Stony Brook stumbles early, trounced by Elon
The CAA schedule has been lined with tall obstacles for the newcomers from Stony Brook to try to navigate past. It’s that kind of basketball league. But the Seawolves had a home game Thursday night that didn’t appear to be that tall of a task.
The Elon Phoenix hadn’t yet risen after a down 2021-22 season and a coaching change. The North Carolina team had taken some injury hits and dropped all 10 of its road games and 19 of 22 overall, although it won its previous game to snap an 11-game skid.
Stony Brook also won its previous game to snap a four-game skid, and the Seawolves did it without Tyler Stephenson-Moore. Their leading scorer sat again because of a hip injury, but this game turned into another tall task. Elon took an 18-point lead before nine minutes had passed and went on to win, 69-55, at Island Federal Arena.
Only a closing 7-0 run made the final score respectable. The Seawolves (8-15, 4-6) trailed 46-22 at halftime after shooting just 27.6%.
“We played so poorly in the first half, I don’t know who we could have beaten,” coach Geno Ford said. “That’s the disappointing part. I’m glad we didn’t play a non-Division I tonight because we would’ve been down 20 at the half.
“ . . . Tyler not being out there hurts, but we’ve got enough talent out there to win this game.”
Elon (4-19, 2-8) had started showing some good signs recently. “It still hurts to lose,” coach Billy Taylor said. “The thing that we saw as a coaching staff was we saw progress, but they weren’t getting results yet.”
Finally, results. Two straight games of results.
Jerald Gillens-Butler nailed two three-pointers and scored eight of his 19 in a 15-0 Phoenix burst that made it 17-2.
“We came out flat,” said Frankie Policelli, who had 13 points for Stony Brook, right behind Toby Onyekonwu’s 14.
Max Mackinnon soon drained a three-pointer from up top — 22-4.
“I wasn’t that stunned,” Ford said. “We were terrible in practice on Tuesday and we were terrible in practice on Wednesday.”
The deficit hit 27 in the second half.
Now the Seawolves will try to rebound Saturday at Hofstra.
“We’re going to do everything we can to be ready to roll and turn the page,” grad center Keenan Fitzmorris said, “because it definitely wasn’t how we wanted to play tonight.”