WORCESTER, Mass. — Second-seeded Stonehill has captured its second regional championship in program history with a 75-70 victory against fifth-seeded Bloomfield, to conclude the NCAA tournament East Regional, hosted by top-seeded Franklin Pierce.
Stonehill (24-8, 15-7 NE-10) advances to the Elite Eight for the second time in program history and will face West Liberty (32-2, 21-1 WVIAC). The Skyhawks advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 2006 during head coach David McLaughlin’s third season at the helm. Bloomfield, the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference regular season and tournament champions sees its season come to a close with a 26-8 record overall, 15-3 in the CACC.
Junior guard Brian Hamor scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half for Stonehill and was named the East Regional MVP after posting three 20-point outings during the weekend. He made 6-of-15 shots from the field, including 3-for-9 from three-point range, while converting 5-of-6 free-throws to go with four assists. Hamor averaged 22.3 points per game in the Skyhawks three regional victories.
Junior Raheem May-Thompson led a Stonehill bench that outscored the Bloomfield reserves 32-13 with 15 points, on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, five rebounds and two blocked shots. Classmate Adam Fazzini also came off the bench to net 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc, with two rebounds and two assists. Senior Patrick Lee, who joined Hamor on the All-Tournament team, chipped in seven points, six boards and three assists, while senior Andre Tongo contributed in with seven points, a team-high seven rebounds, and two assists.
Freshman Marvin Williams led all scorers with a game-high 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting from the field, including 3-for-7 from beyond the arc, while converting all three free-throws, with seven rebounds. Senior Matt Wafula was also named to the All-Tournament team after posting a double-double effort of 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds (eight offensive). Classmate Ahmad Harris rounded out the double-figure scorers with ten points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Deacons.
Stonehill shot 45.2-percent (13-for-31) from the field in the second half, including 4-for-9 from beyond the arc, to finish shooting 43.1 percent (25-58) overall, 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) from deep. The Skyhawks posted a 19-10 advantage in points off turnovers and converted 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) free-throws. Bloomfield shot 40.3 percent (27-for-67) from the field, but just 5-for-17 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and converted 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) free-throws in the contest. The Deacons posted a 43-38 rebounding edge, resulting in a commanding 20-5 advantage in second chance points.
Stonehill carried a seven point (32-25) lead into halftime, and after Williams opened the second half with a layup to trim the Bloomfield deficit to five, Stonehill used a 14-6 run to rush out to a 13 point advantage (46-33) after a fast break dunk from May-Thompson 4:27 into the final frame. The Deacons closed within five (50-45) on a Williams 3-pointer with 11:59 remaining, but the Skyhawks were able to regain a nine point cushion (56-47) on a put back from Lee with 9:40 to go.
Bloomfield again closed within three (56-53) after a layup by Williams with 7:37 left and after Fazzini answered with a basket, scored five consecutive points to draw even (58-58) on a 3-pointer from sophomore Steve Henderson with 5:52 left to play. Stonehill held firm and got a give and go layup from Tongo and Hamor three pointer to regain a five point cushion (63-58) with 4:52 left.
Sophomore Kevin Udo hit one of two at the line for Bloomfield and then Hamor drilled a contested three with 2:43 to play to put the Skyhawks up seven (66-59). Stonehill held Bloomfield without a field goal after Williams game-tying three until he added a layup to pull within six (67-61) with 1:12 on the clock. The Deacons went 1-for-6 from the after that three until Henderson and Williams hit triples in the final 11-seconds to close back within five in the waning seconds. Stonehill did just enough at the line down the stretch, converting 9-of-12 in the final 1:18 to seal the win.
Stonehill trailed by six (18-12) after Harris scored a Bloomfield layup with 6:57 remaining in the first half. The Skyhawks reeled off nine consecutive points to take the lead (21-18) after a Hamor layup with 4:54 on the clock after sophomore Mitch Amelio drilled a three to put them in front.
Harris converted a three point play to pull Bloomfield even (21-21) with 3:17 remaining, but Stonehill closed the half with an 11-4 run to take a seven point lead into halftime (32-25). Fazzini sparked the key run with a pair of triples, while May-Thompson chipped in three points.