Stony Brook looked like two different teams Thursday night, struggling to do much of anything on offense in the first half before springing to life in the second.
The lone constant was Akwasi Yeboah, who was a force for the Seawolves throughout the game.
Yeboah had 30 points and eight rebounds to lead visiting Stony Brook to a 76-66 win over Columbia in a non-conference men’s basketball game. The sophomore had 17 of the Seawolves’ 31 points in the first half and helped spur their second-half comeback.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” coach Jeff Boals said of Yeboah, who was 9-for-12 from the field and 11-for-11 from the free-throw line. “He was very poised and he finished layups, which we had not been doing. We knew going in that we had an advantage with him inside.”
Trailing 41-31, Stony Brook (4-6) began the second half with an 8-0 run, thanks in part to Yeboah, who made two shots at the rim during the spurt. Elijah Olaniyi hit a contested layup with 14:52 left to put Stony Brook ahead 46-45, giving SBU its first lead of the game.
“In the first half, they were the aggressor and dictated tempo on both ends of the floor,” Boals said. “We said, ‘In the second half, we have to be the aggressor.’ ”
Some of that aggressiveness was supplied by the guards, who attacked the rim more frequently in the second half. Jaron Cornish scored all 11 of his points and Olaniyi had six of his eight after halftime.
Columbia (1-8) went ahead 50-48 on a three-pointer by Gabe Stefanini with 11:12 left before Jakub Petras and Cornish made buckets inside on consecutive possessions to give the Seawolves a lead they would not relinquish.
Stony Brook shot just 32.1 percent from the field in the first half but improved to 55.2 percent in the second.
Columbia’s offense was almost wholly reliant on three-point shooting in the first half. The Lions started 9-for-15 from beyond the arc but were just 4-for-10 on two-point attempts with 11 turnovers and two offensive rebounds.
This caught up to the Lions in the second half, as they were only 2-for-12 on three-pointers and continued to struggle in the other areas.
“We were a lot more active defensively and it made it more difficult for them,” Boals said. “We needed to get a road win, our first of the year. We knew coming in Columbia was going to have a sense of urgency to get a win, just like we needed to. They had that urgency in the first half, we had it in the second.”