The Game: Stonehill College visits NCAA Division I and Big East member University of Notre Dame for a preseason exhibition matchup at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center tonight. It marks the final preseason tuneup for both teams as the Skyhawks open both their regular season and Northeast-10 Conference schedule at Saint Anselm College, in Manchester, N.H., on Wednesday, November 16. The Fighting Irish open their regular season on Saturday against Mississippi Valley State here at Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame posted a 90-72 victory over Saint Xavier in its preseason opener last week, while Stonehill played a closed door scrimmage with Saint Rose last Tuesday.
Media Info: A free live video broadcast of tonight's game is available on UND.com, with links also available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com. Jack Nolan will handle play-by-play duties, while LaPhonso Ellis will serve as the analyst. Fighting Irish Digital Media (FIDM) will originate the Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network in 2011-2012 with the broadcast teams of Jack Nolan and two former players, LaPhonso Ellis ('92) and Jordan Cornette ('05) bringing basketball fans all the exciting action. In addition to Notre Dame's numerous regional affiliates, the audio broadcast can also be head nationally via Sirius XM Satellite Radio (129) and worldwide on UND.com.
We Are Family: Stonehill and Notre Dame share the same philosophical background from their sponsorship by the Congregation of Holy Cross. In addition to Stonehill and Notre Dame, the Congregation of Holy Cross founded and continues to sponsor three universities and two colleges in the United States: St. Edward's University (1878); University of Portland (1901); King's College (1946) and Holy Cross College (1966).
Against the Fighting Irish: Stonehill visited Purcell Pavilion for an exhibition prior to the 2008-09 season. Notre Dame posted a 79-47 victory here behind 21 points and ten rebounds from Luke Harangody, who would go on to be drafted by the Boston Celtics. Former All-Region forward A.J. Rudowicz led the Skyhawks with 17 points (8-for-12 FGs), six rebounds and three steals. Current seniors Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y.) and Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass.) both saw action off the bench with Lee collecting four points and four rebounds in three minutes and Tongo going scoreless in four minutes.
Giant Killers: Stonehill made some small waves last year with a 61-60 victory over Division I Fairfield University, preseason favorites in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, in an exhibition men's basketball matchup. Fairfield, coached by former Stonehill player and assistant coach, Ed Cooley, '94, who has since moved on to Providence, earned six of the ten first place votes in the MAAC preseason coaches' poll and are picked first in the Conference in every major preseason college basketball publication. Junior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y.) led the returning players from that game with nine points off the bench.
Coach McLaughlin: Head Coach Dave McLaughlin, a 1997 graduate of Colby College, is in his ninth season at the Stonehill helm. He already ranks second in program history with 153 career wins, posting a 153-75 (.671) record and leading the Skyhawks to a second NE-10 regular season championship in 2009-10 - their first out-right title since 1997-98 - and four NCAA Tournament bids. He is the only Stonehill coach to lead the Skyhawks to five 20-win seasons, posting a school-record 27-7 mark in 2005-06 and leading the team to a regional championship and first appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in program history. McLaughlin was recognized by his peers as the Northeast-10 Coach of the Year for the second time over his seven seasons in 2009. McLaughlin is assisted by Chris Kraus, Matt LaVangie and Mike Quinn.
Preseason Poll Position: Stonehill has been picked fifth in the Northeast-10 Conference's preseason coaches poll for the third-straight year. That preseason prognostication has been a bit of a good luck charm for the Skyhawks as they captured the NE-10 Regular Season Championship in 2009-10 and was the top seed in the NCAA II East Regional and then also earned an NCAA bid last winter, finishing tied for second in the league after being chosen fifth. The University of Massachusetts Lowell, who was edged by Big East member Providence (76-75) in an exhibition on Saturday night, is the preseason favorite in the NE-10, earning 12 first place votes, with defending regular season champions Bentley collecting the other four and was picked second.
Stepping Up: Stonehill is 1-5 in preseason exhibition games against Division I opponents, including an 0-2 clip against Big East programs. The lone win came at Fairfield University, from the MAAC. This marks the Skyhawks second visit to Notre Dame and their first Big East exhibition since 2009, when they dropped a 91-55 decision at Providence. Stonehill has also faced Fairfield (1-1) and Rhode Island (0-2) twice.
Jumping into the Fire: Stonehill will open regular season play with a Northeast-10 Conference matchup with Saint Anselm College next Wednesday, November 16, at 7:30 p.m. Seven of the Skyhawks first eight games are NE-10 contests.
Big Shoes to Fill: Stonehill returns nine letterwinners and two starters from last year's 22 win season. The Skyhawks will need to replace the production from All-Northeast-10 selections Mike Kernan and Ivan Almeida, who combined to average 25.5 points and 16.8 rebounds per game last season. Stonehill also lost NE-10 Defensive Player of the Year Daniel Heppert, who also averaged in double- figures for scoring (10.3 ppg).
"Top Play": Stonehill senior Patrick Lee's (Fayetteville, N.Y.) gamewinning halfcourt buzzer-beater at Le Moyne on January 25 was awarded the #1 Top Play of the Day by ESPN's SportsCenter later that night. Lee's winner came with numerous subplots, as he hit the shot in front of nearly 100 family and friends from across the country who had converged at the game from nearby Fayetteville, his hometown, to see he and his sister, Torie, a sophomore on the Le Moyne women's basketball team. Their father, Michael, was the coach at Le Moyne from 1979-83 as well. Lee, the shot and his family received news coverage from most of their local television outlets in upstate New York, as well as WCVB-5 and FOX-25 in Boston, the Brockton Enterprise and Boston Herald.
Academic Success: Stonehill College has been recognized for its academic performance with regard to graduation rate by earning a 98-percent Academic Success Rating (ASR) as released by the NCAA in October. The ASR considers the academic success rate of the institution based on the graduation rate of student-athletes while also giving credit for any student-athletes that transferred from the institution while in good academic standing. In addition to Stonehill's overall ASR of 98%, 10 of Stonehill's 16 athletic programs (cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field are combined by the NCAA) received perfect scores of 100%. Stonehill's 98% ASR ranks second among NE-10 institutions behind just Saint Michael's College (99%) and third overall in NCAA Division II. The men's basketball team was recognized as having an ASR of 95% - up two points from last year and signifigantly higher than the national rate of 75%.
Leaders of the Pack: For the third-straight year, Stonehill College is partnering with Pack Networks to provide live "Packcasts" of all home football and men's and women's basketball games along with other select athletic events. Fans can access the webcasts via www.stonehillskyhawks.tv. Viewers can opt to purchase single-game passes for $6.99 or purchase an "All-Access" pass for $59.99. All-Access pass members can view all Stonehill webcasts for the entire year, while also gaining access to the archives and be able to watch the webcasts at any time.
Coach's Corner: www.stonehillskyhawks.com, the official website of Stonehill athletics will have regular interviews with head coach David McLaughlin throughout the season. Coach McLaughlin will recap previous game and preview upcoming contests throughout the season. There will also be regular interviews with Skyhawks student-athletes as well.