January 28, 2014

CHAMPION NAILS GO-AHEAD THREE-POINTER AS MEN’S BASKETBALL RALLIES FOR 68-65 WIN AT STONEHILL

Easton, Mass. – Senior guard Nate Champion (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) nailed a three-pointer from the right corner with 36 seconds left to give the Le Moyne College men's basketball team the lead en route to a 68-65 victory at Stonehill College on Tuesday night in Northeast-10 Conference action at Merkert Gymnasium.

Champion finished the game with 16 points, nine of which he scored in the first half, while dishing out a game-high seven assists and recording three rebounds and two steals. Junior guard Naté Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Poughkeepsie/Quinnipiac) led the Dolphins with a game-high 17 points off the bench, including 12 in the first half, while grabbing four rebounds and handing out a career-high four assists. Graduate student center Jim Janson (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville) registered 15 points (11 in the first half) and five blocked shots, while sophomore forward Connor Mahoney (Hanover, Mass./BC High/Brooks School) tallied 11 points and a team-best six rebounds.

Pierce Cumpstone led the Skyhawks in the loss with 17 points off the bench, including 11 in the first half. Adam Bramanti recorded 15 points (11 in the first half), five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Ryan Logan posted 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

After Jack Cole dunked the ball with 2:11 left to give Stonehill a 65-60 lead, the Dolphins scored the last eight points of the game. Gause started the comeback by sinking three foul shots with 1:14 left after getting fouled on a three-pointer from the left corner. Following a missed three-pointer by Bramanti on the other end and a rebound by Gause, sophomore guard Qwadere Lovell (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) pushed the ball up court and found Champion in the right corner, where he buried his three-pointer of the game with 36 seconds to play.

After Janson blocked a shot by Cole with 24 seconds left and Champion pulled in the rebound, Lovell pushed the lead to 68-65 by making two foul shots with 21 seconds left. Out of a Stonehill timeout with 18 seconds remaining, Josh Heyliger had a chance to tie the score with seven seconds to go, but misfired on a three-pointer from the right side. Ryan Logan grabbed the offensive rebound, but had his outlet pass tipped out-of-bounds with 1.7 seconds left. Off the ensuing in-bounds pass, Cumpstone connected on a three-pointer, but the basket was waved off due to stepping on the sideline before getting the shot off. Despite stealing Le Moyne's in-bounds pass in the paint, the Skyhawks were unable to put a shot on target.

The Dolphins, who have won six straight games over the Skyhawks at Merkert Gymnasium, opened the game by scoring the first four points and nine of the first 12 of the opening 4:46. Janson had five of the points, while Champion had the other four.

Stonehill (5-13, 2-11 NE-10) responded with 10 of the next 12 points to take its first lead with 11:57 left. After Jimmy Walsh made a jumper and Bramanti hit a three-pointer, Cumpstone made a lay-up and a three-pointer.

Le Moyne answered back with a 16-2 run over the next four minutes to take the largest lead of the game. Gause tallied six of the points, Janson had four and Mahoney and Champion each drained three-pointers.

Following eight points by each team over the next four minutes, the Skyhawks scored 12 of the last 17 points of the half to pull within 40-35 at the intermission. Cumpstone hit a pair of three-pointers in the last 2:22, while Logan and Bramanti each made three-pointers.

After a Janson dunk and a Lovell three-pointer pushed Le Moyne's lead to 45-37 with 17:07 left, the Skyhawks tallied 24 of the next 32 points over a span of 11 and one-half minutes to reverse the game's eight-point margin. Cumpstone and Logan each had six points, Bramanti had four points and Walsh, Carter Smith, Cole and Heyliger each had two points. Champion had four of Le Moyne's points in the span, while junior forward Ryan Romich (Groton, Mass./Groton-Dunstable/Vermont Academy) and Gause each had two.

Following two free throws by Heyliger with 5:24 left that put the Skyhawks up 61-53, the Dolphins started their comeback with seven of the next nine points prior to Cole's dunk. Romich ignited the run with a lay-up with 4:57 left off a feed from Gause, Mahoney followed with a three-pointer with 3:09 to go and then Janson dunked the ball off a pass from Gause with 2:23 remaining to make the score 63-60.

Le Moyne (12-7, 9-4 NE-10), which has won five consecutive games for the first time since February 2010, wraps up cross-divisional play on Saturday at home against defending East Region champion Franklin Pierce University at 2:00 p.m.