Stonehill Clinches Postseason Return at Franklin Pierce, 65-63 (OT)

Senior Jack Cole posted his 24th career double-double and became the program's 37th 1,000-point scorer in tonight's win. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Smith nets game-high 19 points for Skyhawks, including winning basket in OT
Cole becomes program's 37th 1,000-point scorer in program history

RINDGE, N.H. (February 18, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked eighth in the inaugural NCAA Division II East Regional rankings of the season and tenth in the D2SIDA East Regional poll, clinched its first postseason appearance in three years with a 65-63 overtime triumph at Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at the Franklin Pierce Fieldhouse tonight.

Junior guard Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) buried a jumper with four seconds remaining in overtime to lift Stonehill to the key NE-10 win which clinched its first trip to the Northeast-10 Tournament since winning the title in 2012 on the way to capturing the East Regional championship before reaching the NCAA Division II National Semifinals at the Elite Eight. The Skyhawks are currently tied with Saint Michael's College for third in the NE-10 Northeast Division standings with two games remaining. The Purple Knights would win that tiebreaker between the two at the moment, by way of a win over first place Southern New Hampshire University.

Smith finished with a game-high 19 points to lead Stonehill to its eighth win over its last ten games as he made 7-of-11 shots from the field, including 4-for-5 from three-point range. Senior Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) contributed his eighth double-double of the season (24th career), becoming the 37th player in program history to reach 1,000 points for his career. He netted 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor to finish the night with 1,012 points in 109 career games played, while adding a season-high 15 rebounds and four blocked shots. Cole collected his 1,000th point on a layup with 2:58 remaining in the first half.

Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) added 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting with seven rebounds, while junior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) pulled down a season-high ten rebounds to go with eight points.

Senior Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Hamden South) led Franklin Pierce with a double-double performance of 16 points (12 second half) and a team-best 12 rebounds with two assists, a blocked shot and two steals, shooting 7-for-15 from the field, but just 2-for-7 from three-point range. He had 12 of the Ravens 22 rebounds in the contest as Stonehill dominated the glass with a 42-22 rebounding advantage.

Junior Carter Smith scored a game-high 19 points, including the winning bucket with four seconds left in OT. (PHOTO BY Paul W. Fitzgerald Photography)

Junior Tyler Iacuone (Mahopac, New York/Archbishop Stepinac) and freshman Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine/Greely) each contributed 11 points for Franklin Pierce. Iacuone made 3-of-4 three-pointers and added four assists and two steals, while McDevitt shot 5-of-7 from the floor, including 1-for-2 from three, with three offensive rebounds.

Stonehill shot 49.1-percent from the field (28-for-57) on the night, including 56% (14-25) in the second half, connecting on 5-of-14 (35.7%) three-pointers. The Skyhawks held a 10-9 edge in points off turnovers despite committing 16 turnovers compared to nine for Franklin Pierce. Stonehill held Franklin Pierce to 42.4-percent (25-for-59) shooting, but the Ravens stayed in the game by draining 11-of-25 (44%) three-pointers.

Stonehill outscored Franklin Pierce 6-4 in the overtime session as the teams combined to shoot just 5-for-15 (33.3%) in the extra frame. Smith's jumper with four seconds left in overtime lifted the Skyhawks to victory after a last second layup at the other end at the buzzer by senior Paul Becklens (Boston, Massachusetts/Bridgton Academy) wouldn't go for the Ravens. Becklens also had a bid at the end of regulation to win the game blocked by Cole after Cumpstone had knotted the score (59-59) with 40-seconds remaining.

Cole and Vilmont traded baskets on consecutive trips down the court for the only points over the opening four minutes of overtime. Cumpstone put Stonehill back in front (63-61) with 43-seconds left, but McDevitt tipped in a Becklens miss to force the 13th deadlock of the contest with 26-seconds on the clock leading up to Smith's winner.

Franklin Pierce's six point lead (30-24) after a Vilmont basket to open the second half marked the largest lead by either club over the final 25 minutes of the game. Smith knotted the score for the tenth time in the contest (52-52) with 8:37 remaining. Becklens restored a five point lead for the Ravens (57-52) less than two minutes later, but the Skyhawks held the hosts to just one field goal over the final 6:53 to force overtime with Cumpstone's jumper in the last minute of regulation.

Franklin Pierce scored the first five points of the game and led by six (8-2) after sophomore Donte Gittens (Hartford, Connecticut/The Master's School) made one of two free-throws two and a half minutes into the game. Stonehill fought back and forced the first deadlock of the game (10-10) with 11:23 remaining in the half after four straight points from Cumpstone. The Ravens wouldn't surrender the lead in the opening half, taking a game-high seven point lead (23-16) on an Iacuone triple with 4:34 to play in the frame before settling for a four point (28-24) halftime cushion.         

Stonehill (17-8, 12-7 NE-10) is back in action on Saturday when it hosts rival Bentley University on Senior Night on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Please note the time change for this game from the original schedule. Franklin Pierce (13-12, 9-10 NE-10) visits Merrimack College on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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