Waterbury, Conn., fifth-year scores 20 of career-best 23 points in second half to spark 51-point frame for Skyhawks
TEANECK, NJ (January 22, 2023) – Sparked by a career-high 23 points from the fifth year Shamir JohnsonStonehill College scored 51 points in the second half to secure a 70-59 triumph over Fairleigh Dickinson University in a Northeast Conference Matchup at Stratis Arena inside the Rothman Center tonight.
Johnson scored 20 of his career-high 23 points in the second half as Stonehill erased a 16-point deficit two minutes into the second half to complete a 2-0 road weekend and avenge a home loss to FDU just six days ago. He made 8-of-12 shots from the floor, including 5-for-7 from three-point distance, adding six rebounds and three assists off the bench for the Skyhawks. Johnson buried all four of his three-point attempts in the second half and finished 7-for-9 from the floor overall in the final 20-minutes, adding 2-for-3 free-throw shooting.
Fifth-year Isaiah Burnett scored all 15 of his points in the second half to assist in the comeback, draining all eight free-throws in sealing the win down the stretch, while adding seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. Postgrad Max Zegarowski contributed 11 points, five boards and two assists, while fifth-year Josh Mack rounded out Stonehill’s double-figure scorers with eight of his ten in the first half, dishing out two assists.
Sophomore Ansley Almonor scored 22 points to lead FDU on 8-of-19 shooting, with six rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot. Junior Joe Munden, Jr. was the only other Knight in double-digits with 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting, four boards and two steals. Postgrad Demeter Roberts chipped in nine points, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.
Stonehill trailed by 12 at the break (31-19) after being held to 19 points on 30-percent shooting (6-for-20), including 3-for-13 (23.1%) from three-point distance, over the first 20 minutes. The Skyhawks, who were held to just one free-throw over the last six minutes of the first half, saw their deficit grow to 16 (35-19) after Munden, Jr., scored the first four points of the second half to extend the FDU run to 15-1 that started after Johnson’s Lone three of the first half at the six-minute mark.
Burnett broke Stonehill’s field goal drought that lasted nearly nine minutes with a layup and then Johnson added four-straight points before a Burnett layup off his own Steal had the Skyhawks back within eight (35-27) less than five minutes into the second half. Almonor provided a brief response to the run with a three-pointer to Restore a double-digit FDU lead (38-27), but Stonehill got a Johnson layup and Zegarowski three to pull back within six (38-32) with 13:43 to play.
After two Almonor free-throws, Stonehill continued its push with a layup from junior Thatcher Stone before Johnson caught fire from long range, Canning back-to-back triples, to knot the score (40-40) with 11:36 remaining.
FDU answered with the next five points, including a three-point play from Roberts, to reclaim a five-point edge. Stonehill regained the lead (48-47) with a nifty inside move from the sophomore Christopher Melis and the lead would go back and forth over the next four minutes.
Johnson answered a layup from the freshman Joel Emanuel with back-to-back threes for a five-point lead (58-53) with 4:35 remaining. Burnett drained two free-throws to stretch the Skyhawks lead to seven (60-53) with 3:38 to go and then the visitors would have a response to each FDU push from there, getting a key drive from Mack and then 6-for -6 free-throw shooting in the closing 80-seconds to seal the win.
“What a win by our guys and what a second half,” said Stonehill head Coach Chris Kraus, ’06. “Shamir Johnson was absolutely incredible, and it was so good to see. I’m so proud of the guys and our team’s toughness to come away with the win and finish off a 2-0 road weekend in the NEC.”
- Stonehill made 68.2-percent (15-for-22) of its shots in the second half, Burying 7-of-10 three-pointers, including a combined 6-for-7 by Johnson (4-4) and Zegarowski (2- 3). The Skyhawks also made 14-16 (87.5%) free-throws in the second half.
- Stonehill also cut down on its turnovers, totaling five in the second half, after 13 in the first that led to a 13-3 FDU advantage in points off at halftime. The Skyhawks posted an 11-4 edge in points off turnovers in the second half.
- Johnson is Stonehill’s leading scorer for the third time this season, with the Skyhawks 2-0 in the two NEC games in that group. He is the fourth Stonehill player with a 20-point scoring game this season, posting his sixth double-figure scoring game of the year (eighth career).
- Zegarowski scored in double figures for the fifth-straight game and 14th time this season overall (49 career), giving him 954 career points in 82 games, including his time at Franklin Pierce and Lynn.
- Mack scored in double-figures for the fourth time this season (13th career), with the Skyhawks 2-2 in those games.
- Burnett’s two steals give the NEC steals leader (2.7/gm) multiple steals in 18 games this year and extended his streak with at least one steal to 28-straight games dating back to last year.
- Johnson and Mack led a Stonehill bench that outscored the FDU reserves 35-11, accounting for half of the Skyhawks’ 70 points.
Stonehill (9-13, 5-3 NEC) Returns to action on Wednesday, when it visits the University of Hartford for its final non-conference game of the season at 7 pm The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym on Saturday, to host Sacred Heart University at 2 pm FDU (12-10, 5-2 NEC) hosts Saint Francis (Pa.) University on Thursday at 7 pm
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