Men's Basketball Torches Nets at Merrimack, 97-76

Junior Jimmy Walsh scored a career-high 26 points for the Skyhawks tonight. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Walsh nets career-high 26 as Skyhawks bury 15 three-pointers 

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (November 24, 2015) – Stonehill College, ranked sixth in this week's D2SIDA East Regional poll, drilled 15 three-pointers, including 10-of-15 attempts in the second half, to fire its way to a 97-76 victory over Merrimack College, ranked seventh in the region, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Hammel Court tonight.

Junior forward Jimmy Walsh (Manasquan, New Jersey/Manasquan) poured in a career-high 26 points, including 15 in the second half, as he made 8-of-11 shots from the field, including 5-for-6 from three-point range (4-for-4 in the second half), while converting 5-of-6 free-throws to go with a season-high seven rebounds. Classmate Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) posted 21 points for his fourth 20-plus point game of the season on 8-of-10 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, while converting both free-throw attempts. He added seven rebounds and three assists as well.

Seniors Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) and Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) each contributed double-double performances for Stonehill. Cumpstone added 11 points and a game-high ten rebounds for his second double-double of the season (sixth career), shooting 5-for-9 from the floor. Smith notched his first career double-double with ten points and a career-best 13 assists with two rebounds and two steals.

Stonehill finished shooting 61.4-percent from the field (35-for-57) from the field, including a white-hot 75% (21-for-28) in the second half as the Skyhawks buried 10-of-15 (66.7%) three-pointers to break open a four point lead at the half (44-40). Stonehill, which missed just two shots inside the three-point arc in the second half, dominated the glass with a 41-21 rebounding advantage and its bench outscored the Merrimack reserves 26-4.

Junior Ryan Logan posted his third 20-plus point game of the year for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Eamonn Grealish)

Senior Gelvis Solano (Harlem, New York/Health Professions) led Merrimack with 25 points (17 first half) on 9-of-17 shooting, including 4-for-9 from three-point distance, with two rebounds and four steals. Classmate Troy Hammel (Valencia, California/Valencia) added 16 points, three rebounds and two assists, while junior Anthony Barry (Uxbridge, Massachusetts/Brooks School) contributed 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and three boards. Senior JT Strickland (Laurel, Maryland/Georgetown Prep) chipped in 11 points, converting 7-of-8 free-throws, with eight assists and six boards.

Merrimack was limited to 40.6-percent shooting (26-for-64), including 27.3% (6-for-22) from three-point range, turning the ball over just five times on the night to finish with a 24-11 advantage in points off turnovers.

Stonehill stormed out to an 18-4 lead nine minutes into the game while Merrimack made just one of its first 15 shots. Logan scored six points for the Skyhawks during that stretch, while Walsh added five. Merrimack pulled within nine (20-11) after a Solano dunk two minutes later, but Stonehill answered with eight straight points to claim a 17 point lead (28-11) with a layup by senior Daniel Brix (Monroe Township, New Jersey/St. Joseph) with 8:10 left in the half.

Stonehill's lead was 15 (35-20) after two Walsh free-throws with 5:51 remaining in the opening half, but Merrimack chipped away and closed the gap to three (43-40) following a Solano dunk with 46-seconds left before the Skyhawks carried a four point cushion (44-40) into halftime.

Stonehill regained control with a 15-4 run to open the second half, keyed by four three-pointers, including three from Walsh who scored ten of the Skyhawks 15 points during that stretch. Solano quieted the run momentarily with a three-pointer for Merrimack, but the Skyhawks extended their lead to 19 (71-52) after a Logan three with 12:19 left. Walsh buried a triple to stretch the Stonehill lead to a game-high 22 points (78-56) with 9:46 to go and Merrimack wouldn't get within 16 points the rest of the way.

Stonehill (4-1, 2-1 NE-10) returns to action on Sunday when it hosts Saint Thomas Aquinas College for a non-conference contest at 3 p.m. Merrimack (3-3, 0-2 NE-10) opens a six game road trip that will stretch through the New Year at the University of Bridgeport on Sunday at 2 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook.