IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa’s coaching staff spent Wednesday night and all day Thursday becoming familiar with the players on Stony Brook’s basketball roster.
But one of them needed no introduction.
“They’ve got Jameel Warney,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I’m very familiar with him. We offered him (a scholarship). We tried to get him to come out here. He wanted to stay back East.”
Warney, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward from Plainfield, N.J., is the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for a Seawolves team that meets Iowa in a second-round NIT game at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Warney averages 12.2 points and 7.2 rebounds for the America East regular-season champions, who bring a 25-7 record into the game. Warney was named the league’s rookie of the year and was also a second-team all-conference selection.
When he signed with Stony Brook, coach Steve Pikiell predicted Warney would be the best big man to ever play at the school.
“The big schools just gobble those guys up,” Pikiell told Newsday. “It’s so hard to get a big guy.”
Warney is just part of a well-decorated cast that comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a game that will be televised by ESPNU. Pikiell was named America East coach of the year for a third time. Senior forward Tommy Brenton was named the America East player of the year and defensive player of the year.
“We’re going to have to lock in,” Iowa senior Eric May said of the small window for game preparation. “Nobody doubts the ability of our coaches to get us ready. They’ll have us knowing these guys inside and out. We’ll do what we’ve done all year. We’ll lock into the scouting report, put the hours in and get it done.”
Defense is a Stony Brook trademark. The Seawolves are third nationally in field-goal percentage defense at 37.5 percent, and 12th in scoring defense at 57.0. After winning its third America East regular-season title in four years, Stony Brook didn’t make the NCAA Tournament after losing at Albany in the tournament semifinals, 61-59.
Seeded seventh, Stony Brook got to the second round of the NIT by knocking off No. 2 seed Massachusetts Wednesday in Amherst, Mass., 71-58. The Seawolves lead the nation in true road wins with 13. They’ll be playing an Iowa team that is 17-2 at home this season and has won 18 straight games against unranked opponents.
The sellout crowd of 15,400 that attended the Hawkeyes’ 68-52 victory Wednesday against Indiana State was more than double any other first-round NIT game. A crowd of 7,511 saw host BYU beat Washington. The other 14 games had crowds or 5,018 or less.
“When you look at the (Indiana State) game and last year’s (NIT) game with Dayton, it was so much louder,” Iowa’s Aaron White said. “The fans were so much more into the game. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t get to come to games during the regular season or what. But it was really exciting in the locker room when we heard Stony Brook upset Massachusetts and we got to play (at home) again. We’re all really excited.”
FRIDAY’S IOWA MEN’S GAME
WHO: Stony Brook (25-7) at Iowa (22-12)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City.
TIPOFF: 8:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $15 adults, $5 youth (18-under) and UI students.
RADIO: WHO-AM (1040) and Hawkeye Radio Network.
STAT LEADERS: For the Seawolves – Jameel Warney 12.2 ppg; Tommy Brenton 8.6 rpg; Brenton 4.8 apg; For the Hawkeyes – Devyn Marble 14.4 ppg; Aaron White 6.1 rpg; Anthony Clemmons 2.9 apg.
ABOUT THE SEAWOLVES: Stony Brook is one of just 11 teams to win their conference regular-season championship in at least three of the last four years.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Iowa blocked four shots against Indiana State on Wednesday, giving it 170 for the season. That moved this team up to second on the school’s single-season blocks list. The 2004-05 team blocked a record 174 shots.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: A victory today would tie this Hawkeye team for fourth on the school’s single-season victory list. Five other teams have won 23 games. Iowa won 24 games in 1987-88; 25 in 2005-06; and 30 in 1986-87.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball