When Stony Brook lost Tommy Brenton for the entire 2010-11 season with a dislocated kneecap and torn ligaments, there was an upside to that: Having Tommy Brenton around for the 2012-13 season.
And led by the senior's career-high 20 rebounds, SBU clinched at least a share of the America East regular-season title by beating Maine, 69-53, Sunday in Orono, Maine.
Stony Brook (21-6) is 12-2 in conference play with two games left. Boston University is 11-4 and Vermont is 10-4, so either or both could wind up as a co-champion along with the Seawolves, but Stony Brook has clinched the top seed in the conference tournament.
BU is ineligible for the tournament because it is leaving for the Patriot League and Stony Brook holds a tiebreaker advantage against Vermont, so the Seawolves will be awarded the top seed even if they finish in a tie. And with that, they have earned the right to host the conference championship game at Pritchard Gymnasium -- a significant accomplishment -- if they get that far.
Stony Brook can clinch sole possession of first with a victory at BU or a Vermont loss to Binghamton on Thursday.
Stony Brook, off to its best 27-game start ever, has earned at least a share of the America East regular-season title in three of the last four seasons. SBU, which has won 30 of its last 35 conference regular-season games, earned its 11th true road win, tied with Bucknell for the most in the country.
Brenton came pretty close to recording a second straight triple-double against Maine, scoring 13 points and handing out seven assists. That pushed him past D.J. Munir (2000-04) for the school's Division I record for career assists; Brenton now has 375. The 20 rebounds also were a Stony Brook Division I record.
Brenton had a double-double in the second half alone with 11 points and 13 rebounds. He became the first Stony Brook player to grab 20 rebounds since Tom Blumbergs did it on Jan. 10, 1988, in the school's Division III days. Brenton had 15 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists against Maine earlier this season, so he's averaging 14.0 points, 17.0 rebounds and 9.0 assists against the Black Bears in two games.
Freshman Jameel Warney had 15 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks for the Seawolves, who led by as many as 23 points at 55-32. Dave Coley added 12 points.
The Seawolves, coming off a victory over UMBC in which they allowed only 10 points and 3-for-28 shooting in the second half, finished strong again, holding Maine to one field goal in its last 10 attempts. Alasdair Fraser scored 15 points for Maine (11-17, 6-9).