Jameel Warney scored 15 and had eight rebounds for the Seawolves (8-6), who also got 10 points and 14 rebounds from Rayshaun McGrew.
Washington (11-1) was paced by the 10 points each of Nigel Williams-Goss and Robert Upshaw. Upshaw also added 11 rebounds and four blocks.
“I’ve learned that when you come out of a performance like this, there’s something going on," UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said post-game. "Not like there’s internal conflict, but there’s something. We should have been ready to go. This came as a total surprise to me.
“Success is hard to handle, and I thought tonight we reverted to how we played a lot last year. Give Stony Brook credit; they challenged our shots. They were there, they played good position defense. They didn’t give us a whole lot of wide open looks.
“Stony Brook is picked to win their league, and I can see why. They did a good job, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit. We’ve played 12 games non-conference, and it was refreshing to see every time throughout this non-conference schedule our guys come up and meet the challenge. This one we didn’t. That’s not to discredit Stony Brook. Even early on they were shooting 16, 17 percent from the field - they were getting some wide open looks. We just didn’t have that extra edge about us tonight, from the outset."
Despite not having that edge, Washington still held a nine-point lead at intermission and found themselves up 16 with 13:43 left in the game after Williams-Goss hit a runner. But then the Seawolves started their barrage from deep. First it was Roland Nyama with one, then Mitchell began to bomb away. With seven minutes to play he hit his second three, then by the under-4 timeout he had hit two more to bring Washington’s advantage to only three.
“They were playing (Mitchell) on the weak side and we were concentrating so much on Warney they were able to get him,” Romar said. “We didn’t do a very good job of maintaining where he was, keeping him in our vision. He was a guy we talked about; he had a slow release, but if he got it off he could knock it down. He took six shots, but was 4-5 from three, all in the second half - and for them that was the difference in the game.”
Right after Mitchell’s second three-point shot came an Upshaw basket that was to be Washington’s last made shot. They finished the last 6:36 of regulation with eight missed jump shots and four turnovers.
“We had three transition opportunities we didn’t convert on,” Romar said of their offensive drought late in the game. “We got one blocked, and we turned it over twice. That was huge. Offensively we were so impatient tonight. Usually we average just over 15 assists a game, and tonight we weren’t looking to make that extra pass like we have been doing.”
A win Sunday would have given Romar something he’s only achieved once in his 13 years at Washington; an undefeated non-conference schedule. He’s come close before; in 2004-05 UW only lost one non-conference game. The next year they ran the table before losing to Arizona in double overtime.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Romar. “We would have loved to go undefeated, but again - if we look at the big picture - this team is not going to go ‘Woe is me because we’re 11-1’. We could be 1-11. There could be worse situations. We’ve been here 13 years and I think we’ve done this two or three times in 13 years. We’ve had a special non-conference. It’s unfortunate, we can’t let this happen again - but we’re not going to let this game make it seem like the season’s over, let’s shut down the program, because we’re 11-1.
“We gave up a great opportunity to go undefeated, but at the same time if you back it up to October and you would have said we’d go 11-1 - would you take it? Yes. We just have to make sure this isn’t a down slide. We have to make sure we come ready to go to the Bay Area to be our best.”
Williams-Goss echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“When you lose you’re going to be disappointed - obviously. No one is happy to lose. But we haven’t let one game define our season. We’ve got a big road trip coming up and our whole focus is on the next game.”
“We’ve got a group of strong guys; everybody on our team is strong, everybody has a strong will, and everybody know what we’ve done - so we’re not going to let one loss set us back,” added co-captain Andrew Andrews. “This time last year we had five losses. We have to get better. On any given night we can come in and we can drop a game like we did tonight.
“We’ve got room to grow. It just adds more fuel to the fire.”
Post-Game Video Interviews:
Nigel Williams-Goss and Andrew Andrews