Senior Carter Smith has led the Skyhawks to their fourth regional final, averaging 16.5 points in the regional and delivering the gamewinning basket in overtime on Sunday night. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
No. 4-seeded Skyhawks and No. 2 Saint Anselm square off in East Region Championship Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (March 14, 2016) – A third straight Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Divisional foe awaits fourth-seeded Stonehill College as it takes aim at its third regional championship in program history against second-seeded Saint Anselm College in tonight's 2016 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional Championship, hosted by Holy Family University, at Campus Center Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students, children and senior citizens. Those that are unable to attend can watch the game free of charge via packnetwork.com, with a daily postgame show produced by the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) at caccathletics.org. Calling tonight's game for Pack Network will be Chris Granozio and Ben DiNallo. Links to the webcast and live stats will also be available via stonehillskyhawks.com. Stonehill will be sponsoring a live viewing of the game on campus at "The Hill" at Roche Commons.
Stonehill (23-8, 15-6 NE-10) has reached the regional championship by defeating a pair of NE-10 Northeast Divisional foes, opening with a commanding 78-62 triumph over fifth-seeded and rival Bentley University (21-9, 16-5 NE-10) on Saturday night as senior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) led five Skyhawks in double-figures with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three, with eight rebounds. Stonehill followed that up by edging eighth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University (23-11, 14-7 NE-10) 75-74 in overtime on Sunday night when senior Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) delivered a gamewinning layup with five seconds remaining to finish with 18 points, while classmate Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Massachusetts/Masconomet Regional) netted a team-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-for-8 from three-point range.
Saint Anselm (23-7, 15-6 NE-10) has reached its second regional final in the last three years with an 83-71 victory over seventh-seeded Philadelphia University (23-9, 14-5 CACC) on Saturday afternoon with senior Victor Joshua (New Haven, Connecticut/Hamden Hall) scoring 24 points, converting all eight free-throws. The Hawks followed that up by rallying for a 77-73 triumph over sixth-seeded Saint Thomas Aquinas College (27-5, 18-2 ECC) in Sunday's opening regional semifinal, led by senior Mike McCahey's (Clarkstown, New York/Clarkstown South) 29 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 5-for-12 from three, while converting 6-of-7 free-throws with seven rebounds.
Senior Pierce Cumpstone is adding 16 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He enters tonight 34 points shy of 1,000 for his career. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
The winner of tonight's matchup will advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight at Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas, March 23-26. Stonehill is making its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and has reached its fourth regional final, having gone 2-1 previously in regional title games, winning its last two finals in 2006 and 2012 to earn a pair of Elite Eight bids in the last ten years. Third year head coach Chris Kraus '06 played a role in each trip as a senior student-athlete in 2006 and then as an assistant coach under David McLaughlin in 2012. Saint Anselm is in its 20th NCAA Tournament in program history, having qualified four straight seasons. The Hawks lone trip to the Elite Eight came in 2000 when it claimed the New England Regional in New Haven, Connecticut.
Tonight marks the 115th meeting all-time between these two programs, the sixth in postseason play, but first ever in the NCAA Tournament. Saint Anselm holds a 67-47 advantage in the all-time series between the two after sweeping the regular season series between the two this winter. The Hawks have also won three of the five NE-10 Tournament encounters, including a 77-61 victory in their last postseason matchup in the 2006 NE-10 Championship in Easton, Massachusetts. Kraus recorded 13 points and three assists for the Skyhawks in the contest as a senior. Prior to that the two teams have met up in four straight NE-10 Quarterfinals with Stonehill winning in 1999 and 1994 and Saint Anselm victorious in 1990 and 1988.
Saint Anselm won both regular season meetings between the two this season, held off Stonehill for an 81-76 overtime victory in Easton back on November 21 and then followed with 71-66 win in Manchester, New Hampshire, on February 17, fueled by a 27-3 first half run in which it led by 24 points before halftime. Junior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) averaged a double-double with 17 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in the two matchups with the Hawks this season, including a monster effort of 24 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in the November meeting. Junior Harrison Taggart (Wallingford, Vermont/Saint Paul's School) averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game against the Skyhawks this season, shooting 50-percent from the field (12-24).
The two regular season matchups were decided by an average of just five points per game, but as mentioned, Saint Anselm held double-figure leads in both. The Hawks averaged 76 points per game in the two wins on 48.6-percent shooting, including 41.9% (18-43) from three-point distance, converting 72.2% (26-36) of their free-throws. Stonehill averaged 71 points per game on 36.2-percent shooting, including 30% (15-50) from deep, converting 68% (17-25) of its free-throws. The Skyhawks posted a plus 10.5-rebounding margin in the series and committed just ten assists per game.
