Mouhamadou Gueye #2 of the Stony Brook Seawolves goes to...

Mouhamadou Gueye #2 of the Stony Brook Seawolves goes to the hoop for a basket against the Fairfield Stags at Island Federal Arena on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Mouhamadou Gueye has been finding himself in the most helpless position of a basketball gymnasium the past few games — the bench. And it’s certainly not because of his abilities.

The 6-9 senior forward has played limited minutes in Stony Brook’s last three men’s basketball contests because of foul trouble, including multiple uncharacteristic offensive fouls.

"The way I usually take it is if I’m in foul trouble, I’m letting my team down and they all trusted me," Gueye said. "Coach trusted me."

After limited floor time again because of two quick first-half fouls, Gueye played nearly 15 minutes in the second half, and was reinserted into the lineup with the score tied at 54 and 6:10 remaining. He scored eight of his nine points down the stretch as host Stony Brook defeated UMass Lowell, 71-64, in America East action at Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Monday afternoon.

"The fact that I went out in the second half and stayed out of foul trouble and made some big plays," Gueye said, "it felt great that I was making that big of a contribution to our team."

Gueye finished with nine points, three blocks and five rebounds — including three offensive boards — with three fouls in nearly 19 minutes. He played just a combined 30 minutes in Stony Brook’s two previous contests entering Monday, and had four fouls in each.

But he’s a difference-maker when available. Gueye’s dunk off an offensive rebound broke a tie at 54 with 5:36 remaining as Stony Brook (6-4, 4-0 America East) closed on a 17-10 run. UMass Lowell dropped to 2-6, 1-3.

"Mo’s a huge key in any game we play," said Jordan McKenzie, who had nine points and five rebounds. "His presence in the paint when people are driving, getting rebounds, blocking all the shots, whenever he’s really active, he’s awesome."

Juan Felix Rodriguez led Stony Brook with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jaden Sayles had 11 points and Tykei Greene 10 points and four rebounds.

Stony Brook has won five straight after some growing pains with a new starting five in non-conference play.

"I think the one theme that stayed consistent throughout the non-conference that we brought into conference [play] is our toughness," Gueye said. "Regardless of our chemistry at the time, we were always a tough team and now that our chemistry is coming together, that toughness along with the chemistry is making us a good team."

Coach Geno Ford has also been impressed with Stony Brook’s toughness, especially in tight contests.

"The bottom line is good teams find a way to win whether you are playing great, or average, or below your norm," Ford said. "And I just like the fact that we were able to win."

Stony Brook held the River Hawks to 38.2% shooting and forced 17 turnovers. The Seawolves, who trailed for only 3:45 in their weekend sweep, shot 46.3% with 12 turnovers.

Obadiah Noel, who led the Rivers Hawks with 30 points in Sunday’s game, had 29 Monday, including 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.

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