PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Just as the game seemed lost, Jaron Cornish was there to deliver the biggest play of his young Stony Brook basketball career.
With Rutgers leading by three, he intercepted an inbounds pass, quickly dribbled to the corner and hit a tying three-pointer with three seconds left in regulation as Stony Brook earned a 75-73 overtime victory over Rutgers and former SBU coach Steve Pikiell on Friday night.
“Just trying to be aggressive,” said the junior college transfer, who is in his first season at SBU. “Knowing we were down three, just trying to make a play, push the game into overtime.”
Cornish was at the forefront again in OT, recording an assist on the winning jump shot by Jakub Petras with two-tenths of a second left. “I saw the clock, I saw the man coming at me, so I pump-faked, took one dribble and saw wide-open space, so I just shot it,” said Petras, who was recruited out of Slovakia by Pikiell, his coach during his first two seasons at Stony Brook. “We shoot the shot every day almost hundreds of times, so I was hoping it was going in.”
The final basket didn’t come without some controversy, as Cornish received the benefit of a non-call on a potential traveling violation. “They didn’t call it,” he said. “I got it to Jakub and he made a good shot, so it is what it is.”
Said Pikiell, “Basketball is a cruel sport sometimes. Sometimes you get what you deserve. I want to give Stony Brook a lot of credit; they deserved to win and we didn’t. It’s a tough lesson. I was worried about this game . . . I know they’re good, and they were two points better today.”
Stony Brook (5-8) trailed 64-59 before Tyrell Sturdivant’s dunk with seven seconds remaining in regulation. That set up the tying shot by Cornish, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“That’s a big-time play on his part to come up with a steal and hit a corner three,” Stony Brook coach Jeff Boals said. “He definitely drove us tonight.”
“Jaron gave us another chance and Jake just sealed it,” said Akwasi Yeboah, who scored seven of Stony Brook’s 11 points in overtime and had 21 points and six assists. “That just gave me so much joy because we’ve been wanting a Power Five conference win, so that was just great.
“It just means we can play with anyone,” Yeboah said. “We know how good we are. We just need to fix the little things and I think the sky’s the limit for us.”
Deshawn Freeman scored 18 points to lead Rutgers (10-4).
Pikiell led the Seawolves to a 192-155 record in 11 seasons as Stony Brook’s coach, including a trip to the 2016 NCAA Tournament, before moving on to Rutgers and the Big Ten. Petras, a 6-11 forward, was one of four current players on the team that lost to Kentucky in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
Newsday takes you behind the scenes with the Stony Brook men's basketball team during their road trip to play the Michigan State Spartans in mid-November.