STONY BROOK, N.Y. - Juniors Tyrone Conley (Burlington, Vt.) and Alvin Abreu (Lynn, Mass.) scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, but the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team dropped another close decision Sunday afternoon, 69-63, to Stony Brook University at Pritchard Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, who had won nine of their last 10 against Stony Brook, including five straight, fall to 5-8 overall and 0-2 in America East Play, while the Seawolves improve to 11-5 on the season and remain perfect in the league at 3-0.
Conley, UNH's America East Player of the Game, was 5-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-3 from behind the arc, and sunk both of his free throws to go along with three rebounds, two steals and a block. Abreu shot 5-for-12, including 3 of 8 from deep, and added three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Classmate James Valladares (Kaufman, Texas) also chipped in with a career-high 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting, including 3 of 4 from 3-point land. Valladares, who played a season-high 23 minutes, had never even attempted a 3-pointer in his career coming into the game.
Muhammad El-Amin led Stony Brook with 20 points to garner America East Player of the Game honors for the Seawolves.
Stony Brook held its largest lead of the game at 57-43 with 9:26 remaining when UNH began to chip away. Valladares sparked a 7-0 run with his second 3 of the day before freshman Chandler Rhoads (Berryville, Va.) and Conley followed with layups to make it 57-50 at 6:22. After an Abreu layup later made it 60-54, Dallis Joyner knocked down a jumper before Valladares' final trey cut it to five at 62-57 with 4:23 to play.
Three straight points from Tommy Brenton pushed the Stony Brook lead back to eight, but the Wildcats continued to fight, crafting a 6-0 run on a layup by sophomore Russell Graham (Norristown, Pa.) and a free throw and 3-pointer by freshman Ferg Myrick (Philadelphia, Pa.) that brought the ‘Cats to within 65-63 with 46 seconds remaining. Chris Martin made a pair at the line before sealing the game with a breakaway dunk with two seconds on the clock.
Myrick added nine points on 3 of 6 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep, in just nine minutes, while Graham chipped in with seven points, four assists and two boards. Rhoads matched his career best with five assists and only had one turnover.
After Abreu drained a 3 that put UNH up 8-5 just 4:06 into the contest, Martin sparked an 8-0 run with a jumper before Brenton scored six straight to make it 13-8 at 13:54. Three-pointers by Conley and Myrick tied the game at 14 before a jumper by El-Amin put the Seawolves up two at 11:36. From there, however, the Wildcats used an 8-1 run - highlighted by a pair of 3s from senior Radar Onguetou (Yaounde, Cameroon) and capped by an Abreu jumper - to take their largest lead of the game at 22-17 with 8:29 to play in the opening half.
Stony Brook climbed within one before Graham drilled a 3 to make it 25-21 at 5:57. A Martin jumper tied the game at 25 before a Myrick layup inside gave UNH a two-point lead with 4:28 to go. Layups from Bryan Dougher and El-Amin, however, allowed the Seawolves to leap-frog the Wildcats, until Abreu buried a 3-pointer to put his team up 30-29 with 3:21 left. That would be the final lead of the afternoon for the Wildcats, however, as an Andrew Goba layup at 3:04 sparked a 9-0 run that would give Stony Brook the lead for good. Brenton and Marcus Rouse followed with baskets before El-Amin drained a 3 from the left wing as time expired to give the Seawolves a 38-30 advantage at the break.
Onguetou finished with six points, seven boards, a season-high three assists and a block.
Abreu opened the second half with a 3-pointer that cut the Wildcat deficit to five, but that was as close as they would get until the final minutes, as Stony Brook went on a 9-0 run to take a 47-33 lead at 16:15. Back-to-back 3s from Valladares and Conley sliced it to eight, but a jumper from Martin and a free throw from Joyner made it 50-39 with 13:45 to go. Valladares came back with a baseline jumper before consecutive jumpers from Rouse and El-Amin opened up a 13-point lead for the Seawolves at 11:44. Graham cut it to 11 with a jumper before another 3 from El-Amin handed Stony Brook its largest lead at 57-43 with 9:26 to play.
Brenton added 14 points and nine boards, while Martin also scored 14 for the Seawolves.
Junior Dane DiLiegro (Lexington, Mass.) finished with six rebounds and became the 90th player in America East history to grab 500 rebounds with his third of the day.
Stony Brook outshot UNH, 48.1 percent (26-54) to 46 percent (23-50), but the Wildcats shot a season-high 56 percent (14-25) from behind the arc, while holding the Seawolves to just 33.3 percent (3-9) from deep. SBU won the battle on the boards, 32-29, turned the ball over 14 times while forcing 21 UNH turnovers, and made it to the line 21 times while the Wildcats shot just five free throws.
The Wildcats return to action Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. when they play host to the University at Albany at Lundholm Gymnasium.