The four new guys landed on the Stony Brook campus, bringing along the nation’s top combined total of career points for a 2021-22 transfer class. But their arrival also brought a need for team chemistry to develop on the court in these early weeks of the season.
Chemistry class had been going better of late for the America East favorite despite an injury to one of the transfers, and the firepower had just showed in back-to-back wins with at least 80 points. But the Seawolves took a step back Saturday night at Island Federal Arena.
Wagner walked into Stony Brook’s home and trounced its cold-shooting, out-of-sync hosts, 78-49.
Alex Morales paced the Seahawks with 19 points in a convincing win by the Northeast Conference favorites in just their second game back after a COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponement of three games.
"That was a very good team that played well, and we were about as awful in most phases as we could be," Seawolves coach Geno Ford said.
Grad guard Elijah Olaniyi sat out for the fourth straight game with a leg injury. This transfer is on crutches.
"We’re expecting it to be a while," Ford said of Olaniyi's return.
Jahlil Jenkins, another of the new transfers, scored 12 to pace the Seawolves (3-4), who shot just 30.9% and were out-rebounded 43-27.
"Tonight I’m hoping was a blip," Ford said when asked about the chemistry.
The Seahawks (3-1) led by seven at halftime, then floored it.
Elijah Ford drove for two. Raekwon Rogers made a steal, leading to Morales making a jumper. Ford had to call for time 40 seconds in with his team trailing 34-23.
It didn’t help.
The lead swelled 42-25 with 2:40 gone. Another timeout.
It didn’t help.
Wagner’s Nigel Jackson drilled a three-point shot to make it a 20-point game. When Ford drove scored on a layup, it was a 28-point cushion at 54-26 after a 24-3 run to open that second half.
It was actually a 30-4 run when factoring in the last three minutes of the first half.
"A big win for us against a really good Stony Brook team," said Wagner coach Bashir Mason, who was making his return after testing positive. "I’m especially proud of my guys for responding to a really tough situation with COVID just kind of running through our team the last two or three weeks."
The bad signs were there for Stony Brook in the first half when it shot just 9-for-27.
"We played Kansas more competitively than we played tonight," Ford said, referencing an 88-59 loss Nov. 18. "We’ve got to be tougher."