Bramanti Lifts Stonehill Past Merrimack at the Buzzer, 91-88 (OT)

Junior Carter Smith netted a season-high 24 points, including the tying basket to force overtime with nine seconds remaining. (PHOTO BY Paul W. Fitzgerald Photography)

Smith nets 13 of his team-high 24 points after halftime, including tying basket with nine seconds left to force overtime 

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (November 19, 2014) – Junior guard Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet) buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift Stonehill College to a 91-88 overtime victory at Merrimack College in the Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball opener for both at Bert Hammel Court tonight.

Bramanti's off-balance three from the right side gave Stonehill its only lead of the overtime session and first lead since 3:30 remaining in regulation. He finished with 13 points (ten first half) on 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with five rebounds, five assists and a steal. Junior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) paced the Skyhawks with a season-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 6-for-10 from three-point range, hitting jumper with nine seconds to play in regulation that forced overtime.

Senior Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) was also among the five Stonehill players in double-figures with 13 points, shooting 5-for-6 from the floor, with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) added 14 points and seven boards, while freshman Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) chipped in with 12 first half points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Stonehill shot 50-percent (29-for-58) from the field, including 15-for-27 (55.6%) from three-point range, posting a 44-35 rebounding margin and overcoming a 25-5 shortfall in points off turnovers. The Skyhawks converted 9-of-16 triples (56.3%) in the opening half and carried a seven point lead into the break. Merrimack finished shooting 45.5% (35-77) from the field, including 50% (17-34) in the second half.

Junior Adam Bramanti scored the winning basket as time expired, finishing with 13 points. (PHOTO BY Paul W. Fitzgerald Photography)

Merrimack squandered a game-high 36 points from junior Gelvis Solano (New York, New York/Health Professions) on 15-of-30 shooting from the field, including 4-for-13 from deep, converting both free-throws to go with four rebounds, two assists and five steals. Classmate JT Strickland (Laurel, Maryland/Georgetown Prep) added 12 points on 6-of-12 shooting with six rebounds, eight assists and a steal, while junior Troy Hammel (Valencia, California/Valencia) contributed 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Stonehill fought back from a four point (86-82) deficit midway through the overtime session after a pair of free-throws from Hammel. Smith knotted the score (86-86) for Stonehill with 1:50 to play, but Solano put Merrimack back in front with a layup with 1:10 to go. Logan pulled the Skyhawks even again with a layup with 52-seconds remaining and then the Warriors missed a three-pointer at the other end to set up Bramanti's game-winning basket after a Stonehill timeout.

Stonehill led by as much as 12 on three occasions in the first half before settling for a seven point halftime lead (44-37) after a Solano three-pointer late in the frame. Bess canned 4-of-5 three-pointers for his 12 first half points, including one with 3:20 left in the half for a 12 point cushion (40-28). The Skyhawks worked the lead back to nine (54-45) after a Smith three two and a half minutes into the frame.

Merrimack drew even (59-59) with a layup by sophomore Riley Calzonetti (Neptune Beach, New Jersey/Point Pleasant Beach) with 13:27 remaining. Strickland gave the Warriors the lead (62-61) with a layup with 11:17 to play, extending the lead to five (71-66) after a Solano three with 9:24 on the clock. Stonehill reclaimed the lead and held a three point advantage (76-73) after a Smith layup with 3:50 left.

The lead see-sawed back to Merrimack for a four point lead (80-76) after a Hammel layup with 68-seconds remaining. Cole scored inside to cut the Warriors lead to two (80-78) and then after a turnover at the other end, Smith canned the tying basket with a leaner with nine-seconds to go to extend the game to overtime.

Stonehill (3-0, 1-0 NE-10) is back in action on Saturday when it visits rival Bentley University for a Northeast-10 matchup at 3:30 p.m. The Skyhawks home opener is next Tuesday, November 25, when they host Franklin Pierce University at 7:30 p.m. Merrimack (2-1, 0-1 NE-10) visits Franklin Pierce on Sunday at 2 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.