Stony Brook’s season ended on Tuesday night in a thrilling fashion as they fell to Seton Hall University 63-61 in the opening round of the NIT Tournament.
The Pirates jumped out to an early 12-2 lead midway through the first half, however Stony Brook fought back to come within two points, trailing Seton Hall 32-30.
“Once we settled down, we were fine,” said Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell. “Our guys wanted to play well. It was our last game, playing a Big East team in their gym. We didn’t get off to the kind of start that I wrote up. But we really played well after that.”
The two teams traded the lead six times in the second half. Stony Brook had a last second chance to tie the game, however the Seawolves’ Tommy Brenton missed a put-back attempt as the ball went in-and-out.
"I liked how we fought back from a poor first half and had a chance to win the game at the end,” said Pikiell. “I wanted to win this game for this team because I wanted to keep coaching this team. This is a great group of players that had a great season."
Senior guard Bryan Dougher led the Seawolves with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Forward Dallis Joyner added 14 points and 9 rebounds. The Pirates were led by senior guard Jordan Theodore who scored 21 points and had 6 assists and senior forward Herb Pope, who added 20 points and 9 rebounds.
Dougher was playing in front of friends and family as the Scotch Plains, NJ native grew up nearly 15 miles from Seton Hall’s South Orange, NJ based campus.
“It was exciting coming back (to New Jersey), Dougher said after the game. “I had 30 or 40 people in the stands. When I saw Seton Hall pop up on the NIT selection show, I was excited. I had a lot of people here and we had little jitters early in the game, but we was able to overcome it.”
Dougher, the all-time leading scorer in Division I Seawolves history, played in his final game as a Stony Brook student. Pikiell, who recruited Dougher to Stony Brook, reflected on how much the guard meant to the program.
“As a person, most importantly, he’s been the best kid I have coached for 20 years,” said Pikiell. “He never missed a day of practice, never missed a game, and never even missed a class I think. He’s a great kid and he got everything out of his ability.”