EASTON, Mass. – Senior guard Jim Connolly (Harleysville, Pa./Souderton Area) scored a team-high 12 points in the Philadelphia University men's basketball team's 57-52 non-conference loss to host Stonehill in Merkert Gym on the first day of the East Region Classic Saturday afternoon.
Freshman guard Andre Gibbs (Smryna, Del./Smyrna) contributed nine points for the Rams (7-4), while junior guard Nick Christian (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem), and freshmen forwards Peter Alexis (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Holy Reedemer) and Derek Johnson (Conshohocken, Pa./T.C. Williams) all added eight points.
Christian was the team's leading rebounder with six boards.
Stonehill (5-4) received a game-high 14 points from Raheem May-Thompson and Brian Hamor.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair as the teams swapped the lead 14 times and tied the game 10 time.
Trailing 7-4, Christian and Connolly each drained a three-pointer on consecutive trips down the floor to give Philadelphia 10-7 lead with 13:31 remaining in the half.
A Jack Cole dunk at the 11:42 mark capped a run of eight straight points and gave Stonehill a 15-10 lead.
The Rams answered with nine consecutive points, including five from Gibbs, to take their largest lead of the half at 19-15.
After Stonehill regained a three-point advantage on a Fazzini jumper, Connolly accounted for the sixth, and final, tie of the half as he nailed a trey with one second remaining to knot the score at 22.
An Alexis lay-up with 9:33 left in the game put Philadelphia ahead by four (40-36), tying its largest lead of the game.
Stonehill would take the lead for good as a 6-0 spurt gave the Skyhawks a 51-46 lead with 4:38 left on the clock.
The Rams were able to pull within 54-52 on a Johnson three-pointer at the 1:40 mark.
Stonehill shot 38.0 percent (19-of-50) from the field, while Philadelphia connected at a 33.3 percent (18-of-54) clip. The Skyhawks also won the rebounding battle, 38-32.
Philadelphia faces 13th-ranked Assumption on the second day of the East Region Classic on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 1 p.m.