Stony Brook hung around and, truth be told, outplayed Virginia Commonwealth in the first half of tonight’s game between the America East favorite and Atlantic-10 challenger.
Despite trailing 36-35 at the break, the Sealwolves controlled the pace of play and managed the game well with point guard Carson Puriefoy coming off the bench providing valuable minutes. They had 13 turnovers in the first half, but out-rebounded VCU 20-9. You can bet head coach Steve Pikiell was pleased with the effort.
Eventually, the havoc defense took its toll. It wore Stony Brook out, they had no answer for its relentlessness, and eventually succumbed to it by a final score of 81-63.
The Rams began the second half on a 22-4 run, all but putting the game away midway through the half. Stony Brook would never get within single-digits the rest of the way.
It was a challenge for Stony Brook to just get into their offensive sets, and even when they did, getting the ball inside to sophomore phenom Jameel Warney was a tall task. As active and tough as the Ram forwards are — particularly Juvonte Reddic — when Warney catches the ball on the low blocks, there aren’t many guys who have the ability to stop him; he’s that good. Warney finished with 12 points, four points below his season average.
It was an extremely balanced effort on the offensive end for VCU as five players scored in double figures, led by Treveon Graham with 20 points.
Perhaps most impressive, however, was Briante Weber’s stat line: 14 points, nine assists, and seven steals — the seven steals were a season-high.
This was a good test for the Rams to conclude the non-conference portion of their schedule. Stony Brook is solid, and has a good shot at finally earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in their program history.
When VCU forces 20+ turnovers (21) and shoots better than 40% 3PT (well, 39.1% tonight), they are awfully tough to beat.