Stony Brook and Albany will play for the America East title on Saturday.
Stony Brook and Albany will play for the America East title on Saturday.
Courtesy: America East Communications

Stony Brook, Albany To Decide MBB Title Saturday

Release: 03/14/2014

STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- Stony Brook University and University at Albany, two SUNY schools that entered America East at the same time in 2001, will decide the 2014 men's basketball title as the two teams each won twice in Albany last weekend to earn the right to play in this year's America East Men's Basketball Championship Game on Saturday, March 15 at Stony Brook's Pritchard Gym. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 11:30 a.m. Bob Picozzi (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst) will have the call.

Stony Brook posted wins over Maine and Hartford last weekend to earn its third title game appearance in the last four years. Reigning champion Albany beat UMBC and top-seeded Vermont over the weekend to earn its fourth championship game appearance. The winner will also get the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.

Championship Primer
Tale of the Tape
• These SUNY rivals square off for the 64th time in their storied history.
• This will be the fifth-straight year the two teams meet in the tournament with Stony Brook having won quarterfinal contests in 2010 and 2011 and a semifinal matchup in 2012, while Albany knocked off top-seeded SBU in last year's semis.
• The last two tournament meetings have been epic. Dallis Joyner's tip-in at the buzzer gave SBU a 57-55 win two years ago to advance to the title game, while in last year's semis, Albany returned the favor as Mike Black hit a driving layup with 2.4 seconds left to give the Great Danes a 61-59 win.
• Albany holds a 37-26 all-time advantage in the series, which includes the schools' Division II and III years.
• Stony Brook holds a 17-13 edge in games played since both teams moved to Division I and entered America East.
• The Seawolves have won seven of the last nine meetings in the series, but those two Great Dane wins have come in the last three meetings.

Tale of the Tape Part II
• The two teams split the regular-season meetings with each team winning at home.
• Albany won the first meeting, 77-67, on Jan. 29, while Stony Brook took the second get together, 73-68, on March 2.
• In the first meeting, the Great Danes shot 51 percent from the field and made 26-of-32 free throw attempts en route to handing the Seawolves their first league loss.
• In the second matchup, Stony Brook used a late 16-0 run to overcome a 10-point deficit.
• Sam Rowley averaged 16 points and 9.5 rebounds in the two games and had a double-double of 17 points and 11 boards in Albany's win.
• Jameel Warney averaged 15.5 points in the two games and shot 15-of-23 from the field.
• Dave Coley scored 17 points in Stony Brook's win.
• Carson Puriefoy missed the first meeting.

Home Sweet Home
• The America East men's basketball title has been decided on a member school's home floor 30 times and the hometown crowd has rarely been disappointed as home teams are 25-5 in America East title games.
• However, two of those occurrences have taken place the last two years with Vermont winning the title at Stony Brook in 2012 and Albany doing it last year at Vermont.  
• Albany has won two of its three titles on the road, also winning at Vermont in 2007.
• Vermont won at Boston U. in 2003 while Delaware  was the first visiting team to accomplish the feat in 1993 by beating Drexel.

Home Sweet Home Part II
• Stony Brook has enjoyed playing at Pritchard Gym since moving there prior to the 2008-09 season, going 61-18 all-time in that building.
• The Seawolves have been even better the last three years, winning 37 of their last 40 games at Pritchard.
• Stony Brook had won 23-straight games there dating back to 2011 before falling to UNH at home on Feb. 8.
• Albany has won just once in six games at Pritchard, beating Stony Brook there in 2011.
the champ is here
• Albany is the 23rd reigning champion to return to the next year's America East Championship game in 31 seasons the defending champs were in the tournament.
• That rate has been even better in recent years as defending champs have reached the title game in 15 of the last 19 tournaments.
• The Great Danes are the last school to win consecutive league titles (2006, '07).
• Reigning champions are winless in their last three trips to the title game the year after winning the title.

