March 15, 2009

BROOKVILLE, NY --- Fourth-seeded Assumption College behind a blistering second-half attack came-from-behind to defeat fifth-seeded Stonehill College, 61-49, in the quarterfinal round of the N.C.A.A. Division II East Regional here SATURDAY night at the Pratt Center on the campus of L.I.U. C.W. Post.

The Greyhounds trailed 28-25 at the half and came out with a 25-6 run to move to a 50-34 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining. The Hounds are now 23-9 overall while Stonehill finishes its season at 21-8.

"We certainly came ready to play and with a veteran team that usually brings good results," said Greyhound's head coach SERGE DE BARI. "We did a good job on the boards limiting Stonehill to one shot per trip and on offense did a fine job with ball movement. We needed to make the open shots and in the early going they were not falling."

The 94th meeting between the two Northeast-10 Conference institutions was their first-ever in the N.C.A.A. postseason. The Greyhounds are making their 26th appearance in the tournament, only Kentucky Wesleyan (40), Philadelphia (31) and Virginia Union (27) have been to more in Division II.

In other scores yesterday: seventh-seeded Merrimack College (21-8) edged UMass Lowell (21-8) (86-84), in overtime; second-seeded Bentley University (25-6) ran past the University of Bridgeport (22-9) (79-53), and undefeated No. 2 nationally ranked and top-seeded host L.I.U.-C.W. Post (28-0) defeated No. 8 Philadelphia (25-6) (73-51).

Tonight's (Sunday) semifinals will feature Bentley vs. Merrimack at 5 p.m. and L.I.U.-C.W. Post vs. Assumption at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be webcast free on www.ncaa.com.

"Now we have an opportunity to play Post again (the Hounds were soundly defeated in December, 84-59) however this time we are playing our best ball of the season and we'll have Courtland Bluford." The junior sparkplug guard Bluford averages 11 points off-the-bench for the Greyhounds however missed the first nine games of the season.

Stonehill struggled to a 28-25 halftime advantage with junior forward A.J. RUDOWITZ (Monroe Township, NJ/Monroe Townsship) (15 points) leading the way with seven points. Senior forward NICK SMITH, (Colonia, NJ/Colonia), the biggest player on the squad at 6 foot-6, 235-pounds, drilled two top-of-the-circle three-pointers to give the Skyhawks offense a jump start. Stonehill made five-of-eight three-pointers, however, made just four-of-16 inside the arc. Sophomore forward MAX KERNAN (Medford, NJ/Shawnee) was dominate on the boards with nine including four on the offensive glass. He finished with a game-high 15 rebounds.

For the Greyhounds, former Holy Name standout DOMINIQUE PRICE (Worcester, MA/Holy Name) (4 points and 5 rebounds) and junior "super sub" guard COURTLAND BLUFORD (Ft. Washington, MD/St. Vincent Pallotti) (7 points) were key factors. The Hounds shot just 12-of-32 from the floor and struggled from behind the arc making just one-of-seven.

The Greyhounds took the lead 32-30 as senior guard/captain PATRICK SHEA (Salem, MA/Salem) drilled a three-pointer off his own steal with 17:57 left in the half. Junior center SAVOY FRAINE (Grenada Hills, CA/Grenada Hills) (15 points, 5 rebounds) then scored inside on a feed from postgraduate forward GREG TWOMEY (Groton, MA/Groton-Dunstable) (11 points, 7 rebounds) for a four-point lead (34-30).

Rudowitz stopped the streak with a power move inside for the Skyhawks and then sophomore forward MIKE BALDARELLI (Sutton, MA/Holy Name) converted inside at the other end.

A Fraine steal and layin, a Twomey turnaround lane jumper, a Fraine free throw capped by a Baldarelli three-pointer from the deep corner to make it 44-34 with 14:27 left. After a media timeout Shea and Twomey made three pointers to make it 50-34.