Senior Carter Smith guides the Skyhawks into the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
No. 4-seeded Skyhawks and No. 5 Falcons square off for second time in ten days in opening round of 2016 NCAA Division II Tournament
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (March 11, 2016) – While technically Saturday will mark the second NCAA Tournament encounter all-time between rivals Stonehill College and Bentley University, there is little doubt the stakes have never been higher than they will be for this NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament East Region Quarterfinal, hosted by Holy Family University, at Campus Center Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m.
Admission for the regional will be $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students, children and senior citizens per session. All games at the East Regional will be webcast free of charge via packnetwork.com, with Jacob VanRyn and Tim McCaffrey calling the action for Pack Network on Saturday night. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (21-8, 15-6 NE-10) is back in the NCAA Tournament for the 14th time in program history with its second straight bid under third year head coach Chris Kraus '06. Kraus has been part of five NCAA Tournament campaigns with the Skyhawks as a student-athlete, assistant coach and now head coach. He was a senior on Stonehill's first Elite Eight squad in 2005-06 and an assistant in 2011-12 when the Skyhawks advanced for the second time in program history.
Bentley (21-8, 16-5 NE-10), which claimed the Northeast-10 Conference's Northeast Division regular season championship and advanced to the NE-10 Championship game, is making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance, but its first since 2011. Stonehill and the Falcons are among five Northeast-10 members earning NCAA Tournament bids – the most by any Conference in the country, including four from the NE-10's Northeast Division.
Saturday night will mark the 83rd meeting all-time between these two Northeast-10 rivals, just the fifth in postseason play – but the second within a ten day span after Bentley claimed an 89-84 triumph in the semifinal round of the NE-10 Tournament in Waltham, Massachusetts, on March 2. It marks the second NCAA Tournament encounter, but the first in a knockout game after the Falcons registered a 129-118 triumph in the consolation game of the 1989 NCAA Regional at the Dana Athletic Center. Bentley holds a 47-35 advantage in the all-time series after the Falcons snapped a five game series winning streak for Stonehill with last week's NE-10 semifinal win. The Falcons are 3-1 all-time against the Skyhawks in postseason play, including the 1989 NCAA consolation triumph.
Stonehill is likely seeded fourth over fifth-seeded Bentley due to its 2-1 mark against the Falcons this season after sweeping the regular season series between the two. The Skyhawks rallied from a double-digit second half deficit to claim an 87-75 triumph in Waltham on January 2 and then bounced back from a slow to start to bury 16 three-pointers on its way to a 92-71 triumph at Merkert Gymnasium on February 3. Stonehill and Bentley combined for an NE-10 Tournament record 33 three-pointers, including a record-matching 17 by the Skyhawks, in the Falcons NE-10 semifinal win on March 2.
Junior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) has averaged 21.3 points on 42.4-percent shooting (28-for-66) in Stonehill's three games against Bentley this season, while adding four rebounds, 3.7 assists and a steal per game. Senior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) has added 18 points on 45.5-percent shooting (20-44), converting all six free-throws, with six assists and two steals in the series, with classmate Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet) has contributed 16 points on 60-percent shooting (15-25), including a white-hot 68.4% (13-19) from three-point distance, with four rebounds and three assists per game in the series.
Senior Adam Bramanti buried 6-of-7 three-pointers for 19 points in the Skyhawks NE-10 semifinal matchup at Bentley. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Postgrad Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland) and senior Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills) have combined to average 43 points per game, of 78.3 point per game for the Falcons, in the three meetings with Stonehill this season. Hyland has averaged 22.7 points on 57.8-percent shooting from the floor (26-for-45), including 8-for-18 (44.4%) from three-point distance, with 3.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.3 blocked shots and 1.3 steals per game against the Skyhawks. McFarland has added 20.3 points and 9.7 rebounds with 4.3 assists, a blocked shot and steal, converting 14-of-15 (93.3%) shooting from the free-throw line in the series.
Stonehill averaged 87.7 points per game over the three meetings this winter, compared to 78.3 points per game for Bentley. The Skyhawks have shot 48.1-percent from the field, including 48.2% (40-83) from beyond the arc, posted a plus-2.7 rebounding margin and +4.0 turnover margin against the Falcons. Bentley has shot 46.4% from the field, including 40.7% (33-81) from deep, against Stonehill this season.
Stonehill, which enters the weekend in search of its third regional championship in program history, all within the last ten years, has won 20-plus games for the first time under Kraus and 15th time in program history, overall. The Skyhawks have not dropped back to back games all season, entering the NCAA Tournament winners of three of their last four and six of nine despite last week's NE-10 semifinal at Bentley. The Skyhawks are ranked fifth in the Northeast-10 in scoring (80.2 ppg) and sixth in scoring defense (72.8 ppg), while also ranking second in three-point percentage (.412) and assists per game (16.9), third for fewest fouls committed per game (15.7) and rebound margin (+5.2), fourth in field goal percentage (.463), free-throw percentage (.758) and blocked shots per game (3.3) and fifth for steals per game (6.4).
