Akwasi Yeboah stepped forward with the game on the line and his feet behind the three-point line. Stony Brook was down one against LIU Brooklyn with just under a minute left, but he nailed the shot that gave him his 1,000th career point and the Seawolves the lead for good.
Stony Brook rebounded in more ways than one after Saturday's loss at Brown, rallying from 12 down with 10 minutes remaining to win, 83-79, Wednesday night at Island Federal Arena.
“We use an ‘E’ plus ‘R’ equals ‘O’ equation,” coach Jeff Boals said. “ ‘E’ is the event. ‘R’ is the response to the event. And ‘O’ is the outcome. We went up to Brown, missed our free throws, got outrebounded by 15. So we really talked about responding to that loss. To be here at home is a big reason why we won the game. But our guys responded.”
They made big shots and finished with a 38-24 edge on the boards. So this America East team is 9-2, the best 11-game start in its 20-year D-I run and best overall since 1992-93.
“They’ve established themselves as one of the top teams in this conference pretty quickly, with a great home-court advantage,” Blackbirds coach Derek Kellogg said.
Yeboah, the redshirt junior guard/forward, scored 19 of his 24 in the second half. Freshman guard Miles Latimer added a career-high 18, and sophomore guard Elijah Olaniyi had 14. Senior guard/forward Raiquan Clark and junior guard Jashaun Agosto scored 19 apiece for LIU Brooklyn (5-5). Clark posted his 1,000th point, just like Yeboah.
“It’s just a product of hard work, really,” Yeboah said. “It’s a great achievement.”
It was 67-55 LIU Brooklyn at the midpoint of the second half and 75-65 with 5:53 left. Stony Brook got it down to 75-71 on a Latimer dunk. Then Yeboah drilled a three.
Olaniyi drove to give the Seawolves the lead at 76-75. But Clark made a layup to put the Blackbirds back up with 1:35 remaining. Both sides came up empty on their next possession. Then Yeboah hit his three from straightaway for a 79-77 advantage with 54 seconds left.
“He means everything [to us],” Boals said. “He doesn’t shy away from the big moment.”
Jordan McKenzie made two free throws with 21.7 seconds left for a four-point edge. Julius van Sauers got it down to 81-79. But Yeboah countered with a dunk, and that was it.
“In the timeout we had for the second-to-last media timeout, it was seven minutes and one second left,” Latimer said. “Coach Boals said, ‘Minus 10 with seven minutes to go. Let’s go out and get this win.’ I just feel like that really started it all out.”