When Stony Brook visited UMass Lowell eight days ago, the temperature inside the Tsongas Center had junior guard Elijah Olaniyi off his game.
He tallied only 13 points, his fourth-lowest output of the game, in an 84-76 win.
“UMass Lowell plays in like an ice hockey rink,” Olaniyi said. “I just never felt warm during the game.”
Wednesday, back at home in a gym that featured warm conditions much more to his liking, Olaniyi responded by torching the River Hawks in a record-setting performance.
Olaniyi scored a career-high 33 points to power Stony Brook to a 77-70 win over UMass Lowell at Island Federal Arena in Stony Brook. Olaniyi topped his previous mark of 30 set on Dec. 7, 2019 against Brown while also contributing 10 rebounds to tally his fifth double-double in his last eight games.
Stony Brook (16-8, 7-2 America East) freshman guard Tyler Stephenson-Moore from Port Washington scored 10 points to register his first double-digit scoring effort of his career.
“Back on my home floor, got back to my routine,” Olaniyi said. “I was able to have a good game.”
Olaniyi is Stony Brook’s leading scorer and has been on a tear lately aside from his off night at UMass Lowell. He shot just five of 16 that game while hitting just one of seven three-point attempts. The junior guard from Newark N.J., had it all working on this night, filling up the scoresheet in a variety of ways. He hit 11 of 20 shots, including three of four from three-point range.
He tallied his most important basket with 6:38 remaining when he drained a three-pointer with a defender in his face to give Stony Brook a 56-52 edge.
Olaniyi set his new career-high with a floater with 3:55 left that put Stony Brook ahead, 66-58, and he has scored at least 20 points in seven of his last eight games.
“I thought [Olaniyi] got to the rim,” Stony Brook coach Geno Ford said. “We tried to change offensively what we had done. We went to more dribble-drive tonight than we typically do.”
A strong offensive first half by Olaniyi allowed Stony Brook to take a 34-30 lead into the intermission.
Olaniyi scored 17 points in the first 20 minutes, including seven during an 11-0 run by the Seawolves that turned a three-point deficit into a 32-24 edge with 1:25 left in the half.
The two teams exchanged the lead in the second half before Stony Brook dominated the final eight minutes to stay one game behind Vermont for the conference lead.
The Seawolves won despite being without sophomore guard Miles Latimer, who has the flu.
“I came into the game with the mindset to be more assertive in the first half,” Olaniyi said. “Last couple of games haven’t gotten off to a good start, so getting off to a good start was the most important thing.”