GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Men’s Basketball and Holy Cross to Dual for First Time in 50 Years in Tom Konchalski Classic Opener

The Game
Stonehill College joins Holy Cross and Illinois-Chicago in visiting Fordham University and historic Rose Hill Gymnasium for the Tom Konchalski Classic this weekend. The Skyhawks will open the event by squaring off against Holy Cross for the first time in almost 50-years on Saturday at 7:30 pm After a day off, Stonehill will take on UIC on Monday at 4 pm, before closing the long weekend out against host Fordham on Tuesday at 7 pm


Tom Konchalski Classic
In the 100-plus year history of basketball in New York City, there have existed few characters more unique and beloved than Tom Konchalski. Soft-spoken, slender and standing at 6-foot-6, the scout extraordinaire sat quietly at the top of high school gyms around the city and scribbled notes onto a large yellow legal pad. The words on that paper, which were then transcribed with an electric typewriter and mailed to coaches around the country, contained some of the most sought-after insights in the world of college basketball. Konchalski, who graduated from Fordham in 1968 and passed away in February of 2021 at the age of 74, will be honored by his alma mater with the inaugural Tom Konchalski Classic, set to begin on Saturday in the Rose Hill Gym and continue with six total games over the course of four days. In addition to its namesake, the inaugural Tom Konchalski Classic will honor another iconic figure in New York Basketball, as the tournament’s most valuable player award will be named the Jim O’Connell MVP Trophy. O’Connell, who passed away in 2018, spent 40 years as a college basketball writer for the Associated Press, covering every Final Four from Magic-Bird in 1979 until 2017. O’Connell, known to many simply as “Oc,” received the profession’s highest honor, the Curt Gowdy Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in 2002, the same year in which he was inducted into the United States Basketball Writers Association’s Hall of Fame.

Tom Konchalski Classic Schedule
Saturday, November 19
UIC at Fordham, 5 p.m
Holy Cross vs. Stonehill, 7:30 p.m

Monday, November 21
Stonehill vs. UIC, 4 p.m
Holy Cross at Fordham, 7 p.m

Tuesday, November 22
UIC vs. Holy Cross, 4 p.m
Stonehill at Fordham, 7 p.m

Media Information
Stonehill’s games on Saturday and Monday will be streamed live via YouTube, with Grant DelVecchio on the call for Saturday. Tuesday’s game against Fordham will be broadcast via ESPN+ and SNY with Andrew Bogusch (PBP) and Andrew Posadas (analyst) calling the action. Radio coverage on Tuesday available on WFUV 90.7 FM and WFUVSports.org with Thomas Aiello (PBP) and Mike Calamari (Color) on the call.

#1900
Saturday night’s game against Holy Cross is the 1,900th in the history of the Stonehill men’s basketball team. Stonehill’s first men’s basketball season was in 1948 and the program has posted a 1,072-827 (.565) record over its 74-year history.

Against the Field
Saturday night marks the fifth meeting all-time between Stonehill and Holy Cross – but the first since December 3, 1973. The Crusaders have won each of the four previous meetings between the two programs, including an 86-80 decision in the last encounter nearly 50 years ago. Saturday will be the first neutral site meeting between the two, with Holy Cross 3-0 against Stonehill at home and 1-0 at Merkert Gymnasium. Stonehill is playing the University of Illinois-Chicago and Fordham University for the first time in program history on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

In the Year 1973
Stonehill and Holy Cross last played on December 3, 1973. What was going on during this time?
• It was a Monday
• #1 Song: Top Of The World – Carpenters
• Pioneer 10 passes Jupiter (1st fly-by of an outer planet)
• Emile Christian, American jazz trombonist, dies at 78
• March 1: Pink Floyd release “Dark Side of the Moon”
• June 9: Secretariat wins 105th Belmont Stakes in 2:24, becoming the 1st Triple Crown winner in 25 years
• Aug. 2: “American Graffiti” premieres at the Locarno International Film Festival
• Sept. 8: Hank Aaron sets record for most HRs in 1 league (709)
• Sept. 20: Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in battle-of-sexes tennis match
• Oct. 20: Queen Elizabeth II opens the Sydney Opera House
• I was still almost three months from being born


Player of the Week
Stonehill fifth-year forward Andrew Sims (Mount Laurel, NJ) has been named the Northeast Conference‘s Player of the Week for the opening week of the season the league announced on Monday. Sims averaged 19.0 points on 64.7-percent shooting, converting 90.9% (10-of-11) of his free-throws, with 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals over the Skyhawks first three NCAA Division I games. Sims shared the team lead with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, with a rebound, assist and steal in Stonehill’s season-opener at UConn last Monday. He followed that up with a season-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, converting 8-of-9 free throws, with four rebounds, three assists and a block against Quinnipiac on Thursday. Sims followed that up with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, eight rebounds, an assist and a steal in Saturday’s 82-77 win at Army for the Skyhawks’ first Division I win.


