Men's Basketball Holds Off Assumption, 70-67

Logan totaled 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists to lead the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Bess leads balanced Skyhawks effort with 18 points

WORCESTER, Mass. (February 11, 2017) – Stonehill College held off Assumption College down the stretch to claim a 70-67 victory in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Laska Gymnasium this afternoon.

Junior Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) paced a balanced scoring effort for Stonehill which placed four in double-figures with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 2-for-4 from three-point distance, while converting all four free-throw attempts, including pair with seven seconds remaining to seal the victory, to go with two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Senior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) added 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting, and team-highs of seven rebounds and four assists with a blocked shot and a steal.

Freshman Daniel Largey (Oceanport, New Jersey/Peddie School) registered 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, with four rebounds, while junior KJ Lee (Huntington Station, New York/Long Island Lutheran) contributed ten points and five boards. Junior Joel Berroa (Lawrence, Massachusetts/Bridgton Academy) chipped in with six rebounds.

Freshman Branislav Vujadinovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led Assumption with a game-high 22 points off the bench on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, with five rebounds. Sophomore Damien Rance (Melbourne, Australia) contributed 11 points, six rebounds and three assists, while senior Declan Soukup (Melbourne, Australia) rounded out the double-figure scorers with ten points, six rebounds and four assists. Freshman Patrick Fleming (Dobbs Ferry, New York/Iona Prep) chipped in with six points and six boards.

Stonehill finished shooting 47.5-percent from the field (28-for-59), including 51.5% (17-33) in the first half to build a 14 point halftime lead (37-23), connecting on 6-of-15 three-pointers (40%) and draining 8-of-13 free-throw attempts (61.5%) for the contest. Assumption shot 44.3% (27-61) overall, including 57.6% in the second half (19-33) to get back in the game, burying 6-of-11 three-pointers (54.5%) in the closing 20 minutes to finish shooting 47.4% (9-19) from long range overall. The Greyhounds converted on 4-of-6 free-throws (66.7%) for the contest.

Bess scored a team-high 18 points to lead a balanced offensive effort. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Stonehill scored the first 13 points of the contest, including six from Lee, holding Assumption without a basket until freshman Austin Kearney (Monroeville, New Jersey/Gloucester Country Christian) got the Greyhounds on the scoreboard with a basketball eight minutes in. Assumption closed within eight (15-7) after a Soukup three-pointer midway through the half, but the Skyhawks followed with five quick points from Bess to regain a 13 point cushion (22-9) less than two minutes later.

Stonehill carried a 14-point lead (37-23) into the second half, pushing the advantage to a game-high 17 (44-27) after a Logan jumper two minutes in. Assumption responded with a 13-0 run to closed the gap to just four (44-40) after a Soukup layup with 13:35 still to play, led by six points from Vujadinovic. The Skyhawks held and pushed the lead back to nine (51-42) with two Bess free-throws and a Largey triple.

Stonehill stretched its lead to ten (63-53) after Berroa made one of two free-throws with 4:50 to play, but Assumption scored the next seven points to pull within a possession (63-60) after a jumper by sophomore Justin Tuckson (Stafford, Virginia/Christ Chapel Academy) with 2:32 remaining. Bess responded with a three-pointer to push the lead back to six, but the Greyhounds took advantage of a missed basket, a turnover and missed free-throw by the Skyhawks to close within two (66-64) after a Soukup layup with 39-seconds to play.

Lee stemmed the tide initially with a pair of free-throws for Stonehill with 37-seconds to go, but after Vujadinovic missed from long-range, the Skyhawks missed the front end of a one and one and Vijadinovic buried a corner three to close the gap to a point (68-67) with nine seconds to go. Bess was fouled and sealed the win with a pair of free-throws, before an off-balanced Greyhounds three at the buzzer was off the mark to sew up Stonehill's fourth win over the last five games.

Stonehill (14-10, 9-9 NE10) returns home on Wednesday to host Saint Anselm College for a big NE10 battle at Merkert Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Assumption (6-19, 4-14 NE10) visits Merrimack College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

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