Junior Adam Bramanti buried all five three-point attempts and led the Skyhawks with a career-high 20 points. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)
Skyhawks clinch NE #3 seed, roll into postseason with key regional win
MANCHESTER, N.H. (February 24, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked eighth in the inaugural NCAA Division II East Regional rankings of the season released last week as well as this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, closed out the regular season by boosting its NCAA Tournament credentials and clinching a No. 3 seed for the upcoming Conference tournament with a 74-70 triumph at Saint Anselm College, ranked third in last week NCAA East Regional rankings and sixth in this week's D2SIDA poll, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium tonight.
Stonehill (19-8, 14-7 NE-10) clinches the Northeast Division No. 3 seed for the Northeast-10 Tournament which gets underway this weekend. The Skyhawks will travel to Southwest Division No. 2-seed American International College (20-6, 15-5 NE-10) for a quarterfinal round matchup on Sunday at 3 p.m. The NCAA Tournament regional advisory committee will release a new set of rankings tomorrow, although tonight's win will not be included until next week. Saint Anselm (17-8, 14-7 NE-10), which was already locked into the Northeast No. 2 seed entering tonight's game by way of a season sweep of Saint Michael's College while Stonehill split with the Purple Knights, will host Southwest No. 3-seeded Le Moyne College (15-11, 10-10 NE-10) in another quarterfinal on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Sophomore guard Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) led three Stonehill players in double figures with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range, to go with six rebounds. Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) added 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, with four rebounds and two assists, while junior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) contributed 15 points, shooting 3-for-7 from deep. Senior Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) hauled in a team-high eight rebounds, while junior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) chipped in nine points and six boards.
Sophomore Ryan Logan contributed 18 points, four rebounds and two assists. (PHOTO BY Paul W. Fitzgerald Photography)
Senior Roy Mabrey (Belmar, New Jersey/St. Thomas More) led Saint Anselm with a game-high 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting, including 6-for-12 from three-point range, while converting 3-of-4 free-throws to go with three rebounds. Classmate Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, New Jersey/Cherry Hill East) contributed a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds as he was limited to 5-of-14 shooting from the floor, while adding two steals and a blocked shot. Junior Victor Joshua (New Haven, Connecticut/Hampden Hall) chipped in 13 points, aided by 9-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line, six rebounds and three assists.
Stonehill shot 40.9-percent from the field (27-for-66), but buried 12-of-24 (50%) three-pointers, including 5-for-9 (55.6%) in the second half. The Skyhawks held Saint Anselm to just 34.4-percent shooting, including 33.3% (11-for-33) in the second half, as the Hawks made just 8-of-27 (29.6%) three-pointers, but kept close by converting 18-of-22 (81.8%) free-throws.
Stonehill scored the first 13 points of the game in the opening five minutes, led by eight points from Logan, who buried two three-pointers, while Bramanti also connected with a triple, as the Skyhawks first three baskets in the game were from beyond the arc. Saint Anselm closed back within five (15-10) after a Santo jumper with 12:56 left in the half, but Stonehill reeled off 11 straight points to open a 16 point lead (26-10) on a Bramanti triple. Smith also contributed a pair of threes during the run for the Skyhawks.
Saint Anselm rallied with a 20-4 run to draw even (30-30) after layup from senior Mark Schulze (Townsend, Massachusetts/North Middlesex Regional) with 2:51 to play in the half. The Hawks connected on three from beyond the arc during that stretch, including a pair by Mabrey.
Stonehill regained a four point lead (40-36) at the intermission, sparked by a three-pointer and conventional three-point play by Bramanti over the final three minutes. Saint Anselm pulled even again (44-44) after a layup by sophomore Harrison Taggart (Wallingford, Vermont/Saint Paul's School) four minutes into the second half, but the Skyhawks followed with a 10-2 run to reclaim an eight point cushion (54-46) after a Jimmy Walsh (Manasquan, New Jersey/Manasquan) three-pointer with 13:13 to go.
Saint Anselm knotted the score again (56-56) with two Santo free-throws with 9:10 remaining, but Stonehill fended the hosts off for the final time. Logan made a layup and then Carter buried a three to give the Skyhawks a five point lead (61-56) with 8:25 left. Joshua made two free-throws with 3:16 to go that pulled the Hawks within a possession (66-63), but Bramanti answered with a three at the other end.
Stonehill made four straight free-throws to keep Saint Anselm at bay and then after a Joshua three-point play drew the Hawks within three (73-70) with 23-seconds to go, the Skyhawks held the hosts scoreless the rest of the way and then Cumpstone clinched the win with one of two at the line to make it a two possession game with four seconds on the clock to seal the win.