Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Jameel Warney scored 43 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Stony Brook past Vermont in the America East Championship game Saturday morning on Long Island, 80-74.
Vermont slips to 21-13 – an eighth straight season with at least 20 wins – while Stony Brook awaits its NCAA Tournament fate with a 26-6 record.
Trae Bell-Haynes scored a team-high 17 points to pace three Catamounts in double figures. Bell-Haynes also dished out four assists in the loss. Ernie Duncan scored 11 points and Cam Ward added 10 off the bench. Darren Payen and Drew Urquhart both finished with nine points.
Warney and Carson Puriefoy combined for 66 of Stony Brook’s 80 points as Puriefoy finished with 23 to complement Warney’s 43. Only five players scored for the Seawolves and no other player had more than six points.
Stony Brook took a five-point lead about midway through the first half following a Puriefoy three-pointer but Vermont had an answer. Ethan O’Day stemmed the tide with a jump hook off the glass and then Duncan tied the game at 15 with his first of three tirfectas at the 8:25 mark.
Those two UVM buckets were part of a 12-3 run that wrapped up with a pair of Payen free throws and a 24-18 Vermont lead. The Cats closed the first half on a 10-2 spurt highlighted by another Duncan triple and a Dre Wills layup as time expired giving the visitors a 36-27 halftime lead.
Vermont had its way offensively to start the second half, extending its lead to 11 on a bucket from O’Day and then to 15 on an elbow jumper from Darren Payen. Bell-Hayes knocked down back-to-back threes with 12:26 to go to give the Cats a 14-point lead.
Stony Brook cut the lead to one when Lucas Woodhouse connected on a floater in the lane but it was Urquhart at the other end to stretch the lead back to four after an old-fashioned three-point play.
After Stony Brook tied the game once more, three-pointers from Duncan and Ward pushed the UVM lead back out to four with 4:22 to play but it was all Warney from there. The tournament’s most outstanding player scored 10 of Stony Brook’s final 16 points and sent his team dancing for the first time in program history.
O’Day and Bell-Haynes were both named to the all-tournament team for their efforts over the last two weeks in the America East Playoffs.
While Vermont’s quest for a sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament came up short, the Catamounts will hold out hope for a bid to another postseason tournament. Should the call come, it would be UVM’s eighth straight postseason appearance.