Easton, MA- It’s been 15 years, but the Philadelphia University Rams (27-7, 16-1 CACC) are crashing the NCAA East Regional Championship game, having earned it in a 71-69 NCAA semifinal win over #1 seed and host Stonehill College (24-6) on Sunday night at Stonehill’s Merkert Gym.
The last time the Rams went to the NCAA Regional final was the 1994-95 season, beating St. Anselm 84-82 in the semis and falling to New Hampshire College 84-62 in the regional finale.
In tonight’s contest, senior guard Russell Frederick (Baltimore, MD/ Calvert Hall) led his squad with 26 points and four boards.
PhilaU trailed 39-31 at the half, but used 48% field goal shooting in the second half (to SC’s 35%) to pull ahead in the second stanza.
A 54-54 stalemate with 8:28 was locked in, but PhilaU sophomore forward Corey Francisco (Woodbridge, NJ/ Monmouth Academy) knocked down a trey to make it 57-54 just two minutes later to give the Rams the lead. Francisco added eight points in the game. SC 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 on a three-point play with a bucket and one to make it 60-57 and put the Rams up for good at 3:22. Ingram notched 16 points and nine boards on the day.
Frederick missed the back end of a one and one, but SC’s Randall Stallworth missed a last-ditch three-point attempt and the Rams celebrated their 71-69 upset victory.
SC was led by 17 points from Dan Heppert.
The Henry Ave. boys will now face #2 seed Bentley College (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.