Holton's heroics lift Saint Michael's to second straight last-second 66-64 victory
EASTON, Mass. - For the second straight game, the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team won a 66-64 contest in the final seconds, as sophomore Mike Holton Jr.'s (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) hoop snapped a tie with fewer than two ticks remaining to give the Purple Knights a triumph at league heavyweight Stonehill College on Saturday in a Northeast-10 Conference contest in Merkert Gymnasium.
Saint Michael's, which is now 9-14 overall and 8-11 in the league, entered the day tied for 12th in the NE-10, a conference that accepts the top 10 teams into its postseason. Three games remain for the Purple Knights, who avenged a 22-point December loss to the Skyhawks. The hosts, who entered the day tied for third in the NE-10, are 15-8 and 12-7. The Purple Knights became just the fourth conference team to score as many as 66 points this year against Stonehill, which entered the day allowing a league-low 58.0 points per contest.
All five Saint Michael's starters were in double figures, scoring between 10 and 12 points. Senior Tyler Schilling (Excelsior, Minn./Minnetonka), who had the winning bucket with 8.0 seconds left on Wednesday against Bentley University, provided 12 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday. The 6-foot-5 captain moved into seventh in program history in career rebounds (865), passing 7-foot-3 Michel Bonebo '90 (856).
Holton and freshman Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) each added 11 points, with Ditlefsen going 3-of-4 from three-point range to lead his team's 6-of-13 effort, while classmate Corey Crawford (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Junior Travis Warech (Pine Brook, N.J./Montville) notched 10 points, seven boards and three assists, and is now 14 points shy of becoming the 13th Purple Knight junior to reach 1,000 for a career.
Stonehill, which committed only three turnovers but was outrebounded 33-22, received 25 points from junior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons), who shot 10-of-13. Classmate Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) went 4-of-8 from deep for 12 points.
The Purple Knights led 59-52 with a little more than six minutes remaining before the Skyhawks put together a 10-2 run, with Fazzini's three at 2:30 giving his team the lead. Ditlefsen responded with a triple, but Stonehill senior Andre Tongo's (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro Regional) tying lay-up at 1:25 provided the game's final points until Holton's winner.
The teams swapped the lead nine times in the opening half, with neither leading by more than five points until Fazzini canned a trey to cap an 8-0 run that gave Stonehill a 33-26 lead at 2:29. After cutting its deficit to three by 1:21, Saint Michael's yielded the final six points of the stanza.
The Purple Knights opened the second half on a 10-0 run, with Warech scoring eight points, including burying two threes, and Holton's bucket at 14:41 put his team in front until Fazzini's late three.
Saint Michael's travels to Merrimack College on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.