Stonehill Wins Fourth Straight by Topping Pace, 73-68

Senior Andre Tongo netted a career-high 23 points to lead the first place Skyhawks to their fourth straight win. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Tongo nets career-high 23 points on perfect shooting from beyond the arc

EASTON, Mass. (January 28, 2012) – Stonehill College secured its fourth straight victory with a 73-68 decision over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium.

Senior guard Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) led Stonehill with a career-high 23 points as he made 8-of-15 shots from the field, including all five attempts from three-point range, while converting 3-of-3 free-throws to go with eight rebounds. Junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) and sophomore Mitch Amelio (Carlsbad, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) combined to score 23 points off the bench for the Skyhawks. Fazzini posted 13 points, aided by 7-of-8 shooting at the line, and four rebounds, while Amelio scored ten first half points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 2-for-5 from deep, and two assists.

Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) pulled down a game-high nine rebounds (six offensive), while freshman Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) chipped in eight points and seven boards.

Junior Keon Williams (Hackensack, N.J./Hackensack) led Pace with 17 points (11 second half), nine rebounds (five offensive), two steals and two blocked shots. Sophomore Denzel Primus-Devonish (Riverdale, Md./St. John's College) added 12 points and six assists, while classmate Jonathan Merceus (Union, N.J./Union) contributed ten points on 5-of-8 shooting and four rebounds (three offensive) in 16 minutes before fouling out. Sophomore Kai Smith (Upper Marlboro, Md./St. Mary's Ryken) chipped in ten points, three boards, two assists and two blocks.

Junior Adam Fazzini led a Skyhawks bench that outscored the Pace reserves 31-14 with 13 points. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Stonehill shot 43.6-percent (24-for-55) from the field, including 45.2% (14-31) in overcoming an early 12 point lead and taking a five point lead into halftime, while hitting 9-of-19 (47.4%) three-pointers and converting 16-of-22 (72.7%) free-throws. The Skyhawks finished with a 40-31 rebounding advantage and the bench outscored Pace's reserves 31-14 behind Fazzini and Amelio's efforts.

Pace shot 43.3-percent (26-for-60) from the field, draining 5-of-16 (31.3%) three-pointers and clicking at just 57.9% (11-19) at the line. The Setters took advantage of 18 turnovers to claim a 25-15 edge in points off turnovers, committing just 12 miscues themselves.

Pace raced out to an 11 point lead (15-4) 4:14 into the contest after three straight three-pointers, the latter two by Smith to cap a 13-1 run. The Setters extended their lead to 12 (18-6) following a Kevin Clark (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) three with 14:28 to play in the half. Pace made five of its first six (83.3%) three point attempts over the opening stretch to key the hot start.

Stonehill responded by scoring 13 of the next 14 points to knot the score (22-22) with 8:25 left in the frame after back to back three's from Amelio and Tongo. That was part of a larger 25-3 Skyhawks run that turned the 12 point deficit into a ten point lead (34-24) 5:13 before halftime after two straight three's by Fazzini and Tongo. The Skyhawks settled for a five point (39-34) halftime lead after Pace outscored the hosts 8-3 over the last 2:55.

Stonehill regained an eight point (46-38) cushion after a Tongo three 3:20 into the second half. A Cole layup stretched the Skyhawks advantage to ten (57-47) with 9:41 to play, but Pace trimmed the advantage to two (57-55) after a Williams layup ended a nearly two and a half minute scoring drought by both squads.

Stonehill held firm and posted an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to take an 11 point lead (68-57) after a pair of free-throws by Lee with 2:23 to play. Pace closed the gap to four (68-64) with a three point play by Primus-Devonish with 50-seconds remaining, but the Skyhawks would let the Setters any closer as a Lee dunk off a Tongo steal pushed the lead back to seven (73-66) and seal their fourth-straight win and sixth over the last seven to maintain its share of first place in the NE-10 standings.

Stonehill (14-5, 11-4 NE-10) is right back in action here at Merkert Gym on Tuesday when it hosts Franklin Pierce University for a key NE-10 clash at 7:30 p.m. Pace (9-10, 7-8 NE-10) hosts American International College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Highlights and Postgame Interviews