It was a rout at exactly the right time. Riding a three-game losing streak and with America East Conference play beginning this weekend, the Stony Brook men’s basketball team needed a win. Point Park, an NAIA opponent from Pittsburgh, was more than happy to oblige Tuesday afternoon, as host Stony Brook cruised to an 83-39 victory at Island Federal Arena.
Juan Felix Rodriguez and Omar Habwe both scored 12 points to lead Stony Brook (2-4). Jaden Sayles added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Mo Gueye had eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and four steals.
The 44-point margin of victory was the largest for Stony Brook since early last season, when it beat Farmingdale State by 47.
"Today’s game really gave us the sense of what our identity is and what we need to get done," Sayles said. "It really gave us a lot of momentum going into conference play. The games before, we came out and struggled. Today we came out, first four minutes, we went right at them. That’s what we said we wanted to do, and we really just polished a few things. I feel like we’re really coming together."
Stony Brook shot 50.8% from the field, 41.2% from three-point range, and made 14 of 19 free throws.
"I think today was good because we got to get a little confidence and feel good about ourselves," coach Geno Ford said. "We’ve played a hard schedule. We’ve played good teams on the road. We haven’t won those games. So, what happens is, guys start to get a little down. That’s human nature, right? You can only get beat so much and still feel good."
The Seawolves were feeling good almost immediately. They began the game on a 7-0 run. Point Park began to crawl back slightly, cutting the lead to 12-8 with 11:52 left in the first half.
But it was only a passing flurry. Stony Brook opened up a 26-10 lead with 6:46 left in the first after a three from Habwe. Forty seconds later, Felix Rodriguez’s jumper pushed the lead to 28-10. Stony Brook closed the first half with a 21-7 run and outscored Point Park 43-22 in the second half.
Now, Stony Brook will embark on a different kind of conference schedule — one that sees back-to-back games against the same opponent each weekend. They’ll play Binghamton in upstate Vestal this Saturday and Sunday to open up the most recent oddity of a season impacted by COVID-19 protocols.
"I don’t know what to expect in these back-to-back games," Ford said. "You’ve kind of got to go in and have a game plan for Saturday, and I don’t know how many changes you can make for Sunday. You can make a couple subtle ones, but it’s going to be hard to beat anyone two days in a row. You’re going to really have to play well."