Stony Brook is heading the wrong way at the wrong time in its first season of CAA play.
The Seawolves had dropped two straight and six of seven, and now Monmouth, another CAA newcomer and a team that arrived riding a three-game win streak after a 1-20 start, was at Island Federal Arena. The Seawolves won the first meeting by 11 in New Jersey on Jan. 5.
Wednesday night’s rematch wasn’t going well for Stony Brook. Then the team cut an 11-point second-half deficit to one. But Monmouth emerged with a 61-54 win.
So Stony Brook, which shot just 30.9% and committed 19 turnovers leading to 28 points, fell to 8-17 overall and 4-8 in the race for CAA Tournament seeding with six games left in the regular season.
“I think you’re concerned because of how we’re playing,” coach Geno Ford said.
Tyler Stephenson-Moore, the Seawolves’ leading scorer for the season, returned after missing three games because of a hip injury and topped them with 17.
“He’s the heart and soul of the team,” Ford said. “ . . . He gave us a chance to win.”
The Hawks (5-20, 4-8) led 45-34 and then 49-40 when Stephenson-Moore fueled a comeback, nailing a jumper and a three from the right side. Frankie Policelli then came up with a steal and converted it into a layup, cutting the deficit to two.
Monmouth’s Tahron Allen, who had a game-high 22 points, hit from in close to make it 51-47. Stony Brook’s Kaine Roberts cut it to one with a three. But Allen made a one-hander in the lane and a jumper — 55-50.
Roberts canned another three to get it down to two. Klemen Vega hit one of two free throws for a three-point Hawks lead.
Then Myles Ruth stole the ball from Policelli and was fouled by Roberts with 31 seconds remaining. Ruth made two free throws for a 58-53 lead. Stony Brook couldn’t get any closer.
“They really bothered us with their trap and running around and disrupting our offensive rhythm and flow,” Ford said. “Quite frankly, it’s one of the poorest pass, dribble, catch games I’ve ever seen in my life.”