The 35th annual American East Championship Game was a game for the ages. Stony Brook and Albany met in the championship game for the second consecutive year, Stony Brook was looking to advance to their first ever NCAA Tournament while Albany was looking to advance to the Big Dance for the fifth time in program history.
Points were hard to come by in the first half and the game started out extremely slow, that was until Stony Brook finally got on the board at the 17 minute mark on a Carson Puriefoy floater. The story of the first half was without question the absence of Sam Rowley for Albany, Rowley went 0-7 from the field in the first half of play and he picked up 2 fouls. Now this was something out of the ordinary for Rowley as he averages roughly 14 points per game. Rowley wasn’t the only one who had an off first half; the entire Stony Brook team was shooting 2-16 from the field with just about 8 minutes left in the half which is equivalent to a disturbing 12.5%. The score at the end of the first half was 20-16 in favor of Stony Brook who ended the half on a 7-0 run. Stony Brooks, Jameel Warney led all scorers through one period of play with 12 pts.
The second half was thankfully much different, for Albany, Sam Rowley finally found his stride and shot 80% from the field (4/5) through the first 6 minutes of play; a substantial improvement from his 0/7 performance in the first half. For the Seawolves it was the play of the 6’0” junior guard Carson Puriefoy who led the charge for Stony Brook much of the second half. Puriefoy finished the afternoon with 23 points and came up with the big time shots for majority of the game. With roughly 1 minute left we started to see a change in momentum, Seawolves guard, Puriefoy couldn’t control the inbound pass and the ball deflected off the tips of his fingers and out of bounds sending the possession over to Albany; down by three with no timeouts left. The fans stood to their feet and the pep band began playing the ever popular “The Final Countdown” by the classic rock group Europe; fitting to say the least. The ball was inbounded to Mike Rowley who would be fouled by Stony Brooks Jameel Warney sending Rowley to the charity stripe. Rowely would make both free throws and brought the Great Danes to within one point of the lead with 21.7 seconds remaining. On the next possession Seawolves, Puriefoy got fouled and was sent to the line for a crucial two shots, he would make 1 and miss the second. Albany rebounded the ball on the Puriefoy miss, drove down the court kicked the ball back out to the 6’4” 200 lb. Peter Hooley who sunk the game winning three with 1.6 left in the game, sending the Albany Great Danes to the Big Dance by beating Stony Brook by a final score 51-50.
ALBANY 51, STONY BROOK 50
ALBANY – Peters 2-2, 0-0 4, Ennema 0-0, 0-0 0, S. Rowley 6-21, 2-3 14, Sanders 3-8, 2-2 8, Singletary 4-12, 3-4 11, Stire 1-1, 0-0 2, M. Rowley 0-3, 2-2 2, Baker 0-1, 0-0 0, Hooley 3-13, 3-4 10, Totals 19-61, 12-15 51
STONY BROOK – Warney 8-13, 4-8 20, McGrew 0-2, 0-0 0, Puriefoy 7-15, 5-9 23, Nyama 0-3, 0-0 0, Thrower 0-3, 0-0 0, Sturdivant 0-3, 0-0 0, King 1-5, 1-2 4, Petras 0-0, 0-0 0, Mitchell 1-3, 0-0 3, Sekunda 0-0, 0-0 0, Totals 17-47, 10-19 50
ALBANY 16 35—51
STONY BROOK 20 30—50
3-Pointers—Albany: Hooley; STB: Puriefoy 4, King, Mitchell
Fouled Out—Albany: Singletary