Stonehill Soars Past UMass Lowell, 69-58

Senior Daniel Heppert notched a double-double with 16 points and ten rebounds to go with three steals. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Skyhawks use hot-shooting second half to run past River Hawks

LOWELL, Mass. (January 2, 2010) – Stonehill College shot over 55-percent in the second half to erase a seven point halftime deficit and open the New Year with a 69-58 victory over the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Costello Athletic Center this afternoon.

Senior Daniel Heppert (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) led Stonehill with a double-double effort of 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 1-for-2 from three-point range, while converting 5-of-6 free-throw attempts to go with ten rebounds and three steals. Junior Ivan Almeida (Praia, Cape Verde) also netted 16 points, on 6-of-12 shooting from the field, and two steals, while senior Mike Kernan (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds to go with nine points and three blocked shots. Junior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Skyhawks with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Freshman Antonio Bivins (Miami, Fla./American) led UMass Lowell with 14 points off the bench on 6-of-7 shooting from the field while converting both free-throw attempts to go with seven rebounds and four steals. Sophomore Matt Welch (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) added 14 points and two steals, while freshman Akeem Williams (Brockton, Mass./The Winchendon School) contributed 13 points, four steals and a blocked shot.

Stonehill finished shooting 48-percent (24-for-50) from the field after burying 55.2% (16-for-29) of its shots in the second half to erase the seven point (29-22) halftime deficit. The Skyhawks dominated the glass, finishing with a 46-29 rebounding advantage that resulted in a 17-10 edge in second chance points, and also enjoyed a 16-5 margin in points off turnovers despite committing 23 turnovers to 15 for UMass Lowell. The River Hawks were held to 37.3-percent (22-for-59) shooting from the floor for the contest, including 4-for-19 (21.1%) from three-point range, and were outscored at the free-throw line 19-10.

Junior Ivan Almeida also scored 16 points to go with two steals. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)

Stonehill opened the second half with a 20-4 run to turn a seven point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead (42-33) after a free-throw from sophomore Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) with 13:51 left in regulation. Heppert had five points during that run, including a three-pointer to force the first tie of the game three minutes into the half.

UMass Lowell closed back within three (44-41) after a Welch layup with 11:18 to play. However, Stonehill scored the next ten points to open its largest lead of the game at 13 points (54-41) on a Lee tip-in with 8:48 to go, while Heppert sparked the run with a pair of three-point plays. The River Hawks again closed within three (60-57) on a Williams jumper with 4:01 remaining,  but the Skyhawks held UML without a field goal the rest of the way and ran their lead back to 12 (69-57) after Heppert made a free-throw with 33-seconds to play that sealed the win.

UMass Lowell closed out the first half with a 17-5 run to earn its first lead of the afternoon and carry the seven point cushion into the break. Neither team scored for the first two-plus minutes, with Stonehill jumping out to a 14-8 lead after a three-pointer from junior Andre
(Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough)
just past the midway point of the half.

Stonehill (9-3, 4-3 NE-10) is back in action on Wednesday when it returns home for the first time in over a month to host Southern Connecticut State University at 7:30 p.m. UMass Lowell (8-3, 4-3 NE-10) hosts Assumption College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.