Stonehill, winners of 20-plus games for the first time under Kraus and 15th time in program history overall, has won five of its last six and eight of 11 since the start of February after Sunday's win over Southern New Hampshire. The Skyhawks are ranked third in the NE-10 for scoring defense (72.5 ppg) and fifth for scoring offense (80.0 ppg), ranking second in three-point percentage (.408) and assists per game (16.7), fourth for shooting percentage (.463), free-throw percentage (.759) and blocked shots per game (3.3) and fifth for steals per game (6.3). Stonehill commits the second fewest fouls per game (15.4) and rank second for rebounding margin (+4.9).
Senior Adam Bramanti scored a team-high 21 points on Sunday night. (PHOTO BY Tom Weishaar)
Stonehill is led by a trio of All-Northeast-10 Conference selections hailing from the Buckeye State of Ohio. Logan, a two time All-Conference performer named to the first team this season, is averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game (9th NE-10), shooting 44.2-percent from the field and 74.3-percent from the free-throw line (75-for-101), with 8.2 rebounds (7th), 4.2 assists (7th) and a steal per game. Logan, a two-time Spalding NE-10 Player of the Week this season who earned a spot on the NE-10 All-Championship team, is second on the team with ten double-doubles (19 career).
Smith and Cumpstone, both third team All-Northeast-10 selections this season, offer support of Logan. Smith is averaging 16 points per game (14th NE-10) on 45.7-percent shooting, including 44% (88-for-200) from three-point distance (7th), connecting at 85.8% (91-106) from the free-throw line (9th), with 4.0 assists (7th) per game, while adding 2.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.4 steals (5th) in 34.3 minutes per game (10th). Cumpstone, who earned CoSIDA Academic All-District™ first team honors and enters tonight's game 34 points shy of 1,000 for his career, leads the team with 13 double-doubles (17 career), including a run of six straight in February, and adds 14.5 points per game to go with a team-high 9.8 rebounds (4th NE-10) and 2.0 blocked shots (3rd) per game, shooting a team-best 53.4-percent from the floor (9th), including 43.8% (56-128) from three-point distance (9th), and converting 77.1% (37-48) of his free-throws.
Smith and Cumpstone have combined to average 32.5 points per game so far at the regional. Smith is averaging 16.5 points per game in Philadelphia on 50-percent shooting (13-26), with 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists, while Cumpstone has added 16 points on 48% shooting (12-25), including 6-for-13 (46.2%) from long range, with 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game. Logan has dished out eight assists per game this weekend to go with 12 points and six boards per game.
Saint Anselm, led by head coach Keith Dickson in his 30th season, ranks second in the NE-10 for scoring (84.9 ppg), shooting a league-best 49.8-percent from the field and 42.6-percent from three-point distance, also ranking third for assists per game (16.0), sixth for free-throw percentage (.759) and seventh for steals per game (4.9), committing the second-fewest fouls per game (15.4), along with Stonehill. The Hawks are eighth in the NE-10 for scoring defense (75.1 ppg), but tied for second in field goal percentage defense (.427) and fifth for three-point percentage defense (.337) and tied for second in rebound margin (+4.9) with Stonehill.
McCahey, a first team All-Northeast-10 selection this season, is averaging a team-high 18.7 points per game on 48.2-percent shooting, including 43.3% (71-164) from three-point range, with 6.4 rebounds per game. Taggart, a second team All-NE-10 pick, adds 15.7 points on 53.7% shooting, including 48.1% (75-165) from deep, and converting 73.5% of his free-throws with 6.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists and a steal per game. Joshua, who earned honorable mention All-NE-10 honors, contributes 14.8 points on 52.8% shooting, converting 80.3% (94-117) of his free-throws with 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per outing. Freshman Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pennsylvania/Germantown Academy), the NE-10 Rookie of the Year, chips in 11.4 points on 47.4% shooting, 4.7 rebounds and two assists per game.
2016 NCAA Division II Tournament
hosted by Holy Family University
Campus Center Gymnasium; Philadelphia, Pa.
Saturday, March 12 (Quarterfinals)
#6 St. Thomas Aquinas 92, #3 Southern Conn. State 90
#2 Saint Anselm 83, #7 Philadelphia 71
#8 Southern N.H. 88, #1 Holy Family 80
#5 Stonehill 78, #4 Bentley 62
Sunday, March 13 (Semifinals)
#2 Saint Anselm 77, #6 St. Thomas Aquinas 73
#4 Stonehill 75, #8 Southern N.H. 74 (OT)
Tuesday, March 15 (Championship)
#4 Stonehill (23-8) vs. #2 Saint Anselm (23-7), 7 p.m.