STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Senior Obadiah Noel (Frederick, Md.) logged his second straight 25+ point contest with a game-high 29, as the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s basketball team (2-6, 1-3 AE) dropped a hard-fought, 71-64 decision at Stony Brook (6-4, 4-0 AE) on Monday afternoon.
The contest was a close battle the entire way with eight lead changes and eight tied scores. The teams were tied for the final time at 56-56 with just over five minutes left to play before the Seawolves scored seven unanswered points to take the lead for good.
Noel went a personal-best, 15-for-16 (93.8%) from the foul line in the outing. Sophomore Darion Jordan-Thomas (Brockton, Mass.) matched a season-high with 12 points and added a career-high 13 rebounds for his first double-double.
The teams were deadlocked five times in the opening eight minutes of the contest, including at 11-11 after a second-chance layup from Jordan-Thomas. SBU snapped the stalemate with a triple from Juan Felix Rodriguez, but that bucket trigged four quick lead changes until sophomore Ron Mitchell (Philadelphia, Pa.) knocked down a three and freshman Max Brooks (Waldorf, Md.) added consecutive scores with a two-handed slam that put the River Hawks on top, 22-19, with 8:14 remaining in the first half.
The back-and-forth action continued with four more lead changes, although SBU would use a quick 7-2 spurt in the waning minutes to help the team take a 32-30 advantage into the break.
The Seawolves tallied the first six points of the second half to create the largest lead of the game yet, but graduate student Salif Boudie (Bamako, Mali) and junior Allin Blunt (Bowie, Md.) sunk back-to-back layups to cut the lead in half at 38-34 with less than 17 minutes to go.
Four minutes later, Noel and Jordan-Thomas combined to put the River Hawks back within four and Brooks threw down his second dunk of the afternoon to make it a one-possession game, 45-42, at 10:34. However, SBU maintained the upper hand until Jordan-Thomas banked in layups on consecutive possessions to knot the score, 52-52, for the first of three final stalemates down the stretch in the 71-64 decision.
The River Hawks will return home to host their next two conference opponents beginning on January 2-3 when they welcome America East newcomer NJIT to Costello Athletic Center.
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