There were Seawolves actually seen dancing in a classroom at Vermont on Wednesday night, celebrating after a statement win over the defending America East Conference champion.
But it was only the second game of Stony Brook’s conference schedule. So the Seawolves needed to avoid a letdown for the next one, Saturday night’s America East home opener against New Hampshire at Island Federal Arena.
No problem there. They scored the first nine points of the first half and the first 11 points of the second and crushed the Wildcats, 73-48, for their fifth straight win.
Makale Foreman nailed four three-pointers and scored 23 points, tying his season high, and Elijah Olaniyi marked his 21st birthday by scoring 18 of his 22 in the second half and grabbing 11 rebounds. And the defense held UNH to 23.9% shooting and forced 19 turnovers.
So much for a letdown.
“I was as concerned as you can be,” coach Geno Ford said. “I think it’s human nature . . . I think that we as a group not only handled the win but the travel very well. That was a long trip [to Maine and Vermont]. That was six days.”
So Stony Brook is 12-6 overall and off to a 3-0 start in America East play for the second straight season. This also marks the first time since the Seawolves went D-I in 1999-2000 that they have claimed five straight victories at home by at least 14 points.
“I think we’re letting people know when you come into Island Federal Arena, you’re going to get a good fight,” Foreman said.
The Seawolves led by eight at the break after struggling some with the physicality of UNH (8-8, 1-2). Then Olaniyi took charge.
The junior guard hit two free throws, a layup, a driving bank shot and a three-pointer for his own 9-0 run to start the second half, giving Stony Brook command at 40-23. Foreman’s basket made it a 19-point lead.
Olaniyi erupted for 14 points in the first 5:12. When he hit a three-pointer from the right side, it was 49-28.
“Just coming out aggressive, asserting myself,” Olaniyi said of the difference after his four-point first half. “I told the guys, ‘My bad. I’m going to bring it this half.’ ”
Earlier, Foreman hit a three-pointer to open a 24-15 lead and another to make it a 29-20 game.
The redshirt junior guard is averaging five three-pointers and 21 points in the last five games.
“I’ve just got to really give credit to [Ford] because he just gives me confidence to go out there and let me play my game,” Foreman said. “I give credit to my teammates, too, because they’re out there finding me.”