Stonehill Hangs On Against Bentley, 73-72

Senior Jack Cole celebrated senior night with a dominant game inside for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Cole powers Skyhawks into third place in division standings with 20 points 

EASTON, Mass. (February 21, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked eighth in the inaugural NCAA Division II East Regional rankings of the season and tenth in the D2SIDA East Regional poll, held on down the stretch to claim a 73-72 triumph over rival Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Stonehill's lone senior, Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence), led four Skyhawks in double figures as he scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half to power the team to an eight point (39-31) lead at the intermission. He made 9-of-11 shots from the field, including 7-of-8 in the first half, while converting 2-of-3 free-throws to go with nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Junior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) added his first double-double of the season (fourth career) with ten points and a season and team-high 11 rebounds off the bench to go with two blocked shots and a steal.

Junior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) scored 11 of his 16 points in the opening half as he finished shooting 6-for-12 from the field, including 4-for-6 from three-point range, with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) rounded out the Skyhawks in double figures with 15 points to go with six boards, three assists, a block and steal.

Senior Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland) led all scorers with a game-high 27 points for Bentley on 10-of-17 shooting, including 2-for-7 from beyond the arc, while converting 5-of-7 free-throws and grabbing a game-best 12 rebounds for a double-double. Junior Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills) scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half to go with eight rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals, while classmate Shaq Phelps (Linden, New Jersey/Linden) posted 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 2-for-2 from deep, with six boards. Senior JP Koury (Red Bank, New Jersey/Christian Brothers Academy) chipped in ten points, five rebounds and two assists.

Junior Pierce Cumpstone polished off his first double-double of the season to help lead the Skyhawks to the big win tonight. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Stonehill shot 42.9-percent from the field (27-for-63), including 7-for-17 (41.2%) from three-point range, on the night. The Skyhawks bench outscored the Bentley reserves 18-4 and they held the Falcons to 37.9-percent shooting (25-66), including 6-for-23 (26.1%) from beyond the arc.

Stonehill led by eight at the break (39-31) on a combined 26 points from Cole and Logan. The Skyhawks used a 9-1 spurt to open a 15 point lead (56-41) after a pair of free-throws by freshman Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) with 12:19 to play. Stonehill stretched its lead to 18 (68-50) with a layup from sophomore Jimmy Walsh (Manasquan, New Jersey/Manasquan) with 6:20 left.

Bentley wouldn't go down quietly, reeling off 14 straight points to climb back into the game and cut the deficit to four (68-64) after a Koury layup with three minutes still to play. Stonehill was able to hold the Falcons off despite going the final 6:20 without a field goal. Free-throws by Cole and Cumpstone pushed the Skyhawks lead back to seven (71-64) with 1:51 on the clock, but Bentley scored six straight trim the lead to a single point (71-70) after a Phelps layup with 38-seconds left.

Logan made one of two at the free-throw line and after Bentley missed twice on its next trip before turning the ball over, Logan split two free-throws again to put Stonehill up three with five seconds to go. Koury was fouled leaning into a three-pointer with 0.4-seconds left at the other end, giving the Falcons a chance to force overtime at the free-throw line. However, Koury missed all three and although Hyland got his hand on the tip-in, it was not enough as Stonehill was able to secure the win.

Stonehill (18-8, 13-7 NE-10) closes out the regular season on Tuesday night when it visits Saint Anselm College, ranked third in the NCAA East Regional rankings and sixth in the D2SIDA East Regional poll, at 7:30 p.m. The Skyhawks have already clinched a spot in the upcoming NE-10 Tournament and moved into third place in the Northeast Division standings with tonight's win and a Saint Michael's College loss at Southern New Hampshire University today. Stonehill can finish no higher than third in the standings as it wouldn't win out on tiebreakers if they forced a tie with Saint Anselm with a win on Tuesday night. Bentley (15-11, 10-10 NE-10) visits Franklin Pierce University on Tuesday night with a playoff spot on the line at 7:30 p.m.

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