COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team fell to Southern New Hampshire University, 62-46, in its season opener in Northeast-10 Conference play on Wednesday at Ross Sports Center. With the loss the Purple Knights begin the season 0-1 overall and 0-1 in the league, while the Penmen improve to 3-0 and 1-0.
Sophomore Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) led Saint Michael's with a career-best 14 points and added seven rebounds, while senior Derek Knutty (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney) finished with eight points and 11 boards. Sophomore Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) also scored eight points, and junior Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) had six.
First-year Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J./Linden/Saint Thomas More) netted 18 points for Southern New Hampshire while tallying six rebounds and four steals, as well as shoot 4-of-5 from three-point range to lead his team's 11-for-24 charge. Sophomore Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del./Kingsway/Saint Thomas More) scored 12 points, collected seven rebounds and had four blocks, junior C.J. Marriro (Boston, Mass./Newton North) recorded 11 points, eight assists and six boards, while classmate Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H./Manchester Central/New Haven) and sophomore B.J. Cardarelli (Manchester, Conn./East Catholic/Saint Thomas More) each finished with eight points. As a team, the Penmen committed only five turnovers during the contest and attempted just two free throws.
Marriro paced Southern New Hampshire to a 7-5 lead to open the game, as he scored all of his team's first seven points. Sophomore James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) hit a jumper that began a 14-5 Purple Knight run over the next 6:31, giving them a 19-12 lead. Thompson finished the run with 8:27 left in the half, knocking down jumper as part of his team-leading seven first-half points. Bonsignore and Stys each knocked down three-pointers to help the Penmen draw within 21-20, but Cambronne and Knutty each hit a lay-up during a 2:20 span to create a five-point cushion. Sanders hit three consecutive three-points to finish the period on a personal 9-0 run, the final one with 26 ticks remaining in the first half to give the Penmen a 29-25 halftime advantage.
Saint Michael's reclaimed the lead at 30-29, as it scored the second half's first five points on a Thompson three and a lay-in by Knutty. Southern New Hampshire responded with a 16-3 run during a 6:45 stretch that included three lay-ups by Sanders. Ditlefsen drained a three with 5:06 remaining to cap a 9-4 run that pulled Saint Michael's back to a seven-point deficit at 49-42. The Penmen closed the game on a 13-4 run in the final 3:41, going 3-for-3 on threes.
Saint Michael's returns to action on Tuesday when it hits the road to face the University of Massachusetts at Lowell for a 7:30 p.m. contest.