Men's Basketball Survives at Franklin Pierce, 81-79

Senior Carter Smith led the Skyhawks with 23 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point distance. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Smith nets 23 as Skyhawks bury 14 three-pointers  

RINDGE, N.H. (February 6, 2016) – Stonehill College, ranked sixth in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, survived a second half Franklin Pierce University rally to claim an 81-79 victory in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at the Franklin Pierce Fieldhouse this evening.

Senior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) led Stonehill to its eighth win in ten games, snapping Franklin Pierce's four game upswing, with 23 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, including 5-for-6 from three-point distance, while converting all six free-throws to go with three assists and two steals. Classmate Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) notched a double-double for the second straight game and seventh this season overall (11th career) with 18 points and a game-high ten rebounds with three assists as he made 6-of-10 shots and converted 5-of-6 free-throws.

Senior Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) added 14 points, three rebounds and two assists, while junior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) registered 11 points, eight boards and five assists. Senior Daniel Brix (Monroe Township, New Jersey/Saint Joseph) chipped in with eight rebounds, while sophomore Joel Berroa (Lawrence, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) made all three of his shots from the floor, including a three-pointer, for nine points off the bench.

Junior Donte Gittens (Hartford, Connecticut/The Master's School) led Franklin Pierce with a game-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three-point distance, to go with eight rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Senior Tyler Iacuone (Mahopac, New York/Archbishop Stepinac) added 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor, including 5-for-6 from beyond the arc, with six rebounds (three offensive) and four assists. Junior Matt Banton (Brooklyn, New York/Transit Tech) contributed 17 points off the bench, while sophomore Asante Sandiford (Boston, Massachusetts/New Mission) chipped in seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Senior Pierce Cumpstone posted his seventh double-double of the year for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Stonehill finished shooting 48.2-percent from the field (27-for-56) from the field, including 14-for-28 (50%) from three-point distance, after connecting at 57.1% (16-28) in the first half to take a ten point lead into halftime after leading by as much as 17. The Skyhawks also converted 13-of-15 (86.7%) free-throws and held a 36-29 rebounding edge. Franklin Pierce shot 50% (32-64) from the floor, including 13-for-31 (41.9%) from long distance, converting 2-of-7 (28.6%) free-throws. The Ravens used 10-of-22 (45.5%) shooting from deep in the second half to get back in the game, while their bench outscored the Stonehill reserves 24-9.

Stonehill scored 12 of the first 14 points of the game, keyed by back to back Bramanti three-pointers, in the opening four minutes of the game. Smith stretched the Skyhawks lead to 11 (17-6) with a three-pointer six minutes in and then Berroa gave the visitors a 12 point cushion (20-8) with a shot from beyond the arc with 13:25 remaining in the opening half. Stonehill drilled 9-of-14 (64.3%) three-pointers in the opening half, and it was another Carter triple that gave the Skyhawks 13 point lead (25-12) with 11:18 left.

Stonehill claimed a game-high 17 point lead (42-25) after a Logan three-pointer with 4:17 to play in the half, before a 10-2 Franklin Pierce run closed the gap to nine (44-35) when Gittens made one of two at the line with 1:13 to play. Logan answered with a three-pointer before the Skyhawks, but Banton scored layup just before the break for a ten point Stonehill lead (47-37) at the intermission.

Stonehill regained a 12 point lead (54-42) after a Bramanti layup two and a half minutes into the second half. A Brix layup gave the Skyhawks a 13 point advantage (58-45) with 14:21 remaining, but Franklin Pierce rebounded with three-pointers by junior Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, New Jersey/Piscataway Tech) and Banton to close within seven a minute later.

Smith pushed Stonehill back in front by 12 (65-53) midway through the half, but Franklin Pierce closed the gap to five (69-64) after a three-pointer from sophomore Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine/Greely) with 5:44 to go. Stonehill forged another 11 point lead on back to back threes by Logan and Bramanti, but the Ravens answered again with nine straight points to cut their deficit to two (78-76) after a Gittens triple with 1:54 on the clock.

Two free-throws by Cumpstone put Stonehill back up by two possessions with 90-seconds remaining and then Gittens drew Franklin Pierce within one (80-79) with a three-pointer with 30-seconds to go. Cumpstone was then fouled and split his two free-throws, giving the Ravens one last chance, but Banton's contested three-pointer from the left corner with two seconds left caromed off the back of the rim before being collected by Brix to seal the win.

Stonehill (17-5, 12-4 NE-10) is right back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Merrimack College at Merkert Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Franklin Pierce (12-9, 9-7 NE-10) visits Saint Michael's College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook.