NCAA FIRST ROUND: Balanced Attack Leads #4 Men's Basketball Past #5 Bentley, 78-62

Senior Pierce Cumpstone led a balanced Skyhawks effort with 19 points and eight rebounds, turning in a standout defensive effort as well. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)

Skyhawks use second half runs to secure victory behind balanced offensive effort

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (March 12, 2016) – Fourth-seeded Stonehill College turned in a strong defensive effort and balanced offensive attack to claim a 78-62 triumph over fifth-seeded Bentley University in first round action of the 2016 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament, hosted by Holy Family University, at Campus Center Gym tonight.

Stonehill (22-8, 15-6 NE-10) advances to Sunday night's East Regional semifinal where it will face eighth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University (23-10, 14-7 NE-10) at Campus Center Gym at 7:30 p.m. The Penmen advanced with an 88-80 upset of top-seeded and host Holy Family in tonight's earlier regional semifinal. Bentley sees its season come to a close with a 21-9 record overall, including a 16-5 mark in the Northeast-10 to claim the Northeast Division regular season championship.

Senior forward Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) led five Stonehill players in double-figures with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point distance, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with eight rebounds. Classmate Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) added 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor with five rebounds and three assists, while junior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) totaled 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, converting both free-throw attempts, to go with seven assists, three boards and two steals.

Senior Josh Heyliger (Queens, New York/The Hill School) returned to the rotation for Stonehill for the first time in over a month and netted a season-high 11 points in 13 minutes off the bench on 5-for-5 shooting. Sophomore Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) chipped in ten points and five boards for the Skyhawks.

Senior Carter Smith scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)

Senior Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills) led Bentley with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting, including 2-for-5 from three-point distance, with nine rebounds and two assists. Senior Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells) added 13 points and three rebounds, while postgrad Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland) was limited to 11 points on 5-of-19 shooting, including 1-for-8 from deep, with eight assists and three boards.

Stonehill shot 51.8-percent from the field (29-for-56), including 54.2% (13-24) in the second half, converting 11-of-13 free-throws (84.6%), and finishing with a 38-32 rebounding edge. The Skyhawks limited Bentley to 38.2-percent shooting (26-for-68), including 35.3% (12-34) in the second half, connecting on just 8-of-25 (32%) three-pointers and 2-of-5 free-throws. The Falcons stayed in the game by posting a 21-6 advantage in points off turnovers.

Stonehill held a five point halftime lead (39-34) before Bentley opened the second half with a basket from sophomore Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Connecticut/Trinity Catholic). The Skyhawks scored 15-straight points to take control with an 18 point margin (56-38) after a Heyliger jumper with 13 minutes remaining. Smith scored five points during the run, including a three-pointer, while Cumpstone netted four.

Bentley answered with a 19-4 run to close the gap to three (60-57) on a three-pointer by Furness with 5:32 on the clock. McFarland and Hyland also connected from three-point distance during that stretch. Bess countered for Stonehill with a three-pointer and the Skyhawks restored a 12 point lead (69-57) less than two minutes later after back to back triples from Cumpstone. McFarland buried a three for the Falcons to draw within nine, but Stonehill sealed the win by scoring six straight to regain a 15 point advantage (75-60) after two free-throws by senior Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet) with 40-seconds left.

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