Men's Basketball Stops Southwest Minnesota State, 84-78

Moreton scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the first half for the Skyhawks (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Moreton and Twitty combine for 41 point to lead Skyhawks

DULUTH, Minn. (November 15, 2019) – Stonehill College, ranked No. 6 in the D2SIDA East Region preseason poll, turned the ball over just four times and canned 8-of-11 three-pointers in the second half to secure an 84-78 victory over Southwest Minnesota State University in non-conference men's basketball action on day one of the 2019 American Family Insurance Classic, hosted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth, at Romano Gymnasium tonight.

Seniors Will Moreton and Brandon Twitty combined for 41 point to lead Stonehill to the win. Moreton scored 12 of his game and season-high 21 points in the first half, connecting on 4-of-6 three-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws, to go with six rebounds and three assists. Twitty added 20 points, including 12 in the second half, on 7-of-18 shooting, including 2-for-4 from three, connecting on 4-of-6 free throws to go with two rebounds and two steals. Sophomore Shamir Johnson contributed a season-high 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-for-3 from three, and two assists, while classmate Andrew Sims chipped in with nine points and six boards.

Junior Kenny Byers led a balanced effort for Southwest Minnesota State with five in double-figures, posting a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, and three assists. Sophomore Grant Kramer netted a team-high matching 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, with three rebounds and four assists, while junior Nick Dufault added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting off the bench, draining 3-of-5 threes, with two assists. Freshman Cliff McCray contributed 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while junior Weston Baker Magrath chipped in ten points on 5-of-7 shooting with four blocked shots.

Twitty scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Stonehill used a 12-0 run to turn a seven point first half deficit (14-7) after a Kramer three-pointer five minutes into the game into a five point lead (19-14) following a Johnson triple three minutes later. Johnson scored eight of his season-high 13 points during that stretch for the Skyhawks, and then Southwest Minnesota State followed with a 10-2 run to regain the lead (26-23) on a three-pointer from freshman Brian Dayman with 7:21 remaining in the half.

Stonehill pulled even (37-37) at the intermission and, then after Kramer opened the second half with a three-pointer, the Skyhawks used a 14-4 run to grab a seven point lead (51-44) three minutes into the frame, after a pair of three-pointers from Sims. Moreton gave Stonehill an eight-point cushion (54-46) with a three-pointer with 14:36 to play and then Johnson connected from beyond the arc for a nine-point advantage (60-51) a minute later.

Kramer pulled Southwest Minnesota State within a point (61-60) with 10:35 to play, but Twitty buried back to back threes to restore a seven point Stonehill lead (67-60) a half minute later. The Mustangs pulled back within a point (71-70) with 5:26 to go and was still within a point (73-72) after a Byers layup with 3:45 left. The Skyhawks followed with five-straight, capped by a three-point play from senior Michael Boen with 2:30 left to open a six-point cushion. Dufault drained a three to make it a one possession game (78-75) with two minutes remaining, but the Mustangs would get no closer as Stonehill answered with four-straight, including a three-point play from Moreton to seal the win.

Stonehill (2-1, 0-0 NE10) is right back in action tomorrow, for day two of the American Family Insurance Classic against host Minnesota-Duluth at 6 p.m. (EST). The Skyhawks home opener is Saturday, November 23, against Saint Michael's College for a Northeast-10 Conference clash at Merkert Gymnasium at 3:30 p.m. SMSU (1-2, 0-0 NSIC) faces Northern Michigan University tomorrow at 4 p.m. (EST).

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