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Modified America East basketball schedule will present challenges for Stony Brook

Stony Brook head coach Geno Ford reacts to

Stony Brook head coach Geno Ford reacts to the action during the second half at Stony Brook University's Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Feb. 1, 2020. Credit: Daniel De Mato

The Stony Brook men’s basketball program got a tough draw on Monday when the America East Conference unveiled the league’s modified schedule for competition during the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference membership — now at 10 programs with the addition of NJIT — will still play every other team twice for a total of 18 regular-season conference games in both men’s and women’s basketball. However, to do so and minimize health and safety risks associated with travel, teams will play both games at one site on consecutive days.

The Seawolves, 20-13 last season, will play twice at Vermont and twice at Albany; the Catamounts and Great Danes have won six of the past eight America East men’s basketball championships. Stony Brook also plays five back-to-back contests on the road and only four at home.

"We acknowledge this will be a unique season with many variables both within and outside of our control but believe this format along with our health and safety protocols will best position each institution and the conference for basketball competition," America East commissioner Amy Huchthausen said in a statement. "By prioritizing conference play, reducing travel and preserving flexibility, this schedule will give us the best opportunity to successfully navigate this season in the safest way possible."

The Seawolves’ non-conference schedule is not finalized but it will include games against Marist and Hofstra; the Marist matchup could be the season opener on Nov. 25.

The Stony Brook women’s basketball program, which was the regular-season champion last year after going 28-3 and 14-2 in conference play before the conference tournament was canceled because of the pandemic, has a more favorable schedule. It will be at home to play back-to-backs against Albany, Maine and Vermont; that trio has won the last 11 America East conference tournament titles.

The Seawolves expect to open their season on Nov. 25, likely at home against Fordham.

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