Chose Triple Lifts Men's Basketball Past Merrimack, 65-62

Chose buried a three-pointer with three seconds left to lift the Skyhawks to a third straight win. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Sims erupts for season-high 29 points to lead Skyhawk to third-straight win

NORTH ANDOVER. Mass. (February 20, 2019) – Sophomore guard Owen Chose drained a three-pointer with three-seconds remaining to lift Stonehill College to a big 65-62 victory over Merrimack College, ranked No. 4 in the first NCAA Division II East Regional rankings released earlier today, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at the Volpe Athletic Center tonight.

Freshman Andrew Sims erupted for a season-high 29 points in 31 minutes off the bench to lead three double-figure scorers for Stonehill. He scored 17 points in the second half, finishing 11-of-17 from the floor and converting 7-of-10 free-throws to go with nine rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and an assist. Chose's game-winning three-pointer capped a ten-point game on 4-of-9 shooting, including 2-for-4 from deep, while junior Will Moreton also scored ten points and grabbed nine boards.

Junior Juvaris Hayes led three Merrimack players in double-figures with 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting, adding four rebounds, five assists and three steals, while classmate Idris Joyner contributed 13 points and seven boards. Senior Ryan Boulter followed with 11 points, eight rebounds and two steals.

Chose's three-pointer capped a Stonehill rally from four points down (62-58) with three minutes to play after a three-point play from Joyner with 3:16 on the clock. Back to back baskets from Sims knotted the score at 62-62 with two minutes remaining. Both teams missed on their next two trips and then sophomore Khalief Crawford missed from deep leading to the final Skyhawks possession in which Chose drained the triple coming out of a timeout. Merrimack took a timeout, followed one by the Skyhawks, and then Sims intercepted a full-court pass to close out the visitor's third-straight win, snapping a run of six-straight road defeats.

Sims exploded for a season-high 29 points, including 17 in the second half, to lead the Skyhawks. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

The win, coupled with Southern New Hampshire University's 71-67 loss at Saint Anselm College tonight, puts Stonehill into a tie with SNHU for fifth place in the NE10 Northeast Division standings with two games to play. The Skyhawks currently hold the NE10 tiebreaker over the Penmen because of tonight's win over second-place Merrimack as SNHU has gone 0-2 against the Warriors this season, while splitting with Stonehill.

Merrimack scored the first nine points of the game as Stonehill came up empty on its first seven shots of the night, while turning the ball over another six possessions, as the Warriors staked out a 15-3 lead before Chose snapped the shooting drought with a jumper with 11:25 to play in the first half. Trailing by 12 (22-10) after a layup by Joyner with 7:46 remaining in the half, Stonehill scored the next 12 points, including five by Moreton, to knot the score (22-22) after a Moreton layup with 4:51 left in the frame. The teams essentially traded baskets the remainder of the half, until Sims sent the Skyhawks into the intermission with the lead after a three-point play with 22-seconds left capped a 12-point first half.

Stonehill stretched its lead to six (38-32) behind a three-point play from senior Michael Boen and a layup by classmate Joel Berroa two and half minutes into the second half. The Skyhawks lead grew to seven (51-44) with 11-minutes to play after a Chose three-pointer and Sims basket. Merrimack scored eight straight, including four by Hayes, to reclaim the lead (52-51) after a Hayes layup with 8:36 to play, setting the stage for the dramatic finish.   

Stonehill (14-12, 8-11 NE10) is back on the road on Saturday, when it visits Assumption College at 3:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym next Tuesday, February 26, to host nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College for Senior Night to close out the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Merrimack (17-9, 12-7 NE10) hosts Bentley University on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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