Stonehill holds off West Liberty
Lee scores final seven points to lead Skyhawks to next round
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- Patrick Lee’s two free throws with 6.6 seconds remaining were enough to finally seal a 91-90 win for Stonehill against third-ranked West Liberty on Wednesday afternoon in a back-and-forth national quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
The senior scored the last seven points of the game for Stonehill and calmly drained both of his final shots in a one-and-one situation to make the score 91-87. The last free throw effectively preserved the win because of a running 3-pointer seconds later by West Liberty guard Alex Falk that provided the final margin.
The Skyhawks, making their second trip to the Division II Elite Eight in school history and winners of 10 in a row, will next meet Western Washington.
Senior Andre Tongo led Stonehill with 24 points, leading four Skyhawks in double figures. Freshman Jack Cole scored 15 and Lee and junior Raheem May-Thompson each added 14.
Falk led all scorers with 26 points for West Liberty, which came into the game as the top offensive team in the nation with a 102.8 average per game. Sophomore Keene Cockburn added 17 points off the bench, freshman Shawn Dyer scored 15 and junior Tim Hausfeld scored 13 for the Hilltoppers.
Stonehill twice led by at least nine points, but the Hilltoppers rallied each time and actually went ahead by 10 points at 71-61 with 9:49 to play in the game.
Two consecutive 3-pointers by junior Brian Hamor gave the Skyhawks their second nine-point lead at 57-48 nearly five minutes into the second half, but West Liberty started on a 21-3 run to take its largest lead. Dyer’s drive and layup with 13:53 to play gave the Hilltoppers their first lead since a 28-27 advantage in the first half. Twominutes later, Dyer hit a layup to put West Liberty in front 71-61.
The Skyhawks were seemingly unfazed and followed with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 71-70 with 7:53 to play. Tongo’s 3-pointer with 6:33 remaining got the lead back for Stonehill at 75-73 and the Hilltoppers never led again. Sophomore Mitchell Amelio hit a 3-pointer withjust less than six minutes to play to give Stonehill the lead for good.
Lee started his final-minutes run with a put-back basket and a layup to increase Stonehill’s lead from one point to 88-83. Falk and Lee each hit one of two free throws to make it 89-84 before Falk hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two and set up Lee’s final free throws.
Stonehill also led by nine points in the first half after a 3-pointer by Amelio made the score 25-16, but West Liberty went on a 12-2 run to take a short-lived 28-27 lead. Cockburn capped the run with two straight 3-pointers to force a Stonehill timeout.
The Skyhawks responded with a 5-0 run to retake the lead and surged ahead by seven again, 42-35, before a mini 6-0 run by Cockburn got the Hilltoppers back to within a point at 42-41 in the closing minute of the first half. Stonehill scored the last three points of the half and led 45-41 at halftime.