Stony Brook fans storm court after team advances to NCAA Tournament

Published Mar. 12, 2016 1:37 p.m. ET

For the very first time since becoming a Division I program in 1999, the Stony Brook Seawolves are going to the Big Dance. 

Stony Brook beat Vermont 80-74 on Saturday in the the America East championship game, and Seawolves star forward Jameel Warney scored a career-high 43 points on 18-of-22 shooting to match a tournament record. Stony Brook trailed by nine points at halftime and faced a 15-point deficit in the second half, but surged to the finish. After the final buzzer sounded, fans raced onto the court.

Top-seeded Stony Brook (26-6) had reached the tournament final four times in the past five seasons, including the past two years, and lost each time — each defeat seemingly more excruciating than the last. Last year, a 3-pointer with just seconds left by Albany kept the Seawolves out of the NCAAs.

"You have to go through last year, even though no one wants to hear it, to get to this place to not make these same kind of mistakes," Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.