Anthony Roberts certainly made his Stony Brook home debut as memorable as possible on Monday night.
With the score tied in the final seconds against Sacred Heart, guard Jahlil Jenkins found backcourt mate Roberts open on the right wing.
Roberts pulled up without hesitation from about three feet beyond the three-point line and sank the buzzer-beater to give Stony Brook an exhilarating 75-72 non-conference victory — its first win of the season.
"I kept telling Jahlil, because the play was originally for him, ‘If you don’t have it, I’m going to hit it,’ " Roberts said. "I even told the whole bench before I got it that if it comes to me, it’s going up and it’s going in."
It was a moment well worth the wait for the home crowd, as for the first time in quite a long time, Island Federal Arena hosted fans.
After fans were prohibited from attending home games last season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stony Brook reopened its doors to spectators for the first time in 622 days. It was the first of what will be a program-record 17 home games this season.
Roberts, who transferred to Stony Brook from St. Bonaventure this past spring, finished with 15 points. Jenkins added 14 and knocked down a contested step-back three-pointer from the left wing with 43.8 seconds remaining to tie the score at 72.
A missed runner by Sacred Heart’s Aaron Clarke then gave Stony Brook possession with 21.6 seconds left after video review.
Stony Brook (1-2) trailed 71-62 with 4:32 remaining before mounting the late comeback.
Elijah Olaniyi, who spent his first three seasons with the Seawolves before transferring to the University of Miami last season, returned to Stony Brook for his final year and had 12 points before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury with seven minutes to go.
Tykei Greene and Frankie Policelli each chipped in 11 points for the Seawolves.
The two sides traded the lead throughout the bulk of the first half before a 12-4 run in the final few minutes gave Stony Brook a 42-36 advantage entering halftime.
Trailing 32-30 after a jumper by Clarke at the 3:33 mark, the Seawolves put together their best stretch of the opening 20 minutes with a 10-0 spurt in the next two minutes. It was capped by an emphatic dunk by Greene in transition that put Stony Brook ahead 40-32.
Greene and Olaniyi led Stony Brook in first-half scoring with eight points apiece. Eleven turnovers forced by the Seawolves in the opening half played a key role in their ability to get out in transition and build an early lead.
Stony Brook will visit Fairfield on Wednesday at 2 p.m.