By LARRY VAUGHT
Four straight years Stony Brook reached the America East Tournament championship game. Four straight years the Seawolves lost — by an average of five points — to miss the NCAA Tournament.
This year they overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat Vermont in the title game and now get a chance to play Kentucky Thursday night in Des Moines
“Our program has been knocking on the door,” Stony Brook head coach Steve Pikiell said. “It’s the hardest thing to do, to get to the NCAA Tournament.
“We played Kentucky a few years ago, and we know they have great players. It’s a program with tradition, a program with great players and a Hall of Fame coach.”
Senior center Jameel Warney, who had 43 points in the conference tourney title game, knows Kentucky has good guards.
“I watch them all the time. It’s going to be a fun challenge for us,” he said.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has not said Thursday would be fun, but he has said it will be a challenge in large part because of Warney. Warney has 2,109 points and 1,260 rebounds in his career.
He went to the same New Jersey high school as Kentucky freshman Isaiah Briscoe, who called Warney “a beast.”
Stony Brook at a Glance
RECORD: 26-6 (14-2 AEC)
LOCATION: Stony Brook, New York
COACH: Steve Pikiell
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Jameel Warney (19.8 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG, .636 FG%, 35.9 PER), Carson Puriefoy (15.1 PPG, 3.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.5 3ptFG, .401 3pt%), Ahmad Walker (10.4 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.0 SPG)