Playoffs cut short in loss at Stonehill
Hunter O. Lyle – Sports Editor
After four months of excitement, which featured comebacks, buzzer beater and youthful highlights, the men’s basketball team’s 86-71 playoff loss to Stonehill College on Sunday means only one thing: there will be no more basketball on campus.
After making the playoffs, claiming the third seed in the Southwest Division and earning a by-week through the first round, the Owls faced the Skyhawks, a budding rivalry that has typically favored Southern throughout the past two years.
To grip the magnitude of this matchup, there needs to be an understanding of the past. Firstly, last season the Owls were once again pitted against the Skyhawks in the first round of the NE10 playoffs as the No. 4 seed. In that game, the Owls were able to claim victory and a ticket to the next round with a 80-75 victory lead by then senior guard Kealen Ives who dropped 37 — the Owls then advanced to the semifinals, eventually losing to Elm City rival UNH.
This season, Southern lost in the only regular season matchup against Stonehill 67-59 and faced them again in the playoffs on Sunday.
While Stonehill was able to run up the score in the first half, leading by 19 points with on full half left to go, Southern was able to turn on the jets, and work their way back into the game, eventually cutting the deficit to just five points in crunch time.
The main reason for the loss which ended the Owl’s season was the missed opportunities at the freethrow line — Southern only connected on seven of the team’s 17 chances (41 percent). This was a very odd showing for a team which, throughout their 27 games, shot 76 percent from the line.
In the loss to Stonehill on Sunday, five Owls scored in double digits, yet none cracked 20. Forward Taurus Adams II, the teams only senior, finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebound along with two blocks and a steal. The promising true freshman guard Lyron Bennett tallied 13 points and two steals while redshirt junior guard Isaiah Boissard also scored 13 and junior forward Greg Jones had 12 points and five rebounds.
While the fight for New Haven between the UNH and Southern definitely garners the most publicity when it comes to rivalries, the Skyhawks-Owls matchup may be one to circle on the calendar. So far, the score is 1-1.