PHILADELPHIA ADVANCES TO NCAA DIVISION II EAST REGION MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
EASTON, Mass. (March 14, 2010) - It’s been 15 years, but the Philadelphia University Rams (27-7) are crashing the NCAA East Regional Championship game after a thrilling 71-69 semi-final win over #1 seed and host Stonehill College (24-6) on Sunday night at Stonehill’s Merkert Gym. The Rams will face Bentley University for the championship Tuesday at 7:00 pm.
The last time the Rams went to the NCAA Regional final was the 1994-95 season, after beating Saint Anselm 84-82 in the semi-finals. They went on to fall to New Hampshire College 84-62 in the regional championship. Philadelphia, which joined the CACC in 2005, becomes the first CACC men’s basketball team to advance to the NCAA Division II Regional Championship game.
PhilaU trailed 39-31 at the half, but used 48-percent field-goal shooting in the second half to pull ahead in the second stanza. Stonehill shot just 35-percent during the final 20 minutes of play.
The game was locked in a 54-54 stalemate with 8:28 left when PhilaU sophomore forward Corey Francisco (Woodbridge, NJ/ Monmouth Academy) knocked down a trey to make it 57-54 to give the Rams the lead. Francisco came off the bench to contribute eight points in the game. Stonehill fought back to tie it 57 all at 3:46 on a free-throw by Ivan Almeida.
PhilaU senior forward Malcolm Ingram (Philadelphia, PA/ Solebury) converted a three-point play to make it 60-57 to put the Rams up for good at 3:22. Ingram notched 16 points and nine boards on the day.
Senior guard Russell Frederick (Baltimore, MD/Calvert Hall) put Philadelphia up four (70-66) with a free throw with nine seconds left, but Stonehill nailed a triple to pull within one with three second left. Frederick was fouled with only a half a second coming off the clock, and went back to the line. He made the first, but missed the second free-throw. Down two, Stonehill had one last chance, but Randall Stallworth missed a last-ditch half court heave at the buzzer and the Rams celebrated their 71-69 upset victory.
Frederick led the Rams with 26 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field, 4-for-6 from deep, along with four boards. Stonehill was led by 17 points from Dan Heppert.
The Henry Ave. boys will now face #2 seed Bentley (24-6) on Tuesday (3/16) at 7 p.m. at Stonehill College for the NCAA East Regional Championship. The winner advances to the NCAA Elite Eight, hosted by American International College at the Mass Mutual Center on March 24, 25 and 27th in Springfield, MA.