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Up 18 at halftime, Stony Brook falls to South Florida in CBI opener

Stony Brook guard Jaron Cornish moves the ball

Stony Brook guard Jaron Cornish moves the ball into the Albany zone in the first half, Thursday, February 21, 2019 at Island Federal Arena Photo Credit: George A. Faella

Stony Brook’s season came to an end Wednesday night after a disastrous second half in its College Basketball Invitational opener.

The Seawolves fell, 82-79, in overtime at South Florida after squandering an 18-point halftime lead. Despite the second-half run from the hosts, Stony Brook still had a chance to win after Anthony Ochefu made a pair of free throws with 1:17 left to put the Seawolves ahead 66-64. But David Collins made a layup 18 seconds later to tie the score and force overtime.

South Florida (20-13) led for almost the entire overtime, starting the period on a 9-1 run. It will face Utah Valley in the second round of the tournament, one of four postseason competitions in Division I men’s basketball.

Early on, the prospects of overtime seemed unlikely, as Stony Brook led 48-23 with 1:59 left in the first half and took a 48-30 lead into the break. The Seawolves’ offense cooled off in the second, letting South Florida back into the game.

Jaron Cornish led Stony Brook (24-9) with 21 points and Akwasi Yeboah added 19.

David Collins scored 31 for South Florida, which shot only 40 percent from the field but was 33-for-48 from the free-throw line. Stony Brook was 20-for-24.

The Seawolves were coached by assistant Geno Ford after head coach Jeff Boals recently left to take the head coaching job at Ohio University.

Their loss Wednesday comes on the heels of their defeat to Binghampton in the first round of the America East Tournament.

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