Senior Carter Smith leads the Skyhawks into their third Elite Eight in ten years this afternoon. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
FRISCO, Texas (March 22, 2016) – After battling its way through three Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Divisional opponents at the East Regional, fifth-seeded Stonehill College's matchup at the 2016 NCAA Division II Elite Eight is also a familiar foe as it will battle fourth-seeded West Liberty University, ranked No. 5 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II poll and No. 6 by the D2SIDA Top 25, for a national quarterfinal matchup at Dr. Pepper Arena on Wednesday 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 Hunter Rose and Chris McColpin calling the action. Links to the webcast as well as live stats are 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 with free food and several other giveaways.
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 the 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 are in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth year, 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.
Junior Ryan Logan is averaging 20 points per game in the postseason, earning All-Tournament team honors at both the NE-10 Tournament and East Regional. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
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).
Stonehill, winners of 20-plus games for the first time under Kraus and 15th time in program history overall, has won six of its last seven and nine of 12 since the start of February heading into the Elite Eight. The Skyhawks are ranked fifth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (72.6 ppg) and scoring offense (80.0 ppg), ranking second in three-point percentage (.407) and assists per game (16.6), fourth for shooting percentage (.464), fifth for free-throw percentage (.756), blocked shots per game (3.3) and steals per game (6.3). Stonehill commits the second fewest fouls per game (15.3) and rank second for rebounding margin (+4.7).
Stonehill is led by a trio of All-Northeast-10 Conference selections hailing from Ohio. Junior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown), a two time All-Conference performer named to the first team this season, has collected second team All-East Region honors from the NABC and is averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game (9th NE-10), shooting 44.3-percent from the field and 73.8-percent from the free-throw line (79-for-107), with 8.3 rebounds (7th), 4.2 assists (6th) and 1.1 steals per game. Logan, Stonehill's first All-Region player since Mike Kernan '11 has earned All-Tournament team honors at both the NE-10 Championship and East Regional, is second on the team with 11 double-doubles (20 career).
Seniors Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) and Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston), both third team All-Northeast-10 selections this season, offer support of Logan. Smith, the NCAA East Regional's Most Outstanding Player, is averaging 16.3 points per game (13th NE-10) on 46.4-percent shooting, including 44.7% (92-for-206) from three-point distance (7th), connecting at 85.7% (96-112) from the free-throw line (9th), with 4.0 assists (7th) per game, while adding 2.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.4 steals (5th) in 34.4 minutes per game (10th). Cumpstone, who earned CoSIDA Academic All-District™ first team honors and enters the Elite Eight 25 points shy of 1,000 for his career, leads the team with 13 double-doubles (17 career), including a run of six straight in February, and adds 14.3 points per game to go with a team-high 9.7 rebounds (4th NE-10) and 1.9 blocked shots (3rd) per game, shooting a team-best 53.2-percent from the floor (11th), including 43.5% (57-131) from three-point distance (9th), and converting 77.1% (37-48) of his free-throws.
Senior Pierce Cumpstone is averaging a double-double for the Skyhawks since February 1. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
Smith led Stonehill with 19.3 points per game at the East Regional to earn Most Outstanding Player honors at the event, shooting 55.3-percent from the field and converting 9-of-10 free-throws, to go with three rebounds, 3.3 assists and a steal in 40.7 minutes per game. In five postseason games overall, he is contributing 16.2 points and 4.6 assists. Logan is averaging a team-high 20 points per game in the postseason with 7.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals, including 14 points on 45.9% shooting with 7.3 rebounds, seven assists and 1.3 steals in the NCAA Tournament.
West Liberty boasts the top offense in Division II at 99.0 points per game, while ranking second in scoring margin (+20.1), while ranking fifth in the Mountain East Conference for scoring defense (79.0 ppg). The Hilltoppers are second nationally for assists per game (20.6), third in defensive rebounds per game (30.9), tenth for field goal percentage (.498), eighth for three-point percentage (.412) and 15th in turnover margin (+3.6), committing 11.4 turnovers per game and forcing 15.
West Liberty is led by senior All-America forward Seger Bonifant (Berlin, Ohio/Hiland) who ranks sixth in Division II with 25 points per game, shooting 57.9-percent from the field, including 50.5% from three-point distance (112-for-222), and converting 81.9% (136-166) of his free-throws to go with 5.1 rebounds and three assists per game. Junior Devin Hoehn (Parkersburg, West Virginia/Parkersburg) adds 15.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists on 48.8-percent shooting, including 41.5% (80-193) from deep, connecting on 80.3% (53-66) of his free-throws.
Freshman David Dennis, Jr. (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Harvest Prep) fills the stat sheet with 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and two steals per game, shooting 42.4% from the floor, while junior Zac Grossenbacher (Parkersburg, West Virginia/Massanutten) rounds out the Hilltoppers double figure scorers with 12.5 points on 50.7% shooting from the field and 76.2% from the line with 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per contest.
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.