Strong Stonehill Defense Shuts Down Saint Michael’s, 72-64

Sophomore Ryan Logan posted his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. (PHOTO BY Paul W. Fitzgerald Photography)

Skyhawks limit Purple Knights to 35-percent shooting for third straight win 

EASTON, Mass. (January 3, 2015) – Stonehill College held Saint Michael's College, among teams receiving votes in both the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and D2SIDA Top 25 polls, to 35-percent shooting to claim a 72-64 victory in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Stonehill held Saint Michael's, one of the top shooting teams in the NE-10, which entered the game shooting a league-best 44.8-percent from three-point range, to 35.4-percent shooting (23-for-65) overall, including 37.5% (9-for-24) from beyond the arc, while connecting on only 60% (9-of-15) of its free-throws for the afternoon. The Skyhawks connected at 40.7-percent (24-for-59) overall, including 43.3% (13-30) in the second half, while netting 10-of-27 (37%) three-pointers and converting at 70% (14-20) from the line. Stonehill also turned the ball over just seven times for the afternoon.

Junior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) led all scorers for Stonehill with a game-high 19 points (ten first half) on 7-of-10 shooting, including 5-for-7 from three-point distance, to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) notched his first double-double of the season (fourth career) with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds (five offensive) with five assists and three steals, shooting 6-for-13 from the floor. Junior Daniel Brix (Monroe Township, New Jersey/Saint Joseph) added 11 points, aided by 7-of-9 shooting from the free-throw line, two rebounds, two assists and a steals, while classmate Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) chipped in seven points, nine boards and a block off the bench.

Senior Mike Holton, Jr. (Portland, Oregon/The Winchendon School) paced Saint Michael's with 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting, including 3-for-7 from three-point range, while converting 3-of-4 free-throws to go with eight rebounds. Senior Corey Crawford II (Dover, Delaware/The Phelps School) added 13 points and nine rebounds, while classmate James Cambronne (De Bary, Florida/The Winchendon School) rounded out the Purple Knights double-figure scorers with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. Sophomore Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Maryland/North Point) grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds (six offensive) to go with nine points and two assists.

Junior Carter Smith scored a game-high 19 points for the Skyhawks, connecting on 5-of-7 three-pointers. (PHOTO BY Paul W. Fitzgerald Photography)

Stonehill never trailed, leading by as much as 12 points in the first half and 13 late in the second before closing out the win over a Saint Michael's team ranked third in the D2SIDA East Regional poll. The Skyhawks jumped out to an eight point lead (13-5) after a Cumpstone layup 5:19 into the game on their way to a 12 point cushion (19-7) after a Logan layup nine minutes in. Stonehill's lead was still eight (25-17) after a free-throw by senior Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) with 6:29 remaining in the half, when Saint Michael's closed all the way within one when a Holton, Jr., three-pointer capped a string of seven straight points for the visitors.

Smith drilled a three-pointer to push the lead back to four (30-26) with 2:10 left in the half and neither team would score the rest of the frame. Logan scored a layup for Stonehill to start the second half and the Skyhawks worked their lead to seven (42-35) with a Smith triple with 14:14 to go. Saint Michael's cut the gap to one again (44-43) on a Bonds layup with 11:19 on the clock after Crawford and senior Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Oregon/Sunset) buried three-pointers for the Purple Knights.

The teams traded three-point baskets over the better part of the next three minutes and then Stonehill got back to back triples from sophomore Jimmy Walsh (Manasquan, New Jersey/Manasquan) and Cumpstone to run its lead to a game-high 13 (65-52) with 4:39 remaining. That capped a streak of a combined six consecutive three-pointers for both teams, including four by the Skyhawks.

Saint Michael's scored eight straight points to draw within five (65-60) after a Bonds layup with 1:21 to go, but Stonehill closed the game out from there by hitting 7-of-9 free-throws in the final minute to close out the win. The Skyhawks held the Purple Knights to just an uncontested layup in the closing seconds as part of 1-of-6 shooting after the Bonds basket.

Stonehill (8-4, 4-3 NE-10) is right back in action at Merkert Gym on Wednesday when it hosts Adelphi University for an NE-10 matchup at 7:30 p.m. Saint Michael's (8-3, 4-2 NE-10) visits Franklin Pierce University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

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