Merrimack Stops Stonehill, 73-58

Sophomore Jack Cole notched his fifth career double-double with a career-best 19 points and 11 rebounds today. (PHOTO BY Br. Charles McBride)

Skyhawks remain winless on the road as Cole notches double-double

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (January 5, 2013) – Merrimack College kept Stonehill College winless on the road this season with a 73-58 victory in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Hammel Court this afternoon.

Freshman Gelvis Solano (New York, N.Y./Health Professions) led four Merrimack players in double figures with 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, and converting a free-throw to go with four assists. Senior Tyler Young (Brooklyn, N.Y./Boys & Girls) posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds with five steals and two assists, while classmate Mike Clifford (Danvers, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) made all six of his shots from the field and both free-throw attempts for 14 points with six rebounds. Freshman J.T. Strickland (Laurel, Md./Georgetown Prep) chipped in 12 points, aided by 2-for-4 shooting from three-point range, three rebounds and three assists.

Sophomore Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) led Stonehill with his fifth career double-double (all this season) by netting a career and game-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field while converting all five free-throw attempts to go with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Senior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) was the only other Skyhawk in double-figures with ten points, five rebounds and three assists.

Merrimack shot 44.8-percent (30-for-67) from the field, including 7-for-16 (43.8%) from three-point range, and converted 6-of-7 free-throws (85.7%) free-throws. The Warriors turned the ball over just eight times, compared to 16 for Stonehill, and finished with a 20-6 advantage in points off turnovers to go with an 11-9 edge in second chance points despite being out-rebounded 37-34. Stonehill was limited to 39.2-percent (20-for-51) from the field, including 6-for-25 (24%) from beyond the arc, and converted just 12-of-20 (60%) free-throws. If you take out Cole's 7-for-9 shooting effort, the rest of the team was a combined 13-for-42 (30.9%) from the floor.

The game was tight through the first ten minutes before Merrimack began to pull away, opening a 12 point lead (31-19) after a three-pointer from Strickland with 6:56 left before halftime capped an 11-2 run. The Warriors pushed their lead to 14 (38-24) on a Strickland layup with 2:15 remaining before settling for a nine point (38-29) halftime margin.

Merrimack opened the second half with a 10-0 run to quickly push its lead to 19 (48-29) less than four minutes in. Clifford opened the frame with a layup and Solano converted a three-point play before junior Kevin Regan (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) buried a three and capped the run with a jumper.

Stonehill used a 12-2 run to close back within nine (50-41) after a three-pointer from freshman Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet) with 12:31 to play. The Skyhawks couldn't get any closer with the lead swinging between ten and 14 points until Merrimack sealed the win with a Solano three pointer with 5:18 to play and after a Cole basket with 3:58 on the clock, the Skyhawks wouldn't score again until the waning seconds. The Warriors pulled away with four points from Young and a Clifford basket to open an 18 point lead (73-55) with 37-seconds left.

Stonehill (6-5, 2-5 NE-10) looks to get on track away from home on Wednesday when it visits the University of New Haven for an NE-10 matchup at 7:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Saturday, January 12, to host The College of Saint Rose at 3:30 p.m. Merrimack (6-6, 3-4 NE-10) visits Adelphi University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

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