Stonehill Shoots Past Philadelphia, 70-58

Junior Patrick Lee led the Skyhawks with game-high totals of 17 points and nine rebounds this afternoon against Philadelphia. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane) 

Lee leads balanced Skyhawks effort for second-straight win

WORCESTER, Mass. (December 29, 2010) – Stonehill College returned to action following the holiday break with a 70-58 victory over Philadelphia University on day one of the 2010 East Region Classic, hosted by Assumption College, at Laska Gymnasium this afternoon.

Junior forward Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) led a balanced scoring effort for Stonehill which featured four starters in double-figures with a game-high 17 points (13 first half) on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, while converting 5-of-8 free-throws, to go with nine rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Classmate Ivan Almeida (Praia, Cape Verde) added 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting, while senior Daniel Heppert (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) contributed 14 points, a career-best six assists and three steals. Senior Mike Kernan (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) chipped in with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and nine boards.

Senior Daniel Heppert added 14 points and a career-high six assists. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Sophomore Jim Connolly (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton Area) and junior Corey Francisco (Woodbridge, N.J./Monmouth Academy) both scored a team-best 15 points to account for over half of Philadelphia's offensive output. Connolly added four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Francisco made 6-of-10 shots from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range. Junior Temi Adebayo (Ibadan, Nigeria) contributed ten points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Stonehill finished shooting 49-percent (25-for-51) from the field after building an 11-point halftime lead behind 51.7% (15-29) shooting in the opening frame, including 3-for-5 (60%) from three-point range. The Skyhawks outrebounded Philadelphia 34-25, posting a 21-6 advantage in second chance points, while also enjoying a 29-15 edge in points off turnovers. The Rams shot 42.6% (20-47) from the field, but just 37% (10-27) in the second half, and made 12-of-13 (92.3%) free-throw attempts.

Stonehill used a 17-2 run late in the first half to turn a one point (22-21) deficit into a 14-point (38-24) lead following a three-pointer from junior Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) with 2:11 left in the stanza. Tongo, Lee and sophomore Brian Hamor (Guilderland, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) all scored five points during the run. Philadelphia closed back within eight before Heppert capped the half with a three-point play for an 11-point Skyhawks lead at the break. Stonehill out-rebounded the Rams 21-8 in the opening 20 minutes, allowing only one offensive rebound and collecting 11 of its own on the offensive end.

Philadelphia made a run at Stonehill early in the second half, drawing within two (45-43) after a Connolly tip-in with 14:12 to play. The Rams were still within three (49-46) after a Connolly three with 10:47 left, but Stonehill rebounded and scored ten-straight points to push its lead to 13 (59-46) after two free-throws by Almeida, who scored four points in all during that stretch. The Skyhawks didn't get back within single digits the rest of the way and led by as much as 15 (69-54) after Hamor made one of two at the line.

Stonehill (7-3, 3-3 NE-10) will face Holy Family University on day two of the East Region Classic here at Laska Gym tomorrow at 1 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Wednesday, January 5, when it hosts Southern Connecticut State University at 7:30 p.m. Philadelphia (5-5, 2-1 CACC) faces host Assumption College tomorrow at 3 p.m.