Southern Connecticut State Rallies Past Men's Basketball, 73-64

Lee posted his first career double-double with 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Mallory's 21 second half points lead Owls comeback from 17-point halftime deficit

EASTON, Mass. (January 7, 2017) – Southern Connecticut State University, ranked third in the most recent D2SIDA East Region poll, erased a 17-point halftime deficit and claimed a 73-64 triumph over ninth-ranked Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action on Paula Sullivan Court at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Senior Michael Mallory (Waterbury, Connecticut/Holy Cross) scored 21 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to lead the Southern Connecticut State rally. He finished shooting 9-for-23 from the field and 2-for-8 from three-point distance, while converting 4-of-7 free-throws for the afternoon after connecting on just 1-of-7 shots in the first half, including 0-for-3 from beyond the arc, while adding five rebounds and two assists.

Junior Jerry Luckett, Jr. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin/Brown Deer) added 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, draining his lone three-point attempt, and converting 2-of-4 free-throws to go with six rebounds. Senior Kayjuan Bynum (Springfield, Massachusetts/Putnum) rounded out the Owls double-figure scorers with ten points on 4-of-6 shooting, canning both three-point tries, and grabbing six boards, while sophomore Joey Wallace (Rochester, New York/Immaculate) chipped in with nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.

Junior KJ Lee (Huntington Station, New York/Long Island Lutheran) posted his first career double-double to lead the way for Stonehill, which has dropped back to back games, with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 1-for-2 from beyond the arc, converting 7-of-8 free-throws with a career-high 12 rebounds, two assists and a steal. Freshman Daniel Largey (Oceanport, New York/Peddie School) netted a team-high 19 points off the bench on 6-of-14 shooting, including 5-for-11 from deep, converting 2-of-4 free-throws, with two rebounds, two assists and a steal, while senior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) was limited to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting, including 1-for-6 from long distance, four boards, three assists and two steals.

Southern Connecticut State finished shooting 46.7-percent from the field (28-for-60), including 55.9% (19-34) in the second half, while connecting on 7-of-20 three-pointers (35%), including 6-for-12 (50%) over the final 20 minutes. The Owls enjoyed a 29-12 advantage in points off turnovers as Stonehill committed 20, compared to 13 for the visitors – just three after halftime. Stonehill, which leads the NE10 in field goal percentage at over 51-percent for the season, was held to 40.7% (22-54) for the afternoon, including 33.3% (8-24) in the second half, connecting on 9-of-27 three-pointers (33.3%), just 3-for-14 (21.4%) in the final half.

Largey hit 5-of-11 three-pointers for 19 points off the bench. (PHOTO BY Mike Tureski/SportsPix)

Southern Connecticut scored the first seven points of the afternoon, but Stonehill quickly recovered and turned a five point deficit (9-4) after a Bynum basket 4:21 into the game into a seven point lead (19-12) with a 15-3 run over the next five minutes. Largey drained three three-pointers during that stretch, while Logan added one of his own. The Skyhawks extended the lead to nine (23-14) with a Lee layup with nine minutes remaining in the half and then he pushed the advantage to 12 (28-16) with a three-pointer with 6:11 to go.

Southern drew back within eight (28-20) after a Luckett, Jr. layup with five minutes left in the frame, but Stonehill scored 13 of the last 17 points of the half to open a 17 point lead (41-24) at the break following a Lee jumper with five seconds to go. Southern wasted little time getting back in the game, pulling within eight (46-38) after a layup from sophomore Isaiah McLeod (Cambridge, Massachusetts/Cambridge Rindge & Latin) five minutes into the second half.

The teams traded baskets until Southern closed the gap to six (50-44) on a layup by Wallace with 13:36 still to play. Stonehill reclaimed an 11 point cushion (55-44) following a layup by junior Joel Berroa (Lawrence, Massachusetts/Bridgton Academy) with 12:34 left, but the Owls reeled off the next 14 points to take the lead (58-55) after two Mallory free-throws with 6:38 to go. He scored eight points in all during the run and after the Skyhawks ended their drought with a layup from sophomore Michael Boen (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield), Southern stretched the lead to six (63-57) with a Mallory jumper with 4:19 on the clock.

Mallory extended Southern's lead to nine (68-59) with three minutes remaining, but Largey canned a triple to draw Stonehill within six on its next possession. That would be as close as the hosts would get as Luckett, Jr. answered with a three of his own and the Owls closed the game out from there.

Stonehill (9-6, 4-5 NE10) is back on the road for a pair of games next week, starting with a Tuesday afternoon matchup at the University of New Haven at 3 p.m. The Skyhawks return home on Wednesday, January 18, to host Adelphi University for an NE10 battle at 7:30 p.m. Southern Connecticut State (11-4, 7-1 NE10) hosts Merrimack College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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