Senior Jack Cole leads Stonehill into its 13th NCAA Tournament appearance in program history on Saturday afternoon.
Seventh-seeded Skyhawks and second-seeded Southern New Hampshire to meet in defensive clash in Saturday's East Regional Quarterfinal
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 13, 2015) – With the immediate excitement of finishing on the good side of the NCAA Division II Tournament selection bubble in the past, seventh-seeded Stonehill College is ready to get to work when it squares off against second-seeded and Northeast Division Champions Southern New Hampshire University in a matchup of fellow divisional Northeast-10 Conference programs in opening round action of the 2015 NCAA East Regional, hosted by top-seeded an NE-10 Champion American International College, at Henry A. Butova Gymnasium on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Admission for the regional will be $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for students, children and senior citizens per session. All games at the East Regional will be webcast free of charge via www.packnetwork.com, with Scott Sudikoff, Jacob VanRyn and Tim McCaffrey calling the action for Pack Network. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via www.stonehillskyhawks.com.
Stonehill is back in the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time in program history with its first bid since winning the 2012 East Regional on its way to a second national semifinal appearance at the Elite Eight in Kentucky. It marks the first NCAA Tournament appearance under second-year head coach Chris Kraus '06, who was a student-athlete on the program's first national semifinalist team in 2006 and an assistant coach in 2012.
Stonehill enters the regional following a 13-day layoff after being edged by eventual champions American International College 68-63 in the quarterfinals of the NE-10 Tournament at Butova Gym on March 1. The Skyhawks have won ten of their last 13 games and are a win shy of the 15th 20-win season in program history. Stonehill ranks fourth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (68.5 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.420) and rebound margin (+2.8), second for three-point field goal percentage defense (.328) and fifth in blocked shots per game (3.4). Stonehill is also ranked tenth in scoring offense (71.2 ppg), seventh in field goal percentage (.447) and sixth in three-point percentage (.372).
Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown), a third team All-Northeast-10 selection this season, leads the way for Stonehill with 13.8 points per game on 43.6-percent shooting from the field, including 37.2-percent (32-for-85) from three-point range, with 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and a steal per game. Senior Jack Cole (New Providence, New Jersey/New Providence) is the lone Skyhawk on the roster with NCAA Tournament 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 12.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds (4th NE-10), with 1.9 assists and 1.3 blocked shots (7th), while shooting 59.9-percent from the floor (2nd).
Junior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) is Stonehill's other honorable mention All-NE-10 choice and adds 13.4 points on 45.6-percent shooting, including 42.5-percent (68-for-160) from three-point distance (6th), 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 9.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 22.4 minutes per game off the bench, while classmate Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) is shooting a team-best 46.2-percent (49-for-106) from beyond the arc – good for second in the NE-10.
Sophomore Ryan Logan, a third team All-NE-10 selection this season, averages 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Southern New Hampshire (21-7, 17-4 NE-10), making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance, rank second in the Northeast-10 this season for scoring defense (76.3 ppg), leading the Conference for field goal percentage defense (.397) and ranking second for three-point field goal percentage defense (.329), third for blocked shots per game (3.9) and fourth in steals per game (6.7). The Penmen, under the direction of head coach Stan Spirou in his 30th season, rank sixth in the NE-10 for scoring (76.3 ppg), third in field goal percentage (.469) and free-throw percentage (.748) and fourth in three-point percentage (.373).
Junior Rodney Sanders (Linden, New Jersey/Linden) leads three SNHU players in double-figures with 18 points per game on 50.4-percent shooting, including 42.3-percent (60-for-142) from three-point range, while converting 73.9% (85-115) of his free-throws to go with 4.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Senior Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Delaware/Kingsway) adds 16 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.1 blocks, shooting 56.5% from the floor and 71.3% (62-87) from the line. Junior BJ Cardarelli (Manchester, Connecticut/East Catholic) contributes 10.1 points, shooting 42.7% from the field and converting 80% (44-55) at the line, with 4.7 rebounds per outing.
Saturday afternoon will mark the 52nd meeting all-time between these two programs, the second in the NCAA Tournament. Southern New Hampshire holds a 27-24 advantage all-time after sweeping the two regular season meetings between the two this winter, but Stonehill won the only previous NCAA Tournament encounter with a 78-67 overtime triumph at the 1998 Northeast Regional hosted by Saint Rose at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. The Penmen claimed a 73-58 victory over the Skyhawks in Manchester, New Hampshire, on December 6, and a 58-41 win in Easton, Massachusetts, on February 14.
Sanders averaged 19.5 points on 59.1-percent shooting (13-22) over SNHU's two wins against Stonehill this season, connecting on 6-of-11 (54.5%) three-pointers, and adding 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 steals. Logan led Stonehill with 11 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
The winner of Saturday afternoon's game advances to Sunday's regional semifinal round where it will play the winner of Saturday's opening first round game between third-seeded Saint Anselm College (19-9, 14-7 NE-10) and sixth-seeded University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (24-5, 17-2 CACC) right back at Butova Gym at 5 p.m. The East Regional championship is slated for Tuesday at 7 p.m.
2015 NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional
hosted by American International College
Henry A. Butova Gymnasium, Springfield, Mass.
Saturday, March 14 (Quarterfinals)
#6 University of the Sciences (24-5, 17-2 CACC) vs. #3 Saint Anselm (19-9, 14-7 NE-10), Noon
#7 Stonehill (19-9, 14-7 NE-10) vs. #2 Southern N.H. (21-7, 17-4 NE-10), 2:30 p.m.
#8 Philadelphia (24-7, 15-4 CACC) at #1 American International (23-6, 15-5 NE-10), 5 p.m.
#5 Southern Connecticut State (22-7, 16-4 NE-10) at #4 Bridgeport (24-6, 17-3 ECC), 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 15 (Semifinals)
USciences/St. Anselm winner vs. Stonehill/SNHU winner, 5 p.m.
Philadelphia/AIC winner vs. SCSU/Bridgeport winner, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 17 (Championship)
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.