Stonehill Earns No. 2 Seed in NCAA East Regional

The NE-10 Tournament Champion Skyhawks are seeded second for the NCAA Division II East Regional in Worcester next weekend. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Skyhawks will face 7th-seeded District of Columbia when regional opens Saturday in Worcester, hosted by top-seeded Franklin Pierce

EASTON, Mass. (March 4, 2012) – Northeast-10 Conference tournament champions Stonehill College has been awarded the No. 2 seed for the NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional after earning the NE-10's automatic bid with yesterday's 73-61 triumph over the University of Massachusetts Lowell at Merkert Gymnasium. The East Regional, hosted by top-seeded Franklin Pierce University but played at Laska Gymnasium at Assumption College, will run March 10, 11 and 13.

Stonehill will be making its 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament in program history, marking the fourth-straight year and fifth trip overall under the direction of ninth-year head coach David McLaughlin, who became the winningest coach in program history following the Skyhawks NE-10 quarterfinal win and boasts a 174-83 (.677) career record. Stonehill (21-8, 15-7 NE-10) will open the NCAA Tournament against seventh-seeded University of District of Columbia (22-5, 13-3 ECC), who earned an at large bid out of the East Coast Conference, in a first round matchup on Saturday. Game times will be announced on Monday.

The winner of Saturday's quarterfinal will face the winner of an opening round matchup between third-seeded Adelphi University (20-8, 16-6 NE-10), an at-large bid from the NE-10 after sharing the regular season title with Franklin Pierce, and sixth-seeded LIU-C.W. Post (23-5, 15-1 ECC), regular season and tournament champions from the ECC, on Sunday. The regional championship will be played on Tuesday night.

The remaining first round matchups on Saturday include: top-seeded Franklin Pierce (21-7, 16-6 NE-10) against eighth-seeded Philadelphia University (19-9, 13-4 CACC), an at large bid from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, and fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Lowell (19-10, 13-9 NE-10), an at large team from the Northeast-10, against the defending regional champions, Bloomfield College (24-7, 15-3 CACC), the CACC regular season and tournament champions.

Admission for the regional will be $10 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and college students presenting a valid University ID. All tickets can be purchased at Laska Gym on game days.

Stonehill earned the Northeast-10's automatic bid after topping UMass Lowell to claim the fourth NE-10 Tournament Championship in program history on Saturday afternoon. It marks the Skyhawks first tournament title since 1989, snapping a 23-year drought. Senior guard Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) earned Most Outstanding Player honors as he led Stonehill with a team-high 23 points (16 second half) on Saturday, shooting 7-of-14 from the field, including 4-fo-7 from three-point range, while converting 5-of-7 free-throws to go with five rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot. He averaged 23 points, 5.7 rebounds, three assists and three steals over the Skyhawks three NE-10 tournament wins as he shot 56.1-percent (23-41) from the field, including 10-19 (52.6%) from beyond the arc, and converted 13-of-15 (86.7%) free-throws for the week.

The winner of the men's East Region will advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, which will be held March 21-24 at the Bank of Kentucky Center in Highland Heights, Ky., and hosted by Northern Kentucky University

1-Seed ... Franklin Pierce University (21-7, 16-6 NE-10) ... NE-10 regular season co-champion (at-large bid)
2-Seed ... Stonehill College (21-8, 15-7 NE-10) ... NE-10 tournament champion (automatic bid)
3-Seed ... Adelphi University (20-8, 16-6 NE-10) ... NE-10 regular season co-champion (at-large bid)
4-Seed ... UMass Lowell (19-10, 13-9 NE-10) ... NE-10 (at-large bid)
5-Seed … Bloomfield College (24-7, 15-3 CACC) … CACC regular season & tournament champion (automatic bid)
6-Seed ... LIU-C.W. Post (23-5, 15-1 ECC) ... ECC regular season & tournament champion (automatic bid)
7-Seed ... University of District of Columbia (22-5, 13-3 ECC) ... ECC (at-large bid)
8-Seed ... Philadelphia University (19-9, 13-4 CACC) ... CACC (at-large bid)