Connolly lifts Rams past Stonehill, 68-63

Jim Connolly
Jim Connolly

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Guard Jim Connolly netted a season-high 28 points as the Philadelphia University men's basketball team defeated Stonehill College, 68-63, in the second day of the East Region Classic Friday afternoon in the Gallagher Center.

With the game tied at 58 at the 2:56 mark of the second half, center Temi Adebayo hit a lay-up for two of 11 points and sparked the game-deciding 8-0 run. During the spurt Connolly went 4-for-4 at the line, 8-for-8 for the game. The Skyhawks (8-3) got as close as 67-63 on a Patrick Lee jumper with four seconds left.

Forward Corey Francisco and guard Nick Christian both scored 12 points each for the Rams (6-4), who improve to 6-0 at the Gallagher Center.

Lee led Stonehill with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Andre Tongo recorded 15 points and nine rebounds, while Raheem May-Thompson came off-the-bench to add 12 points.

The Rams were the better shooting team from the field, 52.4 percent (22-of-42) to 37.1 percent (23-of-62), and at the line, 78.3 percent (18-of-23) to 61.1 percent (11-of-18). Stonehill owned a 38-29 rebounding advantage.

Philadelphia stormed out of the gates and opened up a 23-6 lead in the first eight minutes. Francisco led the charge with 10 points, while Connolly scored six.

The Skyhawks countered with 14 unanswered points, five coming from Tongo, to close the margin to 23-20 at the 4:52 mark. Stonehill got within a point (32-31) after May-Thompson hit two free throws with 31 seconds left in the half.

Connolly gave Philadelphia a 35-31 halftime lead by draining a deep trey with four seconds on the clock.

The teams went back-and-forth in a second half that featured four lead changes and three ties. Philadelphia scored the first three points of the stanza to open up a 38-31 lead, the largest the Rams advantage would be until the final run. Stonehil's largest lead came when Lee hit a free throw to make the score 53-49 with 7:25 left.

Philadelphia begins the 2012 portion of its schedule Tuesday, Jan. 3 against Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference foe Holy Family University at 6 p.m. at the Gallagher Center.