Stonehill Downs UMass Lowell, 72-59

Senior Andre Tongo led the Skyhawks scorers for the third straight game, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds and three steals. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Skyhawks turn up defense to pull away in the second half

EASTON, Mass. (November 30, 2011) – Stonehill College turned up the defense in the second half to win  72-59 going away over the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Stonehill held UMass Lowell to just 29.2-percent (7-for-24) shooting in the second half, including 3-for-11 (27.3%) from three-point range. The Skyhawks finished the game with a 27-9 advantage in points off turnovers, making the most of UMass Lowell's 17 giveaways while turning the ball over just 12 times themselves, and the hosts out-rebounded UML 40-34 and enjoyed a 24-2 advantage in bench scoring.

Senior Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) led Stonehill in scoring for the third-straight game with 17 points, shooting 3-for-6 from three-point range and converting all four free-throw attempts, to go with four rebounds and three steals. Junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) led the bench contingent with a career-high 15 points, shooting 5-for-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, and converting both free-throw attempts, to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 21 minutes.

Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) fell a point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine points and a game-high ten rebounds and two assists. Junior Sam Markle (Bethany, Conn./Saint Thomas More) finished with nine points, aided by a 7-for-9 effort from the line, while freshman Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) chipped in seven points and nine boards (five offensive).

Junior Adam Fazzini led a Stonehill bench that outscored the guests 24-2 with a career-high 15 points. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Sophomore Akeem Williams (Brockton, Mass./The Winchendon School) led the way for UMass Lowell with a game-high 21 points, shooting 8-for-18 from the field and converting 5-of-7 free-throws, to go with two rebounds. Sophomore Scotty Tavares-Taylor (Roxbury, Mass./Lexington) added 13 points, aided by 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, three assists and two steals. Junior Matt Welch (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) and sophomore Antonio Bivins (Miami, Fla./American) both chipped in with nine points and four rebounds.

Stonehill shot 35.6-percent (21-for-59) from the field, including 38.5% (10-26) in the second half when it hit 5-of-11 (45.5%) three-pointers, and converted 21-of-28 (75%) free-throws for the night. UMass Lowell finished shooting 38.8% (19-of-49) in the contest, including 48% (12-25) in the first half, and converted 66.7% (14-21) of its free-throw attempts. After connecting on 4-of-9 (44.4%) three-pointers in the first half, the River Hawks made just 3-of-11 (27.3%) in the second, to finish at 35% (7-20).

Stonehill held a one point (33-32) halftime lead and the teams went back and forth over the first five minutes of the second half. Tavares-Taylor drilled a three-pointer to put UMass Lowell up three (41-38) 5:14 into the frame, but the Skyhawks reeled off eight straight points, sparked by a three by sophomore Mitch Amelio (Carlsbad, Calif./La Jolla Country Day), to take a five point lead (46-41) after a three from Fazzini.

Stonehill used a 10-1 burst to open its first double-digit lead (56-46) of the night after a three-pointer from Tongo with 8:44 to play. Fazzini opened that burst with a three and Amelio and Markle both drained a pair of free-throws. Markle made one of two at the line to extend the lead to 11 (60-49) with 5:18 remaining and UMass Lowell closed the gap to seven (60-53) on a Welch three with 3:48 left.

Lee scored a layup and Markle drained two free throws to push the Stonehill lead back to 11 (68-57) with 1:08 remaining and the two combined to make four free-throws in the final 55-seconds to seal the Skyhawks second-straight win and fourth in five to open the season.

Cole and Tongo both buried three's to open the scoring on the night as Stonehill went on to hold an 8-2 lead after a Markle layup 3:10 into the game. UMass Lowell posted a 12-4 run over the next four minutes to take its first lead (14-12) after a Tavares-Taylor three with 12:47 left in the half.

A Fazzini three and Cole tip-in regained the lead (17-14) for Stonehill and the Skyhawks went on to claim an eight point advantage (31-23) after two Tongo free-throws with 3:29 left before intermission. UMass Lowell closed the frame out with a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to a point (33-32) at the break.

Stonehill (4-1, 3-1 NE-10) returns to action on Saturday when it visits Saint Michael's College for a Northeast-10 clash at 3:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Tuesday, December 6, to host Southern New Hampshire University at 7:30 p.m. UMass Lowell (4-3, 1-3 NE-10) hosts Merrimack College on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Highlights and Postgame Interviews