Stonehill Men's Basketball Earns First Elite Eight Berth Since 2006
For Immediate Release
March 13, 2012
Worcester, Mass. – Second-seeded Stonehill College took down defending regional champion and fifth-seeded Bloomfield College on Tuesday night, earning a 75-70 victory in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball East Regional Championship contest at Laska Gymnasium on the campus of Assumption College.
The Skyhawks, who also won this year's Northeast-10 Conference Championship, will now move on to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Highland Heights, Ky., which is scheduled for March 21-24. It marks the program's second regional championship and first since the 2005-06 campaign.
Stonehill junior Brian Hamor had 20 points in the title game to earn Most Outstanding Player honors at the NCAA East Regional, while teammate Patrick Lee was also named to the All-Tournament Team after totaling seven points and six rebounds in the championship contest.
Bloomfield's Marvin Williams and Matt Wafula were also named to the All-Tournament Team, as was Franklin Pierce University's Ellis Cooper. Williams had a game-high 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 18 in the second half, while Wafula totaled 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Deacons.
Deadlocked at 58-58 with 5:52 to play in regulation, Stonehill's Andre Tongo converted a layup down low before Hamor knocked down a three to go back up by five. Following a Bloomfield free throw, Hamor proceeded to knock down another three from the corner to extend the Stonehill lead to 66-59 with 2:43 remaining.
Bloomfield would not get any closer than seven points down the stretch before a pair of three-pointers in the final 11 seconds accounted for the 75-70 final.
Up 32-25 at the break, Stonehill began the second half on a 14-8 run to increase its lead to 13 at 46-33 with 15:33 remaining, although Bloomfield stormed right back to score 12 of the game's next 15 points to cut the advantage back down to 50-45 with 11:59 left in regulation.
The Skyhawks stretched it back up to an 11-point lead, but the Deacons went on an 11-2 run over a 3:19 stretch, which was capped by a Steve Henderson three-pointer to tie it at 58-58.
Both teams shot 40 percent from the field in the first half, but it was Stonehill that owned the seven-point advantage at the break following an 11-4 Skyhawks' run over the final 3:16 of the half.
Bloomfield, which shot 72.7 percent from three-point range in its 69-60 semifinal win over Franklin Pierce, shot just 1-of-9 from long range in the first half while committing 12 turnovers in the opening stanza.
Stonehill, known for its defensive prowess, was ranked fourth nationally in points allowed per game (58.4) and 11th in the country in opponents field goal percentage (.395) entering Tuesday night's regional championship. The Skyhawks got there by defeating No. 7 seed District of Columbia, 65-61, in the opening round and then took down third-seeded Adelphi University, 68-58, in the semifinals.
The Deacons, meanwhile, defeated fourth-seeded University of Massachusetts Lowell, 91-83, in the NCAA quarterfinals before upsetting top-seeded Franklin Pierce this past Sunday.
Stonehill's Raheem May-Thompson finished with 15 points and five rebounds for the Skyhawks, while Ahmad Harris of Bloomfield chipped in 10 points and eight boards in the loss.
For complete Elite Eight coverage regarding the Skyhawks, be sure to follow the Northeast-10 on Twitter (@TheNortheast10).
The Northeast-10 Conference is an association of 16 NCAA Division II colleges and universities located in New England and New York that is committed to supporting balanced academic and athletic opportunities for more than 5,500 student-athletes. Each year, 4,000 of those student-athletes compete in Conference championships in 23 sports, making the NE-10 the largest DII conference in the country. Leading the way in the classroom, on the field and within the community, the Northeast-10 is proud of its comprehensive program and the experience it provides student-athletes.