Prime Performers
Stonehill fifth years Andrew Sims (Mount Laurel, NJ) and Isaiah Burnett (Annapolis, Md.) were both named as Prime Performers for the opening week of the season by the Northeast Conference on Monday. Sims was also named the NEC Player of the Week, while Burnett contributed 14.3 points on 57.7% shooting for the three games to open the season, adding 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.7 steals in 26.5 minutes per game. He scored a season-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, with three rebounds, three assists and three steals in Saturday’s win at Army.

Streaking
Fifth year Andrew Sims (Mount Laurel, NJ) has scored in double-figures in ten-straight games dating back to last season, including all four games this year as well as his back-to-back 20-point games against Quinnipiac (24) and Army ( 21). Fellow fifth year Isaiah Burnett (Annapolis, Md.) has reached double figures in six straight games dating back to last year.

Making Them Count
Stonehill leads the NEC in free-throw shooting after three games, converting at 80.6 percent. Stonehill features two of the top four free-throw shooters in the NEC after opening week with postgraduate Max Zegarowski (South Hamilton, Mass.) ranked third at 85.7% (12-for-14) and fifth-year Andrew Sims (Mount Laurel, NJ) fourth at 84.6% (11-for-13.

Freebies
Stonehill made 17 free-throws against UConn and Quinnipiac this season – tied for the second-highest single-game totals this season.


Shootin’ Shamir
Fifth-year guard Shamir Johnson (Waterbury, Conn.) led Stonehill with a career-high 15 points at Providence on Monday, burying 5-of-7 three-pointers off the bench. He currently ranks second among NEC three-point shooters, connecting at 52.4 percent (11-for-21) through the first four games, while his 2.8 three-point field goals per game rank fourth.

In Transition
Stonehill announced that it had accepted an invitation to join the Northeast Conference and begin a four-year transition to full NCAA Division I membership on April 5. The Skyhawks began their four-year transition on July 1 and will earn full NCAA Division I membership in 2026-27. At the June NEC meetings, the Conference presidents announced a shift in the waiting period for automatic qualifier sports from competing for NEC postseason championships from four to two years, making Stonehill eligible to compete in the NEC postseason starting in 2024-25.

Proud History
Stonehill won the Northeast-10 Presidents’ Cup six times, finishing in the top three in the final standings 15 of the last 17 years. Stonehill was one of just ten institutions nationwide to receive the NCAA Division II Presidents’ Award for Academic Achievement, recognizing athletic departments with an Academic Success rating of 90-percent or better, each of the first ten years of the program’s existence. The College ranks No. 98 in the category of National Liberal Arts Schools by US News & World Report and No. 94 for the Best Value category.

Hoop History
Stonehill men’s basketball earned 15 NCAA Division II Tournament bids over its history, the last was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Stonehill were charter members of the Northeast-10 Conferencewinning the first two tournament championships in 1981 and ’82, finishing his time in the Conference with four postseason titles and six regular season championships.

Preseason Prognostications
Stonehill was picked to finish ninth in its first Northeast Conference season by the league’s head coaches. Merrimack received six of the eight first place votes to hold the pole position atop the preseason poll, followed by Sacred Heart with two first place votes. Saint Francis (Pa.) follows in third, while Wagner is picked fourth and received the final first place vote.

Tough Slate
Stonehill has assembled a tough non-conference slate in its inaugural Division I season, featuring opponents from the Big East (2 – UConn, Providence), ACC (1 – BC), Missouri Valley (3 – UIC, Bradley, Valpo), Patriot League (2 – Army, Holy Cross), America East (2 – UMass Lowell, Binghamton), MAAC (2 – Quinnipiac, Rider), A-10 (1 – Fordham) leading up to its inaugural NEC slate around the New Year. 12 of the Skyhawks 15 non-conference games will also be played on the road.

Getting Social
Fans and media members of Stonehill athletics have multiple social media outlets to get updates on all 23 varsity programs. The department’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/stonehillskyhawks, and you can also follow @GoStonehill he Twitter and @stonehillskyhawks via Instagram! You can also search for Stonehill men’s basketball on Facebookfollow the team’s Twitter account via @StonehillBball as well as head coach Chris Kraus @CoachChrisKraus, and its new Instagram feed @stonehillbball.

Up Next
Following this weekend’s Tom Konchalski Classic against Holy Cross, Illinois-Chicago and Fordham, Stonehill returns to action on Sunday at UMass Lowell for a non-conference matchup at Costello Gymnasium in Lowell at 1 pm The Skyhawks next home game is slated for Wednesday, November 30, against Eastern Nazarene at 7 p.m

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