NCAA EAST REGIONAL: Second Half Surge Leads #2 Stonehill Past #3 Adelphi, 68-58

Junior Brian Hamor led the Skyhawks with a game-high 21 points, converting all eight free-throw attempts in the closing minutes. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Hamor leads all scorers with 21 points, including 14 second half, as Skyhawks advance to regional final for first time since 2006

WORCESTER, Mass. (March 11, 2012) – Second-seeded Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's NABC Division II poll, shot 50-percent from the field in the second half on its way to a 68-58 triumph over third-seeded Adelphi University in second 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 of Assumption College tonight.

Stonehill (23-8, 15-7 NE-10) advances to the East Regional Championship for the first time since 2006 when it claimed its first regional title in program history on its way to the national semifinals in Springfield, Mass. The Skyhawks will face fifth-seeded Bloomfield College (26-7, 15-3 CACC), the defending regional champions, on Tuesday here at Laska Gym at 7 p.m. The Deacons advanced with a 69-60 victory over top-seeded Franklin Pierce University (22-8, 16-6 NE-10) in tonight's second semifinal. Adelphi wraps up its season with a 21-9 record overall, including a 16-6 Northeast-10 clip and a share of the regular season conference title.

Junior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) led Stonehill for the second straight night with a game-high 21 points (14 second half) on 5-of-14 shooting from the field, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range, while converting all eight of his free-throws in the closing minutes. He also added six rebounds, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot over 34 minutes.

Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) nearly notched a double-double for the second straight game as he added ten points, aided by a 4-for-5 effort at the free-throw line, with a game-high nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. Freshman Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) added 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 at the line with seven boards and a blocked shot.

Senior Robert Johnson (New Rochelle, N.Y./Tuckahoe) scored all 14 of his points in the second half, making 5-of-10 shots in the final 20 minutes. Junior Bradley Simpson (Goulburn, Australia) added 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including his lone three-point attempt, with eight rebounds, while senior Norron McDonald (Brooklyn, N.Y.Benjamin Banneker) provided ten points off the bench on 5-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds.

Senior Patrick Lee nearly notched his second-straight double-double with ten points and a game-high nine rebounds. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Stonehill shot 50-percent (11-for-22) from the field in the second half, including 3-for-7 (42.9%) from three-point range, to finish shooting 38.5% (20-52) overall, including 5-for-17 (29.4%) from long range, to go with 23-for-26 (88.5%) shooting at the line (all second half). Adelphi shot 41.2-percent (21-51) from the field, but just 37.5% in the second half, connecting on just 3-of-13 (23.1%) three-pointers overall and shot 13-for-18 (72.2%) from the line. The Panthers finished with a 34-33 rebounding average, but the Skyhawks rallied from a minus eight (21-13) rebounding margin at halftime.

After a first half that featured five lead changes, Adelphi opened the second half scoring with a Simpson layup for a three-point lead (23-20) 16-seconds in. Stonehill followed with a 16-0 run over the next six-plus minutes to take a 13 point lead (36-23) after a Hamor three with 14:46 to play. Hamor had six points in all during that stretch, while junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) hit a triple as well.

Stonehill held Adelphi without a field goal for 7:42 in building a 14 point lead (39-25) after a jumper from junior Raheem May-Thompson (London, England/Towson (Md.) Catholic) with 13:26 to play. Simpson broke the Adelphi drought with his second basket with 13:02 left. Brown added a three-pointer to pull the Panthers within 11 (41-30) with 11:59 remaining, but Stonehill extended the lead to a game-high 16 (48-32) as Cole made one of two at the line with 8:33 to play.

Adelphi wouldn't go without a fight, scoring nine straight points to cut the lead to seven after two Richard Harkins (Bellmore, N.Y./Long Island Lutheran) free-throws with 6:13 left. Johnson sparked the run with five-straight points, including a three-pointer. Stonehill regained a 12 point cushion (53-41) after two Hamor free-throws with 5:39 to go, keyed by a three-point play by Lee.

Adelphi closed again, drawing within five (53-48) after two Simpson free-throws with 4:01 to go as Stonehill scored just one field goal over the final 9:22 and none in the final 5:49. The Skyhawks held firm and sealed their season-high eighth straight win by draining 18 of its final 19 free-throw attempts, including their last ten in the final minute, while forcing the Panthers to miss four of its final five shots in the closing 2:13 to pull away.

Stonehill scored the first eight points of the contest, including five from Hamor to go with a Fazzini three-pointer, to gain the early advantage five minutes into the game. Junior Chris Ranglin (Yonkers, N.Y./Gorton) broke the Adelphi drought and sparked an 11-0 to put the Panthers in front (11-8) after a Simpson jumper with 11:25 left in the half. The teams went back and forth the rest of the half with the Panthers carrying a one point (21-20) lead into the intermission despite scoring just two points in the final 5:37 of the half.

Stonehill Postgame Press Conference