Jaden Sayles of the Stony Brook Seawolves dunks the ball in...

Jaden Sayles of the Stony Brook Seawolves dunks the ball in the second half against the Fairfield Stags at Island Federal Arena on Dec. 4, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The three-point shot is often referred to as the great equalizer in basketball. On Saturday, it was the great destroyer for the Seawolves.

Stony Brook struggled mightily from beyond the arc in its 74-65 loss to host NJIT in America East men’s basketball action at the Wellness and Events Center in Newark, New Jersey Saturday afternoon.

The Seawolves made just 3 of 20 attempts (15 percent) from beyond the arc. NJIT hit 9 of 22 three-point attempts, shooting 40.9 percent from deep.

"I honestly feel that was the whole game," Stony Brook coach Geno Ford said. "That’s both teams taking the same number of shots and they scored 18 more points."

Zach Cooks had 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc, to lead NJIT.

Jaden Sayles was the lone bright spot for the Seawolves, which have dropped their last three contests. The forward had a career-high 32 points on 14-for-21 shooting and seven rebounds as Stony Brook fell to 6-7 overall, 4-3 in the America East.

"I thought Jaden Sayles was terrific offensively, that’s pretty obvious," Ford said. "I don’t really think anybody else had a good offensive game and we continue to have some defensive challenges. It’s personnel related and we’re trying to figure it out. We are going to have to come up with some better ideas because what we are doing right now is not working."

Ford said he felt Stony Brook had problems staying in front of the ball and reacted slow on ball screens, leading to open three-pointers and favorable matchups near the rim for NJIT (5-6, 4-5).

"We are going to have to figure it out or we are going to have to look at some lineup changes," Ford said, "because you can’t win games if you can’t get stops and we just can’t seem to get them the last three ball games -- or get enough of them."

Stony Brook ranks last in the America East with 5.8 made three-pointers a game. Frankie Policelli, who ranks fourth in the America East in three-pointers made with 26, was held to 1-of-9 shooting, including 0 for 5 from beyond the arc. He has made two of his last 18 attempts from deep over the last four contests.

"I’m not worried about can he make shots, I know he can make shots," Ford said. "He’s just unfortunately been in a rut where he hasn’t been able to knock them in."

The Seawolves play at NJIT again Sunday at 2 p.m.

"Hopefully we can get a hot hand tomorrow," Ford said. "It’s not like there’s a big adjustment for that. Hey, make an open shot, that’s the adjustment, but we’ve got to do it."

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