Geno Ford had a job for his 6-11 junior center, Jeff Otchere, on Monday night when Stony Brook met Manhattan at Island Federal Arena: Don’t let Pauly Paulicap go off like the 6-8 forward from Elmont did last season when he scored 24.
“Jeff was challenged, which happens,” Ford said. “Good players accept challenges and want challenges.”
Paulicap shot just 3-for-10 and finished with eight points. The Seawolves held the Jaspers to 28.8-percent shooting overall and received 16 points and nine rebounds from Andrew Garcia and 16 points from Elijah Olaniyi on the way to a 65-47 win.
“Maybe (Paulicap) was a little off, but I thought Jeff was excellent with positioning, not fouling, and being straight up and shot challenging,” Ford said. “I thought he was as elite as he’s been in any game.”
Otchere also contributed nine points and 10 rebounds for the Seawolves, who were playing their first game in the comfort of home in three weeks. They had won four of five elsewhere. So they have taken six of their last seven to improve to 6-3.
“We have five guys that are a little explosive offensively and Jeff has gotten himself going, had two straight basically double-doubles, and Jeff defensively triggers everything for us,” Ford said. “So if we can continue to have the chemistry that we’ve had and not get consumed with touches, shots, minutes, any of that stuff, this team can be really, really good.”
Otchere was averaging just 3.9 points over 39 games in his Stony Brook career that dates to last season before scoring nine in each of the last two.
“I feel like I’m getting my groove,” Otchere said.
The game was tied at 11. Garcia proceeded to hit a one-hander in the lane. A 12-1 run was in motion, giving the Seawolves a 23-12 lead.
The press-oriented Jaspers (3-3) went on a 6-0 run. Then Garcia went on a 6-0 run, making it an 11-point game again.
“Coach kind of brought me in at the beginning of the season and asked me my role,” said Garcia, a 6-5 redshirt junior forward, who was the America East Sixth Man of the Year last season and is now a starter. “I said, ‘Just to be everything: Defense, offense, rebound, steal’ — any (way) I could help the team.”
Paulicap, a senior who swatted away two shots to become the fifth Jaspers player with 100 career blocks, had a three-point play to chip it to 29-21.
But Stony Brook opened up the cushion to 37-22 at the intermission and led by 30 before Manhattan scored the final 12 points.