New Champion or a Repeat?
• Dynasties have been an important part of the history of America East basketball, just not lately.
• Parity has hit the league as six different teams have won the last seven America East titles, the only such stretch in the league history.
• The last seven league champions are UMBC (2008), Binghamton (2009), Vermont (2010, '12),  Boston U. (2011) and Albany (2013).
• Eight teams, including six different schools, have won consecutive league titles and of those, three (Drexel, Northeastern and Vermont) have won three in a row.
• No team has won consecutive crowns since Albany in 2006 and '07, which is the longest drought for a returning champion in league history.
one is the lonliest number
• For the fourth time in the last five years, the No. 1 seed will not play for the conference title.
• It's just the ninth time in the 32 years the tournament has used seeds that No. 1 has not played for the crown and the first time it has happened four times in a five-year span.
• A No. 1 seed has not won the league crown since 2009, which is the longest such stretch in conference history.

History One Way or Another
• History will be made Saturday regardless of which team wins.
• A win for Stony Brook would give it its first America East title and subsequent NCAA berth.
• The Seawolves would become the fourth team to win their first America East crown since 2006.
• A win for Albany would give it its fourth America East title, all since 2006.
• Albany would be the fifth school to win at least four conference titles, joining Northeastern (7), Boston University (6), Vermont (5) and Delaware (4) and the first to do so without losing a title game.

Two Plus Four Equals Five
• This will be the fifth time the No. 2 and No. 4 seeds  meet in the conference championship game and the third the last five years.
• The second seed has won all three of the four prior meetings.
• Albany became the first No. 4 seed to win the title last season, beating No. 2 Vermont in Burlington, 53-49.
• The No. 2 seeds to beat a No. 4 for the title were Vermont over Boston U. in 2010, Vermont over Maine in 2004 and Boston U. over Niagara in 1988. 

Can't Find the Chalk
• The America East Championship has had its share of surprises over the years and this year was no different.
• While the top four seeds did reach the semifinals for the first time since 1999, Albany's upset of No. 1 Vermont in the semis guarantees another year that the higher seed will not win every game.
• Only three times in the 32 years the tournament has  has the higher-seeded team won every tournament game.

No. 2 Stony Brook Seawolves (23-9)
• Stony Brook will be playing in its third championship game, all since 2011, and is seeking its first league title after falling in its previous two trips to the championship game, at Boston U. in 2011 and at home to Vermont in 2012.
• The second seed for the first time, Stony Brook has been seeded first three times since 2010. Prior to then, the Seawolves had never been seeded better than fifth.
• The Seawolves have racked up eight tournament wins over the last five years, second only to Vermont, but have fallen short of their ultimate goal, a conference title, falling twice in the semifinals (2011, '13) and twice in the title game (2010, '12).
• Winner of 20 games for the fourth time in five years,  the Seawolves peaked at just 16 wins in their first eight seasons as a Division I program.
• Stony Brook enters the championship game winners of 14 of its last 17 games.

How the Seawolves Got Here
• Stony Brook was efficient and balanced in its two early-round wins.
• The Seawolves held Binghamton to just 31 percent shooting in an 80-54 win over seventh-seeded Maine in the quarterfinals Saturday.
• SBU jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead and never looked back.
• Jameel Warney led three Seawolves in double figures with 15 points.
• In the semifinals, Stony Brook shot 56 percent from the field and built a 16-point halftime lead before Hartford charged back to draw within three.
• Carson Puriefoy's layup in the waning seconds sealed a 69-64 win.

No. 4 Albany Great Danes (17-14)
• The reigning league champion, Albany is making its second-straight title game appearance and fourth overall, all coming since 2006.
• Just last year, the Great Danes became the first-ever America East team to win the league title out of the No. 4 slot last season.
• The Great Danes, who have been seeded fourth or better in eight of their 13 all-time tournament appearances, are one of just two programs (Vermont) to be seeded in the championship's top four each of the last four seasons.
• Albany is 3-0 in championship games, including twice as the lower seed, beating Vermont in 2006, '07 and '13.

How the Great Danes Got Here
• Peter Hooley averaged 28 points in Albany's two early-round games to send the Great Danes to the title game again.
• The Great Danes shot 56 percent in an 86-56 win over UMBC in the quarterfinals Friday.
• Albany outscored UMBC, 40-18, in the paint.
• Hooley scored a career-high 30 points, the first 30-point tourney effort since 2011, on 12-of-16 shooting in just 26 minutes of action.
• In the semifinals, Hooley scored 22 of his 26 points in the first half as Albany upset top-seeded Vermont, 67-58.
• Albany held UVM to 38 percent shooting and outrebounded the Catamounts, 45-30.

