STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Things were so bad for Brown on Saturday night that coach Mike Martin could not be found by his own staff to make it to the postgame press conference.
The coach missed out on the media after his Bears gave up a season-high 14 three-pointers on 56% shooting in a 79-63 loss to Stony Brook.
The Bears’ evening looked promising as the team used five steals to jump out to a 20-10 lead after the first 8 minutes. Stony Brook coach Geno Ford countered with his second unit, which righted the ship.
“Jordan McKnight, Anthony Ochefu, Tavin (Pierre Philippe) all went in and were significantly impactful with their effort on defense,” said Ford. “Those guys were able to come in and really give us a lift.”
The reserves would lead Stony Brook on a 10-0 run over the next five minutes to tie the game at 20.
The Bears (5-4) were up 25-24 with just under four minutes left, when Tamenang Choh went to the bench with his third foul. The Stony Brook (7-3) starters took advantage of his absence to close out the first half scoring eight of the stanza’s 10 points.
Any hopes that Bruno would rebound in the second half were quickly dashed.
By the first media timeout, the Seawolves made four of its first seven shots, including three triples, to build a 44-34 advantage. Just over a minute later, 6’11” Jeff Otchere dunked over 6’9″ Jaylan Gainey to make it a 12-point game, effectively ending the evening.
The Bears would not get any closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Stony Brook shot 50% from two (14-for-28) and 56 percent from three (14-for-25). In the second half alone, the Seawolves hit 61% from inside the arc, and an astounding 70% from long range. The team also did a solid job sharing the ball, finishing with a 79% assist rate (22-for-28).
Junior Elijah Olaniyi led Stony Brook with a career-high 30 points on 11-for-15 shooting, including 6 of 8 from three. The Seawolves leading scorer almost did not play due to a strained neck that kept him off the court for the last two days.
“We talked on the phone at 3 o’clock and he said I still can’t turn my head,” said an amused coach Ford. “About 20 minutes later, I get a text that said I’m 100% playing.”
Brown managed only 43% from two and 27% (7-for-26) from three on the evening. Choh scored a team-high 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting, including a career-high three three-pointers. He also added seven rebounds, second only to Josh Howard’s eight, as well as four fouls and a technical for hanging on the rim after a dunk. Brandon Anderson tied a career-high with seven assists and added 13 points, but it came on a rough 5-for-17 performance.
To make a difficult night worse, Zach Hunsaker left the game with a left ankle injury at the 7:22 mark of the second half. There was no word on the extent of Hunsaker’s injury.
As reporters waited for the coaches and players, a member of Brown’s athletic communications staff stated that he could not find Martin. A short time later, a representative of Stony Brook Athletics mentioned that the coach left the locker room and headed to the team bus.
Martin did talk to Brown Athletics, stating, “Defensively, we didn’t do a good enough job contesting their shooters on the perimeter and offensively, we weren’t as good as we needed to be with our execution.”
After a promising 4-1 start, the Bears have lost three of its last four. A team that began the season ranked #177 at KenPom, now sits at #236. With three more road games at St. John’s (#97), Duke (#3) and Rhode Island (#79), those negative numbers have a high probability of increasing.
Brown’s staff and players will need to find a way to use these games to regroup, as their opening of Ivy play against 8-3 Yale (#85) is now only five games away.
Coach Mike Martin reached out to IHO Sunday to apologize for missing Saturday evening’s press conference. He said he was unaware there was a formal postgame gathering and was getting the team together to make a 10 p.m. ferry, which would end up saving significant time on the trip back to Providence.
The coach noted that Zach Hunsaker suffered a sprained ankle on Saturday night and X-rays were negative. He is 50/50 for Tuesday’s game at St. John’s but will be ready for Duke on the 28th.
Overall, the coach feels good about his team, which has shown flashes of high-quality play. He is mainly looking for consistency as the conference schedule approaches.