Stony Brook pulled the plug on a pair of University at Albany winning streaks Friday night at SEFCU Arena.
The methodical Seawolves connected on nine of 21 shots from beyond the arc and scored 25 points off 15 Great Danes’ turnovers en route to a come-from-behind 58-45 victory that ended both UAlbany’s six-game home winning streak and its six-game string in the all-time series.
UAlbany, which struggled to score just 19 points in the second half, failed to put a point on the scoreboard in the last 4:44 of the game, allowing Stony Brook to finish with a 9-0 run.
It was one of the worst home defeats for the Great Danes in the last few seasons.
“I think that’s as disappointed and as embarrassed as I’ve been since the Hartford game here a couple of years ago,” said UAlbany head coach Will Brown, whose team led by as many as 11 in the first half, only to fall apart after the intermission.
“I’m shocked the way we played. I’ve got to get these guys re-energized and refocused.”
The fact that the Great Danes (3-3, 11-8), shot poorly wasn’t a surprise — they’ve been under 40 percent 11 times this season — but they were sloppy and lacked energy.
Compounding the problem was Tim Ambrose’s foul trouble. The team’s leading scorer played only 15 minutes, scoring just seven points. Junior forward Will Harris, the team’s best all-around player since conference play began, was nursing a case of the flu and was a game-time decision. He still finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, but was the only UAlbany player in double digits.
“We’re not going to win many games when Tim Ambrose plays just 15 minutes,” said Brown. “Will had the flu, and [Anthony] Raffa struggled. We don’t have anybody else outside of those three players to step up and score points for us.
“I thought we were OK in the first 20 minutes, but we were terrible in the second 20 minutes.”
The Seawolves (2-4, 10-9) entered the game in last place in the America East Conference, but they worked the clock to the final seconds on almost every possession and did an excellent job defensively on the Great Danes’ key players.
“Albany is a terrific team. We’re fortunate to win, especially here. This is a very difficult place to play,” said Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell. “We’ve played eight of our last 11 games on the road. I thought we played great defense in the second half. Our defense keeps us in games. I thought we made some plays down the stretch.”
Albany had a lackluster performance in its previous game, a 72-61 loss at Maine, but Brown thought his players would come out with something to prove against Stony Brook. He was right.
Although Muhammad El-Amin knocked down a pair of three-pointers for Stony Brook, the Great Danes eventually jumped out to a 19-10 lead with 7:36 left in the first half as Ambrose and Harris combined for 13 points. But Ambrose didn’t score for the rest of the game and sat on the bench for long periods of time when the Danes needed someone to provide offense. Harris also didn’t score for final 10 minutes of the half.
Stony Brook, which trailed 26-15, when Billy Allen knocked down a trey with three minutes to go, turned the momentum in its favor when Bryan Dougher scored the final six points of the half. He swished a three-pointer with 2:05 left and then converted a three-point play on a wild, spinning shot to the basket.
Stony Brook scored 11 straight points early in the second half to build a 32-28 edge.
Harris helped the Danes claw back, and his tip-pin with 4:44 remaining in the game cut the Stony Brook lead to 49-45.
But the Seawolves pulled away with the help of a couple of Albany turnovers.
STONY BROOK (58)
Joyner 1-3 0-0 2, Brenton 3-4 3-4 10, Dougher 4-10 1-1 12, Cox 0-0 2-2 2, El-Amin 5-14 3-4 17, Carter 0-2 0-0 0, Castelanos 1-3 0-0 2, Adedeji 0-0 0-0 0, Young 3-7 0-0 7, Martin 1-6 4-4 6, Goba 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-9 13-15 58.
Harris 5-12 2-2 14, Connelly 1-1 2-2 4, Gifford 2-3 0-0 4, Raffa 3-9 2-2 9, Ambrose 3-9 0-0 7, Allen 1-3 0-0 3, Hastings 2-4 0-2 4, McRae 0-2 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Barraza 0-2 0-0 0, Covington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-45 6-8 45.
Halftime: Albany 26-21. Three-point goals: Stony Brook 9-21 (Brenton 1-1, Dougher 3-7, El-Amin 4-7, Carter 0-1, Castellanos 0-1, Young 1-3, Martin 0-1); Albany 5-18 (Harris 2-7, Raffa 1-5, Amrose 1-1, Allen 1-3, Barraza 0-2). Rebounds: Stony Brook 27 (Joyner 4, renton 4); Albany 35 (Harris 8). Assists: Stony Brook 9 (Cox 3), Albany 11 (Raffa 3). Personal fouls: Stony Brook 14, Albany 14. Fouled out: Ambrose. Officials: Paul Faia, Jeffrey Bryant, David Walker. Attendance: 2,786.