Stony Brook, Albany Advance to Men's Basketball Semifinals With Wins
In the first game of the day, Dave Coley led five Seawolves in twin figures with 14 points and sparked his team's second-half surge as Stony Brook (21-8) fought off a valiant effort from No. 9 Binghamton (2-29) and came away with a 78-69 win. The victory earned the Seawolves a trip to the America East semifinals for the third straight year.
The Seawolves, who have won 16 of their last 18 games, jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. Anthony Jackson, who provided 13 points off the bench, capped the spurt with a three-pointer from the top of the key five minutes into the contest.
The Bearcats countered immediately, scoring 12 of the game's next 18 points. Jimmy Gray, who had 16 points, hit two of his four three pointers during the run to make the score 16-14 midway through the stanza. But, Stony Brook responded by scoring seven straight points and took a 34-28 run into the locker room.
Binghamton, which advanced to the quarterfinals via its first-round win over UMBC on Thursday, made its charge in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. The Bearcats turned an eight-point deficit into two-point advantage with a 10-0 run capped by Ben Dickinson's (game-high 20 points) layup that gave them their first lead (40-38) 4:15 into the period. That lead grew to 47-43 on Chris Longoria three-pointer with just over eight minutes left.
But, Stony Brook, the league's regular-season champion avoided the upset, going on a 21-6 run that gave it a 66-53 lead with 4:41 left. The Bearcats got as close as six down the stretch, but the Seawolves hit 5-of-7 free throws to seal its third straight trip to the semifinals.
“I have to give Binghamton a lot of credit," said Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell. That wasn’t the same team we played the other day, credit to them. Our motto all week has been ‘win on Saturday at noon’ and we did. We grinded out a win and Binghamton did a great job and I have to tip my hat to them.”
In the second quarterfinal, Albany (19-13) held New Hampshire (13-16) to just 28 percent shooting en route to a 63-45 win. The league's leading scorer Gerardo Suero scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Great Danes.
Both teams started slowly offensively and played to a standstill through the first 12 minutes as the game was tied at apiece with 7:12 left in the first half. That's when Suero, a first-team all-conference selection, took over. He led Albany on a 10-0 run, scoring five points in the spurt and capping it with a three-pointer that gave his team a 26-16 lead with four minutes left in the frame.
The Great Danes took a 10-point advantage into the locker room, but cut it half on Alvin Abreu's layup with just over 12 minutes left in game. The Wildcats, who had won five of its last six entering the game, would get no closer however as the Great Danes used a 14-2 run to put the game away. Suero bookended the run with three-pointers that gave his team its largest lead, 52-35 with 7:14 left.
UNH got back within 11, but Albany held off the charge to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2009. Suero was joined in twin figures by Mike Black, who had 13 points. Patrick Konan (12 points) and Ferg Myrick (11) paced New Hampshire.
"It’s about survival this time of year, win and move on," said Albany coach Will Brown. "Careers end, seasons end and I think this group is playing with a sense of urgency. We are excited and we can’t wait for 5 o’clock tomorrow.”