NCAA EAST REGIONAL: Second Half Runs Key #2 Stonehill Past #7 UDC, 65-61

Junior Brian Hamor scored 14 of his game-high 26 points in the second half to lead the Skyhawks past UDC in today's NCAA Tournament opener. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Hamor leads Skyhawks to seventh-straight win with 26 points
Stonehill to face #3 Adelphi Sunday at 5 p.m.

WORCESTER, Mass. (March 10, 2012) – Second-seeded Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's NABC Division II poll, held off a late charge to claim a 65-61 victory over 7th-seeded University of District of Columbia, also receiving votes nationally, in opening round action of the 2012 NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional, hosted by top-seeded Franklin Pierce University, at Andrew Laska Gymnasium on the campus Assumption College this afternoon.

Stonehill (22-8, 15-7 NE-10) advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year and will battle third-seeded Adelphi University (21-8, 16-6 NE-10), regular season co-champions in the Northeast-10, tomorrow night here at Laska Gym at 5 p.m. Adelphi advanced with a last-second 66-65 triumph over sixth-seeded LIU-C.W. Post (23-6, 15-1 ECC) in today's opening game. District of Columbia closes its season with a 22-6 record overall, 13-3 in the East Coast Conference, after making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004. The regional championship will be played here at Assumption on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Junior guard Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) led the way for Stonehill with a game-high 26 points (14 second half) as he hit 8-of-18 shots from the field, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, while converting 7-of-10 free-throws. Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) notched his ninth double-double of the season as he finished with 14 points (12 second half) and a career-high matching 14 rebounds (five offensive), shooting 6-for-13 from the field and converting both free-throw attempts on the afternoon.

Junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) again keyed a Stonehill bench that outscored the UDC reserves 13-3 with 11 points (all second half) on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, while converting both free-throw attempts, to go with two boards and two assists in 31 minutes. Freshman Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) chipped in with eight boards for the Skyhawks.

Junior Adam Fazzini scored all 11 of his points in the second half to key a Stonehill bench that outscored the UDC reserves 13-3. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Senior Dishawn Bradshaw (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances Academy) led District of Columbia with 24 points (15 second half) on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, while converting all four free-throw attempts, with five rebounds. Classmate Brandon Herbert (Baltimore, Md./McDonough) added 17 points and two steals, while junior Dyrek Jones (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bedford Academy) pulled down a game-high matching 14 rebounds with eight points. Senior Nigel Munson (Washington, D.C./DeMatha), who entered the game averaging over 19 points a contest, was limited to four points on 2-of-10 shooting, adding five assists and three boards.

Stonehill finished shooting 39.7-percent (23-for-58) from the field, including 36.4% (8-22) from three point range, while converting 11-of-14 (78.6%) free-throws. The Skyhawks connected on 5-of-10 (50%) three-pointers in the second half and held a 41-40 rebounding edge and committing just nine turnovers. UDC, shooting over 44-percent from the field for the year, was held to 35.9% (23-64) from the field today, but hit 8-of-16 (50%) three-pointers, and connected on just 7-of-12 (58.3%) free-throws. The Firebirds posted a 15-5 advantage for second chance points and turned the ball over just seven times.

Stonehill led by five (30-25) at halftime, but District of Columbia closed the gap to two on a Herbert jumper two minutes into the second half. Cole answered with bucket at the other end to keep the Skyhawks in front (32-28) with 17:53 to play. The sparked a 10-2 Stonehill run, keyed by three-pointers from Humor and Fazzini, to push the lead to a game-high matching ten 40-30 after a Lee layup with 15:47 remaining.

UDC closed within a possession again (40-37) on a layup by Jones with 11:47 on the clock. Stonehill was able to stave off the rally again, using an 11-2 run to take a 12 point (51-39) lead after a Lee layup with 8:29 remaining. Fazzini sparked the run with a three-pointer, while Hamor added another for the Skyhawks.

Postgame Press Conference

Five straight points for Fazzini extended Stonehill's lead to a game-high 15 (58-43) with a Fazzini three with 4:53 to play. The teams traded baskets and a Hamor drive with 2:45 to play looked to have sealed it (62-47) with 2:45 left. That would prove to be Stonehill's shot from the field in the game and Bradshaw scored seven straight points to pull the Firebirds within six (62-56) with 34-seconds to go on a Bradshaw three.

After Hamor drained two free-throws with 24-seconds to go, Bradshaw canned another three to pull UDC within five (64-59) with 17-seconds left.  Hamor was fouled again, but missed the front end and the Firebirds closed within three (64-61) with a Jones put back with seven seconds remaining. Hamor was fouled yet again, but this time made one of two to seal the Skyhawks season-best seventh straight win.

The opening nine minutes were back and forth before Stonehill opened the biggest cushion (19-13) with a Lee jumper with eight minutes to go in the half. UDC closed within two (19-17) with a layup by sophomore Ziad Ashmawy (Cairo, Egypt) with 6:41 left. Stonehill posted its first double-figure lead as a 9-1 Skyhawks run put them up ten (28-18) after a Hamor three with 3:03 to go. Bradford scored the Firebirds last seven points to close the gap to five (30-25) with a minute to go, where it would stand at halftime.