University at Albany’s big men played huge against the Great Danes’ fiercest rival.
Neutralizing Jameel Warney, the league’s most dominant player, the Great Danes beat America East Conference leader Stony Brook 82-70 to snap the Seawolves’ 18-game winning streak Wednesday night before a sellout crowd of 4,578 at SEFCU Arena.
Stony Brook (13-1, 22-5) received 13 votes in The Associated Press Top-25 and one vote in the USA Today Coaches Poll en route to building the nation’s longest active winning streak. But UAlbany (11-3, 22-7) used brilliant two-way performances from big men Greig Stire, Mike Rowley and Richard Peters to stymie Warney and provide enough points inside to beat the Seawolves at their own game.
“This game came down to one thing, and that was toughness,” UAlbany head coach Will Brown said. “We didn’t play tough at the end when we played them down there. We made more toughness plays than they did tonight. Our frontcourt did a great job, and the energy in this building was outstanding. I thought we were the only team that could beat them, and I turned out to be right.”
Stire, a Christian Brothers Academy graduate, scored 13 points inside to go along with his interior defense against Warney. Rowley chipped in with 10 points and two blocked shots, and Peters used his
6-foot-11 frame to frustrate Warney more than usual.
“They doubled me and forced me away from the middle, where I am most comfortable,” said Warney, who entered the game averaging 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. “Playing them is a great challenge for us. They’re a great team, and we’re a great team.”
“Part of our game plan was to double Jameel. It was a team effort,” Stire said.
Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell gave credit to the Great Danes, but he said his team didn’t play its best basketball.
“We won the first game at home against them, and we didn’t play our best game down there,” he said. “It wasn’t our best game today, but it was a high-level game, and Albany made a lot of high-level shots. We took their best shot today. Jameel still had 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, but I guess you could say they slowed him down.”
UAlbany, which lost to the Seawolves 69-63 in the first game, shot 54 percent from the floor and held a 25-7 advantage off the bench.
“This win was huge,” said UAlbany senior Peter Hooley, who scored 14 points to go along with 12 rebounds. “We felt we threw away the game down there. Tonight, we did what we do best. I think we always match up well against them.”
Five Great Danes finished in double digits. Freshman guard Joe Cremo, from Scotia-Glenville, had a game-high 16 points and two steals. Senior Ray Sanders had 12 points.
Besides making things difficult for Warney, the Great Danes also frustrated Stony Brook point guard Carson Puriefoy, who shot just 2-for-11 and scored only 10 points.
“Puriefoy’s strength is in transition. We made him score in the halfcourt,” Brown said.
“When our big guys can stay on the floor, we’re pretty good. Our blueprint every year is to get better at the end of the year, and I think we are doing just that. I would love to play Stony Brook again [in the America East Conference tournament championship game].”
STONY BROOK (70)
McGrew 5-11 3-3 1, Warney 5-11 4-5 14, Walker 6-13 2-4 14, Puriefoy 2-11 5-8 10, Woodhouse 5-12 0-0 12, Thrower 0-0 0-0 0, Mitchell 1-2 0-0 2, Sturdivant 0-1 0-0 0, Sekunda 2-4 0-0 5, Nyama 0-1 0-0 0, Petras 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-66 14-20 70.
Rowley 4-5 2-3 10, Stire 6-9 1-1 13, Singletary 3-7 0-0 8, Sanders 4-13 3-4 12, Hooley 5-7 1-2 14, Cremo 3-5 10-10 16, Peters 2-3 0-0 4, Ennema 2-4 0-2 5. Totals: 29-53 17-22 82.
Halftime: UAlbany 37-30. 3-point goals: Stony Brook 4-20 (McGrew 0-1, Walker 0-3, Puriefoy 1-7, Woodhouse 2-5, Mitchell 0-1, Sekunda 1-2, Nyama 0-1); UAlbany 7-15 (Singletary 2-4, Sanders 1-4, Hooley 3-4, Ennema 1-3). Rebounds: Stony Brook 32 (Warney 8); UAlbany 37 (Hooley 12). Assists: Stony Brook 9 (Warney 2, Woodhouse 2), UAlbany 12 (Rowley 2, Singletary 2, Sanders 2, Hooley 2, Cremo 2). Personal fouls: Stony Brook 24, UAlbany 21. Fouled out: McGrew, Singletary. Officials: John Hughes, Nathan Farrell, Bob Testa. A: 4,578.
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