Stonehill is led by a trio of All-Northeast-10 Conference selections hailing from the Buckeye State of Ohio. Logan, a two time All-Conference performer named to the first team this season, is averaging a team-high 18.1 points per game (9th NE-10), shooting 44.1-percent from the field and 74.3-percent from the free-throw line (75-for-101), with 8.4 rebounds (7th), 3.9 assists (8th) and a steal per game. Logan, a two-time Spalding NE-10 Player of the Week this season who earned a spot on the NE-10 All-Championship team last week, is second on the team with ten double-doubles (19 career).
Smith and senior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston), both third team All-Northeast-10 selections this season, offer support of Logan. Smith is averaging 16 points per game (14th NE-10) on 45.3-percent shooting, including 45.2% (85-for-188) from three-point distance (6th), connecting at 85.3% (87-102) from the free-throw line (9th), with 4.0 assists (6th) per game, while adding 2.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.4 steals (5th) in 33.8 minutes per game (11th). Cumpstone, who earned CoSIDA Academic All-District™ first team honors, leads the team with 12 double-doubles (16 career), including a run of six straight in February, and adds 14.4 points per game to go with a team-high 9.8 rebounds (3rd NE-10) and 2.0 blocked shots (3rd) per game, shooting a team-best 53.9-percent from the floor (10th), including 43.5% (50-115) from three-point distance (9th), and converting 76.1% (35-46) of his free-throws.
Senior Pierce Cumpstone leads the Skyhawks with 12 double-doubles this season, ranking third in the NE-10 for rebounding and blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)
Bramanti chips in 10.4 points on 43.7-percent shooting, including 41.7% (70-for-168) from three-point range (14th NE-10), and converting 88.4% (38-43) of his free-throws with 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals. Sophomore Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) is contributing 13.5 points on 57.8-percent shooting (26-45), including 18-30 (60%) from beyond the arc, with 3.7 rebounds, including 18.5 points on 64.7% (11-17) shooting in two NE-10 Tournament starts, converting 7-of-11 (63.6%) three-pointers with six rebounds, two assists and two steals per game.
Bentley, which captured its tenth Northeast-10 regular season title with its division championship, has won three regional titles in program history – all in a four year span from 2007-2010. The Falcons enter Saturday's game winners of three of their last four after last weekend's 90-87 loss to regional eighth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University in the NE-10 title game. Bentley ranks third in the NE-10 for scoring offense (84.1 ppg) and ninth in scoring defense (76.1 ppg), while ranking second in field goal percentage (.476) and free-throw percentage, third in three-point percentage (.393) and assists per game (16.0), committing the fewest turnovers per game (10.0) and being whistled for the fewest fouls per game (13.4) and ranking fifth for rebound margin (+3.9) and sixth for blocked shots per game (3.2).
McFarland, a first team All-Northeast-10 selection, and Hyland, a second team pick, are averaging a combined 43.4 points per game this season to lead Bentley. McFarland leads the way with 22.7 points per game (3rd NE-10) on 48.1-percent shooting, including 35.3 (65-184) from three-point range, while converting 89.8% (114-127) of his free-throws (2nd), with 7.5 rebounds (10th), 2.7 assists and 1.8 blocked shots per game (4th). Hyland adds 20.7 points per game (4th) on 51.6% shooting (15th), including 42.6% (75-176) from three-point distance, while converting 72% of his free-throws (72-100) with 7.3 rebounds (12th), 3.1 assists and 1.2 steals per contest (10th).
Senior Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells), an honorable mention All-NE-10 selection, contributes 14 points per game on 48.4% shooting, including a team-best 46.1% (77-167) from beyond the arc (5th NE-10), while converting 91.7% (55-60) of his free-throws, with five rebounds and 2.9 assists per outing.
The winner of Saturday night's matchup will advance to Sunday's East Regional semifinal at Holy Family's Campus Center Gym at 7:30 p.m. It will face the winner of Saturday's third game of the regional quarterfinal round between NE-10 Champion Southern New Hampshire and top-seeded and host Holy Family. The regional championship game will be played Tuesday, March 15, here at Campus Center Gym at 1 p.m. Saturday's opening session features No. 3 Southern Connecticut State University against No. 6 Saint Thomas Aquinas College at noon, followed by No. 2 Saint Anselm College and No. 7 Philadelphia University at 2:30 p.m.
2016 NCAA Division II Tournament
hosted by Holy Family University
Campus Center Gymnasium; Philadelphia, Pa.
Saturday, March 12 (Quarterfinals)
#3 Southern Conn. State (22-7) vs. #6 St. Thomas Aquinas (26-4), Noon
#2 Saint Anselm (21-7) vs. #7 Philadelphia (23-8), 2:30 p.m.
#1 Holy Family (26-5) vs. #8 Southern N.H. (22-10), 5 p.m.
#4 Bentley (21-8) vs. #5 Stonehill (21-8), 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 13 (Semifinals)
SCSU/STAC winner vs. STA/PHI winner, 5 p.m.
HFU/SNH winner vs. STO/BEN winner, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 15 (Championship)
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.