In a way, this is all part of Steve Pikiell's plan this season. Sure, the Stony Brook coach would like to see his team win. For now, though, he believes there is a silver lining in taking some lumps against tough non-conference competition.
The latest one: a 79-61 loss to defending Big East champion Providence on Saturday in Rhode Island. Stony Brook (5-5) has dropped three straight. All three have been road games.
"I think we're going to be really good. But we've had a tough schedule and been on the road for what seems like a long time," Pikiell said. "I knew this schedule was going to challenge us, and the hope is, come conference play, our guys will be ready. I knew this year would be tough early."
Carson Puriefoy III had an outstanding game for the Seawolves, scoring 25 points and shooting 9-for-18 from the field, including 5-for-8 from three-point range.
"Tre was real good for us tonight," Pikiell said of Puriefoy, "and we need him to be that kind of player every night. He's really important, especially considering our youth. He did a great job of running this team."
Jameel Warney, who had eight double-doubles in the first nine games and fell a rebound short of recording a ninth, uncharacteristically struggled from the field. Warney, who entered the game shooting .556 from the field, went 4-for-17 and had eight points and 14 rebounds.
The Friars' height gave the 6-8, 255-pound Warney some trouble. Providence center Carson Desrosiers is 7 feet tall and backup Paschal Chukwu is 7-2.
"If you told me before the game that we'd get Jameel 17 shots, I would be very happy," Pikiell said. "It was an off night for him and they were physically huge."
LaDontae Henton led Providence (8-3) with 19 points. Roland Nyama had 12 for the Seawolves.
Puriefoy's two free throws capped a 9-0 run that put Stony Brook ahead 39-38 with 16:44 left, but the Friars responded with an 11-2 run. Puriefoy's three-pointer cut the deficit to 49-44, but Providence came back with a 10-1 run that grew to 22-4, taking a 71-48 lead with 7:08 left.
"I thought for 27 minutes we played great and hung tough with the defending Big East champs," Pikiell said. "It's been a tough grind for some of our young guys. One thing we are learning with our six freshmen is how to win on the road, and I think when the conference games start, we will be well-seasoned."
---- WILL SAMMON
SBU women win at buzzer. Kori Bayne-Walker drove for a layup as time expired to give Stony Brook a 50-48 women's basketball win over Morgan State yesterday in Baltimore.
Brittany Snow led Stony Brook (4-5) with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Jessica Ogunnorin had seven points and 17 rebounds and Bayne-Walker had 10 points and six assists. Braennan Farrar led Morgan State (2-8) with 21 points.Bayne-Walker's game-winner wasn't the first buzzer-beater of the day for the Seawolves. Miranda Jenkins banked in a running three-pointer as time expired in the first half to give SBU a 31-25 lead.