Senior Andre Tongo scored a game-high 17 points, drilling 3-of-5 three-pointers, to help lead the Skyhawks to a key win over rival Bentley. (PHOTO BY Br. Charles McBride)
Skyhawks clinch third seed, first round bye in upcoming NE-10 Tournament
Stonehill (17-8, 13-7 NE-10) clinches a first round bye and home court advantage in the quarterfinal round of the upcoming NE-10 Tournament with the win. The Skyhawks, who are locked into the No. 3 seed for the tournament, will close out the regular season on Tuesday when it hosts Saint Anselm College at Merkert Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Stonehill will open the NE-10 tournament next Sunday, February 26, against the No. 6 seed at 1 p.m. Bentley (15-10, 11-10 NE-10) closes out the regular season at the University of Massachusetts Lowell on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Senior guard Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) and junior guard Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) combined for 32 points to lead the way for Stonehill. Tongo scored a game-high 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, to go with three rebounds. Hamor scored 13 of his 15 points in the opening half as he finished shooting 6-for-10 from the field, including 3-for-6 from deep, to go with five assists, three rebounds and a steal.
Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) added ten points, seven boards and two assists, while freshman Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) nearly notched a double-double with nine points, a game-best 11 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists. Junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) chipped in nine points, four rebounds and three steals off the bench.
Junior Brian Hamor scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half as the Skyhawks built a 24 point lead by the break. (PHOTO BY Marcus Snowden)
Stonehill finished shooting 49.2-percent (32-for-65) from the field, including 13-for-25 (52%) from three-point range, after hitting at 58.8% (20-34) from the floor in the first half to stake out a 24 point (49-25) halftime lead, drilling 9-of-14 (64.3%) three's in the opening frame. Seven of the nine Skyhawks who scored in the contest had a three-pointer, led by three each from Tongo and Hamor. Stonehill posted a 42-35 rebounding advantage and outscored Bentley 23-6 in points off turnovers.
Senior Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop) was the lone Bentley player in double-figures with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, including 1-for-3 from deep, while converting 6-of-7 free-throws to go with six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Freshman J.P. Koury (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) added eight points and a team-best seven rebounds, while classmate Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) chipped in six points and six boards.
Bentley, which dropped its fifth-straight decision, was held to 32.7-percent (18-for-55) shooting, including 27.3% (9-33) in the first half, while making just 7-of-25 (28%) three-pointers. Stonehill's 26 point winning margin is the largest for a Bentley opponent since the University of Massachusetts Lowell posted a 104-73 triumph during the 2003-04 season and marks the Falcons largest defeat at home since the University of Bridgeport posted a 108-77 victory in 1980-81.
Stonehill led wire-to-wire, scoring the first seven points of the contest on its way to a ten point lead (13-3) after a three-pointer from sophomore Mitch Amelio (Carlsbad, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) five minutes into the game. Three-pointers from Fazzini and Hamor pushed the Skyhawks lead to 14 (19-5) with 13:36 left in the opening half, as the squad connected on five of their first six tries from beyond the arc.
Bentley drew within eight (27-19) after a layup by freshman Jate Cheshul (Galloway, N.J./Holy Spirit) with 7:57 left in the opening half, but Stonehill used a 13-4 surge to open an 18 point lead (40-22) on a Hamor layup off his own steal with 5:31 to play in the half and the Skyhawks lead wouldn't dip below 15 points the rest of the contest.
Stonehill scored the final nine points of the opening half to carry a 24 point (49-25) lead into halftime, holding Bentley scoreless over the final five minutes of the frame and netting as many three's (nine) as the Falcons had field goals in the opening 20 minutes. The Skyhawks pushed the advantage to 28 (55-27) after a Lee layup three and a half minutes into the second half and they wouldn't let the Falcons within 20 the rest of the way. Stonehill's lead peaked at 30 (66-36) when Fazzini converted two free-throws on a Bentley bench technical with 12:02 remaining.
|Coach McLaughlin Postgame Interview