Men's Basketball Finishes Strong Against Bridgeport, 87-83

Logan notched his 24th career 20-point game with a season-high 26, including the 1500th of his career today. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Logan leads Skyhawks to sixth-straight win with season-high 26 points, including 1,500th of career to move into eighth on program's all-time scoring list

EASTON, Mass. (December 31, 2016) – Stonehill College, ranked ninth in the most recent D2SIDA East Region poll, turned in a strong second half effort to claim its sixth straight win with a key 87-83 decision over the University of Bridgeport, ranked eighth in the region, in a non-conference men's basketball New Year's Eve matinee on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Senior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) led all scorers with a season-high 26 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field, including 2-for-4 from three-point distance, converting 4-of-6 free-throws to become just the the eighth player in Stonehill men's basketball history to surpass 1,500 career points. He scored 15 of his points in the first half to keep the Skyhawks close as they trailed by as much as nine before pulling within five at halftime, adding five rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot for the game. Logan's 1,509 points in 101 career games rank eighth in program history as he surpassed both Ed Grzembski '91 (1,486 points) and David Donnelly '99 (1,498) this afternoon after moving into the career top ten at Georgian Court University on Thursday.

Junior KJ Lee (Huntington Station, New York/Long Island Lutheran) added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, draining his lone three-point attempt, with three rebounds and two assists. Classmate Joel Berroa (Lawrence, Massachusetts/Bridgton Academy) and freshman Brandon Twitty (Randolph, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial) each contributed ten points to round out Stonehill's double-figure scorers. Berroa made 4-of-8 shots from the floor and grabbed three boards, while Twitty shot 3-for-6, including 2-for-5 from three, draining both free-throw attempts, with two steals.

Senior Kyle Benjamin (Bronx, New York/Erie CC) scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half to lead Bridgeport, finishing with a double-double as he grabbed a game-high ten rebounds, blocked two shots and dished out two assists, connecting on 8-of-11 shots from the floor. Junior Sam Joseph (Brooklyn, New York/Jamestown CC) added 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting off the bench with two rebounds, while classmate Carlos DeJesus (Bronx, New York/Monroe CC) totaled 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-for-5 from deep, with two assists and two steals.

Lee added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting with three rebounds. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Stonehill shot 57.4-percent from the field (31-for-54), including 62.1% (18-29) in the second half, connecting on 9-of-22 three-pointers (40.9%), burying 6-of-13 (46.2%) in the second half, and converted 16-of-18 free-throws (88.9%) for the afternoon. Bridgeport finished shooting 54.1% (33-61) overall, including 56.3% (18-32) in the first half, connecting at 43.8% (7-16) from deep, and 58.8% (10-17) from the free-throw line. The Purple Knights held a 30-25 rebounding edge, aiding in a 14-2 advantage in second chance points, while outscoring the hosts 20-13 in points off turnovers.

Stonehill overcame a sluggish start defensively in the first half with a strong second half effort to secure its sixth straight win and hand Bridgeport a fourth straight loss. The Skyhawks trailed nearly the entire opening half, save for a quick one-point lead in the opening minutes, including a pair of nine point deficits in the final five minutes of the half. Bridgeport held a 39-30 advantage after a layup from junior Marc Campbell (Elmont, New York/Nassau CC) with 2:54 to play in the opening frame. The Skyhawks scored eight straight, keyed by three-pointers from Twitty and freshman Will Moreton (Minneapolis, Minnesota/Edina), to cut the gap to a point (39-38) with a minute to go, but the Purple Knights scored the final four points of the half to carry a five-point lead (43-38) into halftime.

Stonehill emerged from the intermission and scored eight of the first nine points of the second half to grab the lead (46-44) on a Berroa three-pointer 75-seconds in. Twitty scored five of his ten points during the opening surge, including a three-pointer to knot the score at 43-43. The teams stayed within a possession of each other over the next five minutes before Stonehill claimed a six-point advantage (57-51) with 13:43 remaining after a Lee layup and Logan three-pointer.

Bridgeport drew within a point (60-59) with a DeJesus triple with 12-minutes left, but Stonehill answered and regained its six-point lead (65-59) after a three-pointer by freshman Daniel Largey (Oceanport, New Jersey/Peddie School) with 11:14 on the clock. The Skyhawks lead was still six (69-63) at the midway point of the half, when the Purple Knights closed the gap to a point again (69-68) following a Benjamin layup with seven minutes still to play.

Stonehill wouldn't surrender the lead, although Bridgeport evened the score (75-75) with four minutes remaining after back to back Benjamin baskets. The Skyhawks answered with three-pointers from Lee and Largey around a Benjamin dunk to push their lead to four (81-77) with 2:38 left. Logan answered a Joseph layup and then after sophomore Rakim Lesane (Coney Island, New York/Jamestown CC) followed with a layup, Stonehill held on a defensive possession after a turnover to preserve the lead and the Skyhawks made all four free-throw attempts in the final 20-seconds to seal the victory.

Stonehill (9-4, 4-3 NE10) returns to Northeast-10 Conference play on Wednesday, January 4, at Le Moyne College, ranked tenth in the region, at 3 p.m. Note the time change on the game from the original schedule. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym next Saturday, January 7, to host Southern Connecticut State University, ranked third in the region, at 3:30 p.m. Bridgeport (7-6, 3-1 ECC) hosts Queens (N.Y.) College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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