Senior Jack Cole is the lone Skyhawk with postseason experience when he was a starter on the program's NE-10 Championship team as a freshman. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Third-seeded Skyhawks return to postseason for first time since 2012
EASTON, Mass. (February 28, 2015) – Northeast Division No. 3-seeded Stonehill College, ranked seventh in this week's NCAA Division II East Regional rankings and No. 8 in the D2SIDA East Region poll, returns to the postseason for the first time since its memorable 2011-12 season when it visits Southwest No. 2-seed American International College, ranked fifth in the East Region, for quarterfinal round action of the 2015 Northeast-10 Conference Men's Basketball Tournament at Butova Gymnasium on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Admission will be $8.00 for adults, $5.00 for children and senior citizens and $1.00 for students from participating colleges with a valid college ID. The game will also be webcast live for $6.95 via www.aicyellowjackets.tv with Dan Fernandes and Sal Harold calling the action. Links to the webcast, as well as live stats, are also available at www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill (19-8, 14-7 NE-10) is making its 29th appearance in the Northeast-10 Tournament all-time, but its first since winning the 2012 tournament championship with a 73-61 victory over UMass Lowell at Merkert Gymnasium before going on to capturing the East Regional Championship and advancing to the National Semifinal round at the Elite Eight in Kentucky. The Skyhawks are winners of four NE-10 Tournament titles overall, winning the first two championships in Conference history in 1981 and '82 to go with victories in 1989 and the 2012 crown. Stonehill has reached the semifinal round of the NE-10 Tournament on nine occasions, with six championship game appearances.
Stonehill enters the postseason winners of three straight and ten of 12 after a 74-70 triumph at Saint Anselm College, ranked third in the region, to close out the regular season on Tuesday night. The Skyhawks, a win shy of the 15th 20-win season in program history, ranks fourth in the NE-10 for scoring defense, allowing 68.5 points per game, while also ranking third in field goal percentage defense (.418), three-point field goal percentage defense (.329) and blocked shots per game (3.5) and fourth in rebound margin (+2.7/gm). Stonehill is also ranked ninth in scoring offense (71.5 ppg), eighth in field goal percentage (.445) and third in three-point percentage (.374).
Sophomore Ryan Logan is a third team All-NE-10 selection and has been the Skyhawks top scorer each of his first two seasons. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown), a third team All-Northeast-10 selection this season, leads the way for Stonehill with 13.9 points per game on 43.1-percent shooting from the field, including 36.9-percent (31-for-84) from three-point range, with 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a steal per game. Senior Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) is the lone Skyhawk on the roster with postseason experience, having started for the 2011-12 NE-10 and East Regional Championship squad, and was one of two honorable mention All-Conference picks for the program his season. He contributes 12.1 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds (4th NE-10), with 1.7 assists and 1.3 blocked shots (7th), while shooting 59.3-percent from the floor (2nd).
Junior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) is Stonehill's other honorable mention All-NE-10 choice and adds 13.5 points on 46-percent shooting, including 43-percent (65-for-151) from three-point distance (7th), converting a Conference-high 92.3% (60-65) of his free-throws. He leads the team with 3.3 assists to go with three rebounds per contest. Junior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) chips in 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 22.6 minutes per game off the bench, while classmate Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) is shooting a league-best 48-percent (47-for-98) from beyond the arc.
American International (20-6, 15-5 NE-10) is making its 30th NE-10 Tournament appearance, having won the championship three times in 1984, '85 and '94, with eight finals berths. The Yellow Jackets are winners of five of six after a 95-87 triumph over Southwest Division Champions Southern Connecticut State University to close out the regular season on Tuesday. AIC is ranked fourth in the NE-10 for scoring offense (78.6 ppg) and seventh in scoring defense (72.7 ppg), leading the NE-10 in three-point field goal percentage defense (.314), ranking third for three-point percentage (.374), fewest turnovers per game (11.8) and steals per game (7.5), fourth in field goal percentage (.459) and ranking sixth in field goal percentage defense (.424).
Junior Carter Smith leads the NE-10 in free-throw shooting and is one of the top three-point threats in the league as well. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)
AIC is led by a pair of All-Northeast-10 selections in senior Bobby Harris (Berlin, New Jersey/Eastern) and junior Cameron Dobbs (Albany, New York/Guilderland). Harris, a first team pick, is averaging 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.9 assists per game, shooting 45-percent from the field, including 36.1% (65-180) from three-point range, while converting 82.6% (95-115) of his free-throws. Dobbs, named to the third team, is averaging a team-high 17.8 points on 42.9-percent shooting, including 40.5% (94-232) from beyond the arc, converting 72.7% (48-66) from the line.
Senior Marcus Porter (New Castle, Delaware/Howard), an honorable mention All-NE-10, chips in 14.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals, shooting 50% from the floor. Junior Trahmier Burrell (Albany, New York/Troy) rounds out the Yellow Jackets double figure scorers with 11 points and 6.7 rebounds, shooting 51.8-percent from the field.
Sunday marks the 65th meeting all-time between these two programs, the seventh in the NE-10 Tournament. Each team has won 32 times in the all-time series, but American International holds a 4-2 advantage in postseason play. While Stonehill has won six of the last nine meetings, the Yellow Jackets posted a 79-70 victory in the lone regular season encounter in Springfield on January 13 for its second straight series win. The two teams last NE-10 Tournament encounter came in the first round of the 2008 NE-10 Tournament with the Skyhawks posting a 69-63 win in Easton.
Porter led three AIC players in double figures in the January meeting this season with a game-high 27 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, while converting 10-of-14 free-throw attempts. He also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to go with three assists and two steals. Logan led the Skyhawks with his second double-double of the season with 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and 9-for-11 from the free-throw line to go with ten rebounds and two steals.
The winner of Sunday's game will advance to Wednesday's semifinal round to face the winner of tomorrow's other quarterfinal between Northeast No. 5-seed Merrimack College (16-11, 10-11 NE-10) and Northeast Division Champions Southern New Hampshire University (20-6, 17-4 NE-10) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. The Skyhawks would host that round if they defeat AIC on Sunday and Merrimack upsets Southern New Hampshire. The NE-10 Championship is slated for Saturday, March 7, at 1 p.m.
2015 Northeast-10 Conference
Men's Basketball Championships
Friday, February 27
Game 1: #4NE Saint Michael's 68, #5SW Saint Rose 65
Game 2: #5 NE Merrimack 79, #4SW New Haven 63
Sunday, March 1
Game 3: #4NE Saint Michael's (17-10, 12-9 NE-10) at #1SW Southern Conn. State (22-6, 16-4 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Game 4: #5NE Merrimack (16-11, 10-11 NE-10) at #1NE Southern New Hampshire (20-6, 17-4 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Game 5: #3NE Stonehill (19-8, 14-7 NE-10) at #2SW American International (20-6, 15-5 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Game 6: #3SW Le Moyne (16-12, 10-10 NE-10) at #2NE Saint Anselm (17-8, 14-7 NE-10), 3 p.m.
Wednesday, March 4
Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 6, 7 p.m.
Game 8: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7
Game 9: Winner Game 7 vs Winner Game 8* - 1:00 p.m.
* - if same seed, site determined by winner of regular-season matchup