Third year head coach Chris Kraus is the Skyhawks link to all three Stonehill Elite Eight trips in the last years years. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
EASTON, Mass. (March 19, 2016) – The Stonehill College men's basketball program has been given a No. 5-seed from the NCAA heading into the Division II Elite Eight, hosted by the Lone Star Conference and Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, and will face No. 3-ranked and fourth-seeded West Liberty University in a national quarterfinal on Wednesday, March 23, at 3:30 p.m. (EDT).
Tickets are on sale now available through Ticketmaster or by accessing the "tickets" link on the Stonehill men's basketball schedule page. Single day passes are $13 each with Tournament passes available for $33 which is good for all seven games. Family 4-packs for Saturday's National Championship game are $39. Wednesday's National Quarterfinal round will be webcast live on ncaa.com, with links also available through stonehillskyhawks.com. Thursday night's National Semifinal round will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports, with Saturday's National Championship on CBS Sports at 3 p.m. (EDT). The Stonehill "Spirit Committee" will be sponsoring a live viewing of Wednesday's national quarterfinal at The Hill in Roche Dining Commons.
Stonehill (24-8, 15-6 NE-10), competing in its 14th NCAA Tournament in program history, has reached the Elite Eight for the third time after winning its third regional championship in the last ten years. The Skyhawks defeated three Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Divisional foes on its way to the regional championship, capped by a pair of overtime triumphs in the regional semifinal and final, defeating Saint Anselm College 82-76 in overtime in Tuesday night's regional championship, hosted by Holy Family University, in Philadelphia.
Stonehill's reward for winning a regional in which it faced its three opponents a combined ten times this season is another familiar opponent at the Elite Eight in West Liberty University (30-3, 20-3 Mountain East), the Skyhawks national quarterfinal opponent at the 2012 Elite Eight in Highland Heights, Kentucky. The Hilltoppers, ranked No. 5 in the NABC Division II poll and 6th in the D2SIDA Top 25, is in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time, advancing to the Elite Eight for the fifth time after winning the Atlantic Region with an 85-64 victory over Kutztown (Pa.) University in the regional final.
Stonehill edged West Liberty at the 2012 Elite Eight in Kentucky, 91-90, as it weathered a 16-2 Hilltoppers run that produced a nine point lead (69-60) with 10:53 to play before holding a ten point margin (71-61) a minute later. The Skyhawks responded with a 14-2 run of its own to regain the lead (75-73) with 6:39 remaining. Senior Patrick Lee '12 scored Stonehill's final seven points and finished with 14 to help the Skyhawks seal the win from there. It marked Stonehill's second trip to the National Semifinals where they were upended by the eventual national champions for the second time, as Western Washington University held off Stonehill 71-66 the next night.
Stonehill head coach Chris Kraus '06, in his third season in charge of the program, is the Skyhawks' link to its three Elite Eight appearances. He was a senior point guard on Stonehill's first Elite Eight team in 2006, before serving as an assistant coach under David McLaughlin, now associate head coach at Northeastern University, in 2012. Kraus has posted a 51-36 (.586) in his three seasons at the helm, guiding the Skyhawks to their 15th 20-win season this year, and back to back NCAA Tournament bids.
The winner of Wednesday's Elite Eight matchup will advance to face the winner of Wednesday's opening game at 1 p.m. (EDT) between top-seeded Lincoln Memorial University (32-2) ranked No. 1 in the NABC poll and No. 2 in the D2SIDA poll, and eighth-seeded Barry University (26-6), ranked 19th by the NABC and 20th by D2SIDA. Wednesday's evening session features seventh-seeded Tarleton State University (24-8) against second-seeded Augustana University (31-2) at 7 p.m. (EDT), followed by sixth-seeded Saginaw Valley State University (25-7) against third-seeded Western Oregon University (30-3).
2016 NCAA Division II
hosted by Lone Star Conference & Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau
Dr. Pepper Arena, Frisco, Texas
All Times Eastern Daylight Time
Wednesday, March 23 (Quarterfinals)
#8 Barry University (26-6) vs. #1 Lincoln Memorial University (32-2), 1 p.m.
#5 Stonehill College (24-8) vs. #4 West Liberty University (30-3), 3:30 p.m.
#7 Tarleton State University (24-8) vs. #2 Augustana (S.D.) University (31-2), 7 p.m.
#6 Saginaw Valley State University (25-7) vs. #3 Western Oregon University (30-3), 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 24 (Semifinals)
Barry/Lincoln Memorial winner vs. Stonehill/West Liberty winner, 7 p.m.
Tarleton/Augustana winner vs. Saginaw Valley/Western Oregon winner, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 26 (Championship)
Semifinal winners, 3 p.m.