Junior Brian Hamor has led the Skyhawks through the first two NCAA Tournament wins with back to back 20-plus point outings. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Second-seeded Skyhawks must go through defending East Region Champions for second regional title in program history and return to Elite 8
Admission is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students, children and senior citizens. Children under 2 will be admitted at no charge and tickets can be purchased at Laska Gym on game days. The game will be webcast live and free of charge via www.packnetwork.com, with links also available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com. Stonehill will also be offering an interactive live in-game blog, through Cover-it-Now, via the official website of Skyhawks athletics, with updates also posted on the Skyhawks' Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Second-seeded Stonehill (23-8, 15-7 NE-10) reached the "Sweet 16" with a 68-58 victory over third-seeded Adelphi University in Sunday night's regional semifinal after opening with a 65-61 triumph over seventh-seeded University of District of Columbia on Saturday afternoon. Junior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) led Stonehill against Adelphi 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. Hamor is averaging 23.5 points so far in the NCAA Tournament, shooting 40.6-percent (13-for-32) from the field, including 6-for-9 (66.7%) from three-point range, while converting 15-of-18 (83.3%) free-throws, to go with four rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per contest. The Skyhawks have won six straight games at Assumption's Laska Gym dating back to a 64-62 loss to the Greyhounds in February 2008.
Fifth-seeded Bloomfield (26-7, 15-3 CACC) staged a pair of upsets over Northeast-10 members on its way to a second-straight appearance in the regional championship, opening with a 91-83 victory over fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Lowell in Saturday's opening round before eliminating top-seeded and host Franklin Pierce, 69-60, last night. Sophomore guard Terry Hicks (Neptune, N.J./Neptune) drilled a career-best seven three-point field goals and finished with a team-high 21 points Sunday night against Franklin Pierce, while CACC Co-Player of the Year Ahmad Harris (Linden, N.J./Linden) posted a team-best 23 points, which included a 13-of-15 clip from the free-throw line, against UMass Lowell. The Deacons have posted five-straight wins over NE-10 opposition at the NCAA Tournament, including three wins on the way to the 2011 regional championship.
Senior Patrick Lee is averaging a double-double for Stonehill at the regional after being named the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year this winter. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Tomorrow night will mark the third NCAA Tournament meeting between these two programs, with each notching wins on their way to their first regional championships and Elite Eight appearances in program history. Bloomfield posted a 79-66 victory as the No. 7 seed over third-seeded Stonehill in the regional semifinal last March in Waltham, Mass., as Gage Daye poured in a game-high 31 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. Current sophomore Kevin Udo (West Orange, N.J./St. Peter's Seminary) contributed 14 points, on 7-of-9 shooting, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Stonehill opened the 2006 East Regional in Easton, Mass., with a 96-77 victory over the Deacons on its way to their lone regional title in program history as Nick Smith scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed ten rebounds to lead five players in double figures. Current Skyhawks assistant coach Chris Kraus added 12 points in the win.
Stonehill enters tomorrow night's regional final winners of a season and region-best eight straight and nine of ten. The Skyhawks, who won their fourth NE-10 Tournament Championship in program history, but first since 1989, last week, is participating in a program-record fourth-straight NCAA Tournament by way of the NE-10's automatic bid. It marks the fifth trip under head coach David McLaughlin and the 12th in program history overall. McLaughlin, who guided Stonehill its first regional title and trip to the Final Four in 2006, has become the winningest coach in program history this season with his 176-83 (.680) career mark, surpassing Hall of Famer Ray Pepin (171-151/.531).
Stonehill is one of the top defensive teams in the country, allowing a Northeast-10 Conference-low 58.4 points per game (4th nationally), .395 opponents field goal percentage (11th) and .313 three-point field goal percentage (33rd), with a league best 4.5 blocked shots per game (22nd), while also ranking third in rebounding margin (+3.1/gm), first for offensive rebounds (12.1) and second for fewest turnovers per game (12.5). The Skyhawks are ninth in the NE-10 for scoring (67.0 ppg), third in three-point shooting percentage (.377) and third with 37.6 rebounds per game.
Hamor, a second team All-Northeast-10 selection this winter, leads Stonehill with 14.1 points (14th NE-10), 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists (11th) in a team-best 32 minutes per game, shooting 40.7-percent from the field, including 36.8% (50-136) from three-point range, while converting 74% (114-154) of his free-throws. He scored 13 points off the bench in last year's NCAA Tournament matchup against Bloomfield to lead all Stonehill returnees from that contest. Hamor is averaging 15.3 points on 45.3% shooting, including 13-for-26 (50%) from three-point range, while converting 83.8% of his free-throws during Stonehill's current eight game winning streak.
Junior Adam Fazzini is shooting 5-for-10 from three-point range this weekend, averaging 9.5 points per game at the regional. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Senior Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough), the NE-10 Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, is averaging 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and a team-best 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 40.4% from the field, including 39.1% (68-174) from three-point range (17th), while converting 72.7% (56-77) of his free-throws. He is averaging a team-best 16 points per game in the postseason on 48.1% shooting, including 12-for-27 (44.4%) from three-point range, while converting 16-of-19 (84.2%) free-throws to go with 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals over the five postseason contests.
Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius), the NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year and a third team All-Conference pick, contributes 10.9 points and a team-best 8.8 rebounds (2nd NE-10) to go with 28 blocked shots (9th), while shooting 49.3-percent shooting from the field (18th). He is averaging a double-double through two NCAA Tournament games this season with 12 points and 11.5 boards per game. Junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) leads a Stonehill bench that outscores opponent reserves by an average of 6.1 points per game (20.0-13.9) with 9.0 points per game on 42.9% shooting from the field, including a Conference-best 45.7% (43-97) from beyond the arc.
Bloomfield is making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance this season, reaching its second-straight regional final. The Deacons topped top-seeded and host Bentley University, 75-71, to earn a trip to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. Bloomfield ranks second in the CACC in scoring with 75.3 points per game, while ranking fourth in scoring defense (68.6). The Deacons lead the CACC with 43.4 rebounds per game, including a league-best 16.6 offensive boards per game, and rebounding margin (+6.1) – nearly four rebounds per game better than the second-best team in the CACC for rebound margin.
Senior captain Matt Wafula (Harlem, N.Y./St. Agnes) is averaging a team-high 16.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, shooting 49.1-percent from the field and converting 75.3% (116-154) of his free-throws. Hicks averages 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and two assists per contest, while Harris contributes 10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
The winner of tomorrow night's game will represent the East Region at 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. The East regional winner will face the Atlantic Region championship between top-seeded and host West Liberty University, ranked No. 3 in this week's NABC Division II poll, and second-seeded Shaw University, ranked seventh in the country, being played tomorrow night in West Liberty, W.V., in a national quarterfinal on Wednesday, March 21.
2012 NCAA Division II
East Regional Tournament
hosted by Franklin Pierce University
at Laska Gymnasium on the campus of Assumption College, Worcester, Mass.
Saturday, March 10 (Quarterfinals)
#3 Adelphi 66, #6 C.W. Post 65
#2 Stonehill 65, #7 District of Columbia 61
#1 Franklin Pierce 59, #8 Philadelphia 58
#5 Bloomfield 91, #4 UMass Lowell 83
Sunday, March 11 (Semifinals)
#2 Stonehill 68, #3 Adelphi 58
#5 Bloomfield 69, #1 Franklin Pierce 60
Tuesday, March 13 (Championship)
#2 Stonehill (23-8) vs. #5 Bloomfield (26-7), 7 p.m.