Boston University did almost everything that's neccessary to win on the road in a big game: they started strong to take out the crowd, survived a rough patch, forced the home team into a big drought to silence the crowd and pulled off a big run to take the lead. Yet they'll leave Long Island Friday night with a loss because of missed free throws and poor execution down the stretch.
Despite failing to record a made field goal for a 10-minute stretch in the second half, the Stony Brook Seawolves (13-7, 8-1 America East) rallied to earn sole possesion of first place in Ameria East with a 66-57 victory over the red-hot Terriers (11-12, 7-2 AE). In a game that was billed as a must-see game by several publications, the two teams surpassed the expectations, as each team surrendered a big lead and the game was ultimately decided by a see-saw finish.
Senior guard Darryl Partin led the Terriers with a game-high 21 points and a team-high six rebounds. The conference's second leading scorer started out hot, hitting his first three 3-point attempts and finished 5-of-9 from behind the arc. Unfortunately his backcourt mate D.J. Irving never really got going. The speedy sophomore point guard recorded just seven points and five assists to go along with four turnovers.
The Terriers shot 46.5 percent from the field (20-of-43) but hit just 33 percent of their shots in the second half, after connecting on nearly 60 percent of their attempts in their red hot first stanza. Boston University connected on 10 3-pointers in the contest but couldn't hit the uncontested shots. Despite being a 65 percent free throw shooting team on the year, Joe Jones's squad connected on just 7-of-17 (41 percent) free throws for the game.
Stony Brook point guard Bryan Dougher finished with a team-high 20 points and knocked down 7-of-8 free throws attempts. Junior forward Tommy Brenton added nine points, a game-high eight rebounds and and four steals. His last steal iced the game, as he picked Irving's pocket with 35 seconds to go and the Terriers trailing by three, beginning a parade of Terrier miscue and a barrage of Stony Brook free throws.
Brenton helped the Seawolves control the paint with a 33-25 rebounding advantage and a 26-16 advantage in points in the paint. While Stony Brook only hit 44.7 percent (21-of-47) of their shots, they did connect on 19-of-28 (67 percent) of their free throw attempts. The Seawolves also forced 15 Boston turnovers, including two crucial turnovers by Irving and Partin that killed any hope of a comeback.
Boston University raced out to a 19-10 lead with 10:53 remaining by opening up the game red-hot. Partin and company connected on five of their first six 3-point attempts and were hitting contested shots from all over the floor. Unfortunately for the Terriers-the Seawolves would respond in a big way.
Stony Brook quickly went on a 7-0 run and grabbed their first lead of the game (24-23) with 7:29 to go. Over the final 10 minutes the Seawolves dominated the paint and forced numerous Terrier errors to earn a 37-33 halftime lead.
Out of the break it looked like Stony Brook would cruise as they went on a 9-1 run to begin the half. Things looked dire for the Terriers as Jones was called for a technical foul and they had still yet to make a field goal after 5:45. Instead the technical proved to be a turning point: Boston University went on a 17-0 run over the next 8:11 as the Terriers thrived on emotion.
Even after a Dave Coley free throw ended the 8:29 second scoreless streak, the Seawolves still needed another 1:34 seconds to score their first basket in 10 minutes and three seconds. When Al Rapier finally flushed a dunk for the Seawolves, the Terriers held a 53-52 lead with 4:12 to go. During the big run, the Terriers missed a big chance to put some space between the two teams as they missed six free throws.
Stony Brook would earn the lead back at the 2:59 mark and would never look back as Dougher and Brenton scored nine of their 29 points in the final three minutes. A Dougher 3-pointer gave the Seawolves a four-point lead and then Boston University followed by forcing several shots, turning the ball over twice and constantly fouling the Seawolves: who hit their free throws.
The Terriers don't have much time to lick their wounds, they'll be back in action Tuesday night when they host Vermont. Boston University has already lost to the Catamounts this year and the two teams are currently tied for second place, a game behind the Seawolves with seven games left in the regular season.