January 18, 2020 at Island FCU Arena. Credit: George A. Faella

Elijah Olaniyi slashed into the lane, put up the shot and had 1,000 reasons to feel pride.

It was 7:09 into the first half Saturday night at Island Federal Arena, and he had just become the 27th member of Stony Brook’s 1,000-point club and the 10th in its Division I run, which began in 1999-2000.

Better yet for Olaniyi, the milestone came during a 70-62 win over rival Albany that allowed them to jump over the Great Danes and into first place in the America East Conference.

The junior guard out of Newark East Side High played a starring role, posting his fourth straight double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

“The 1,000 actually meant a lot because I didn’t score a thousand in high school,” Olaniyi said. “It shows not only other people, but it’s sort of gratifying that all my hard work is paying off, being able to score a thousand in college. To beat Albany, that’s even better.”

Said coach Geno Ford, “The thing with Elijah is he’s so much improved over a year ago.”

Andrew Garcia also scored 20 points for the Seawolves.

Ahmad Clark had 21 points and seven assists for the Great Danes (10-9, 3-1), whose winning streak was snapped at four games.

Stony Brook is 13-7 overall and 4-1 in the conference, a half-game better than Albany, defending champion Vermont and Hartford.

“I think Vermont is the best team in the league,” Albany coach Will Brown said. “I think Stony Brook is right there. They’ve already been up there and won.”

With the Seawolves clinging to a three-point edge at halftime, Garcia and Miles Latimer hit from beyond the arc, and the lead was up to 36-27 before a minute and a half had passed in the second half.

The lead swelled to 40-30, but Albany hung in, getting the margin down to six a couple of times before Stony Brook pushed it back to 13.

The margin reached five three times, and Jeff Otchere responded the third time with a three-point play. With Albany down six, Olaniyi made a layup and a three-pointer from the left corner, and it was 54-43 with 8:06 left.

Albany got within six again, but Garcia buried a three from the right wing to make it 59-50. The spread eventually reached 13.

Stony Brook shot 64% in the second half and had eight of its 11 assists. The Seawolves held the Great Danes to 37.3% shooting and forced 16 turnovers.

“I liked our offense in the second half,” Ford said. “I thought our defense was solid throughout.”

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