Stony Brook has Swagger
• Stony Brook is in its 13th tournament and is 12-12 overall in championship play.
• Much of that success has come of late as the Seawolves have racked up eight championship wins over the last four years after totaling just four victories in its first eight tournaments.
• Seeded second or better for the fourth time in five years, the Seawolves were never seeded higher than fifth in their first eight tournament appearances.

Great, Great Danes
• No program has won as many titles as Albany's three since 2006.  
• The Great Danes became the lowest seeded team (fourth) to win the title last year.  
• Albany is also the last team to win consecutive league titles, accomplishing that feat in 2006 and '07, its most ever in the regular season.
• The Great Danes, who are 13-9 all-time in tournament play, are one of just two active members (Vermont) to win consecutive league titles and one of just four programs (Northeastern, Delaware and Drexel) to win at least two America East titles within six years of joining the league.

Second to None
• No. 2 seeds have been nearly as successful as the top seed, appearing in 16 of the last 19 title games, including Vermont last year, winning three of the last four titles.
• Overall, No. 2 seeds have won the tournament 10 times and made 24 title game appearances en route to compiling a 64-21 (.753) record.
• Vermont has won four crowns (2003, '04, '10, '12) from that position while Albany (2007), Boston U. (1988, '90, '02, '11), Northeastern (1985) are the other teams to win the title from the No. 2 slot.
• Stony Brook will try to join Vermont as teams to win their first-ever title as the No. 2 seed.

Fourth Street
•  Albany changed the tide for No. 4 seeds last year, becoming the first, and lowest seeded team ever, to win the America East title.
•  The Great Danes won their three tournament games by a combined seven points, beating Maine, 50-49, in the quarterfinals, Stony Brook, 61-59, in the semis and Vermont, 53-49, in the title game.
•  Overall, No. 4 seeds have not had great tournament success, going  only 20-31 (.392) all time, but have had success recently winning 10 tournament games in the last seven years.  
•  In all, five No. 4 seeds have reached the final. In addition to Albany, Boston U. (2011), Maine (2004) and Niagara (1988) reached the league title game.

Pike's Peak
• Steve Pikiell's first three years at Stony Brook produced just 20 total wins and a pair of ninth place finishes as well as an eighth place finish in the league standings.
• That seems like ancient history as the Seawolves have won 123 games, captured three America East regular-season titles and are making their third league championship game appearance over the last five seasons.
•  In his ninth season, Pikiell has led Stony Brook to eight tournament wins in the last three years, two more than its total in the  previous eight years combined.

Brown's Town
• The longest tenured head coach in America East, Will Brown, is in his 13th year at Albany and is in select company as one of four coaches to win three America East titles.
• After leading the Great Danes to consecutive league crowns in 2006 and 2007, becoming one of just six head coaches to accomplish that feat, Brown's squad became the lowest-seeded squad to the win the tournament (fourth) just last year.
• Brown is tied for second all time with his three conference titles and is tied for fifth all time in tournament wins (13) with coaching legend Jim Calhoun.
• This season, Brown has led Albany to 17 wins and to the championship game for the fourth time since 2006.
• He has never lost an America East title game.

Duo from Down Under
• The Aussie connection of Peter Hooley and Sam Rowley have been major factors in Albany's success this season as the Great Danes finished in the top four in the league standings for the fourth-straight year.
• One of the two has led Albany in scoring in 22 of its 31 games this season.
• Hooley ranks second in the league scoring 15.7 points per game.
• Hooley is averaging 28.0 points in the tournament so far, going for 30 and 26 points, respectively, in the first two games.
• Rowley comes in 13th at 11.3 per game.
• Rowley also paces the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and ranks fourth in the conference.

Warney-ing Shot
There was no sophomore slump for Stony Brook sophomore Jameel Warney.
• After earning America East Rookie of the Year and second-team all-conference honors last year, Warney has elevated his game in his second collegiate season, becoming just the sixth sophomore to earn America East Player of the Year honors
• Ranks seventh among league leaders averaging 14.7 points per game and is third in rebounding (7.9 rpg).   
• Has eight double-doubles on the year.
• Is one of the most efficient scorers in the country, shooting 63.0 percent from the field, the third-best mark in the nation.
• He earned a pair of America East Player of the Week honors this season, including a 32-point, 21 rebound effort vs. Detriot on Nov. 25.