Senior Andre Tongo led the Skyhawks with a career-best 22 points, shooting 5-for-11 from three-point range. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Tongo and Lee combine for 42 points as Skyhawks erase seven point deficit in final minute of regulation
Seniors Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) and Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) combined for 42 points to lead the way for Stonehill. Tongo made 5-of-11 three-pointers and converted 7-of-8 free-throws in netting a career-high 22 points with three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Lee made 10-of-14 shots from the field to finish with a career-best 20 points, to go with nine rebounds and three steals.
Junior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) posted his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high ten assists, while classmate Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) provided a spark off the bench with a season-high nine points, shooting 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, and a career-high eight rebounds (four offensive).
Senior guard Wayne Mack (Paterson, N.J./Paterson Catholic) led Merrimack with a double-double effort of 23 points and 11 rebounds, adding four steals and two assists in 45 minutes, shooting 11-for-18 from the field. Junior Tyler Young (Brooklyn, N.Y./Boys and Girls) provided a double-double off the bench with ten points and ten rebounds, while senior Roland Davis (Deer Park, N.Y./St. Dominic's) posted 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Senior Aaron Strothers (Wareham, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) chipped in ten points, five boards and two blocked shots.
Stonehill finished shooting 36.1-percent (26-for-72) from the field, including 43.8% (14-32) in the second half after hitting just 8-of-35 (22.9%) shots in the opening frame. After going 0-for-12 from three-point range in the first half, the Skyhawks hit six three's (on 17 attempts) in the second and canned 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in the overtime period. Stonehill also converted 13-of-18 (72.2%) free-throw attempts, compared to 3-of-7 (42.9%) for Merrimack. Both teams collected 47 rebounds, with Stonehill posting a 17-11 advantage in points off turnovers, as the Skyhawks committed just 11 turnovers to 16 for the Warriors.
Senior Patrick Lee also posted a career-high with 20 points, to go with nine rebounds and three steals. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Merrimack shot 40.3-percent (29-for-72) from the field, including 51.6% (16-31) in the second half, but made just 3-of-19 three's (15.8%).
Stonehill trailed by seven (58-51) after a Mack layup with 46-seconds to play. He was fouled on the play, but missed his first of two free-throws in the final minute to set the stage for the Skyhawks comeback. Tongo buried a three at the other end to draw Stonehill within four with 35-seconds remaining. The Skyhawks forced a turnover on the inbounds pass coming out of the timeout and Tongo was fouled going to the basket and sank both free-throws to pull the hosts within two with 24-seconds left.
Stonehill fouled Mack again with 19-seconds to go and the senior missed the front end of his one and one with Fazzini pulling in the rebound. The Skyhawks pushed the ball to the other end and Hamor worked his way around to the right side for a driving layup with three seconds left that knotted the score. Merrimack was unable to get a shot off at the other end, sending the game to overtime.
Fazzini opened the overtime with a three and Stonehill wouldn't trail again. Merrimack forced the seventh tie of the contest (64-64) on a Strothers layup with 1:52 remaining, but Tongo buried a three to put the Skyhawks up for good with 1:26 to play. Stonehill scored the final nine points of the contest, with Lee netting a jumper with 34-seconds to go and then Tongo and Hamor both canned a pair of free-throws in the final 15-seconds to seal the victory.
Merrimack used a 13-4 run over an eight minute stretch to open a nine point lead (24-15) after a Mack layup with 1:55 remaining in the first half. The Warriors held Stonehill scoreless for a nearly seven minute stretch during that run.
Merrimack's lead was still nine (28-19) after a Mack jumper 1:43 into the second half, when Stonehill posted a 14-4 run to take the lead (33-32) after a layup from junior Sam Markle (Bethany, Conn./Saint Thomas More) with 14:16 to play. Lee scored six points and Tongo five for the Skyhawks during that run.
Merrimack responded by scoring six quick points, to regain a five point cushion (38-33) after a Davis layup with 12:52 left. The Warriors pushed the lead to seven (48-41) on a Young dunk with 9:22 remaining and the lead was eight (52-44) after a Young layup with 7:57 to go. Merrimack's advantage was still seven (56-49) after a Mack layup with 5:15 to play and neither team would score for the next three minutes.
After a Hamor layup broke the drought with 2:29 to play, Mack scored Merrimack's final points of regulation with his layup that regained the seven point advantage (58-51) with 46 ticks to go.
Stonehill (3-1, 2-1 NE-10) is right back in action here at Merkert Gym on Wednesday when it hosts the University of Massachusetts Lowell for an NE-10 matchup at 7:30 p.m. Merrimack (4-3, 1-2 NE-10) visits Saint Anselm College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
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