November 28, 2012

Purple Knights rally from 13 down, grab late overtime lead before falling to Bentley

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Bentley University first-year Tyler McFarland's (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills/Cushing Academy) free-throw-line jumper with 3.4 seconds remaining in overtime put his team on top on Wednesday evening, and a long jumper by a Saint Michael's College men's basketball counterpart hit front rim at the buzzer as the Falcons held on for a 73-72 victory in the Ross Sports Center.

The Purple Knights slipped to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while historically powerful Bentley moved to 4-2 and 2-1. The visitors qualified for seven of the last eight NCAA Tournaments.

Sophomore James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) paced Saint Michael's with 15 points and six rebounds off the bench, while classmate Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) had 14 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting. Sophomore Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) added 11 points and six assists, and senior Derek Knutty (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney) turned in a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. First-year Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) hit all three threes he attempted en route to a season-best nine points in addition to three assists and two blocks.

Sophomore J.P. Koury (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) netted 25 points behind a 4-of-6 three-point effort for Bentley, and McFarland finished with 16 points and seven boards. Sophomore Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) provided 10 points off the bench, and junior Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical) had nine assists versus just one turnover.

In overtime, the teams traded three-pointers before Koury's lay-up at 3:15 eventually gave his team a 71-70 edge. During the final 20 seconds, Cambronne dished deep in the paint to the right side and Knutty, whose lay-up with 16.3 ticks to go put the Purple Knights ahead by a 72-71 count. However, Grassa found McFarland at the charity stripe for the winning basket with 3.4 seconds remaining. Saint Michael's quickly inbounded and drove down the court, but a potential winning hoop at the buzzer from just inside the three-point line was off line.

Saint Michael's trailed by as many as 13 points during the second half, for the second time at 41-28 with 17:30 remaining. The hosts later used a 19-7 run that took 6:39 to elapse to knot the contest, with junior Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) burying a pair of free throws at 8:23 that made it 51-51.

The hosts retook the lead twice in the waning minutes, first at 58-57 on sophomore Mike Thompson's (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) breakaway lay-in at 5:01. Down six with fewer than three minutes left, the Purple Knight saw Grippo hit a three at 2:29, Knutty knock down two freebies at 1:38, and Ditlefsen can a go-ahead triple with 43.8 seconds remaining, capping an 8-0 burst that put his team on top, 66-64. McFarland countered with two free throws at 34 ticks, and the hosts' potential winner at the buzzer was off the mark.

Cambronne scored five points off the bench to spark a 9-2 run early in the opening half, and Saint Michael's pushed its advantage to 15-9 on a Holton three-pointer at 9:49. Bentley responded with 18 of the next 24 points, using three threes, including two by Koury, to forge a 27-21 lead by 5:24. Thompson dropped in a bucket to make it 27-26 with 4:39 to go, but the Falcons scored the final seven points and led 34-26 at halftime

The Purple Knights head to Stonehill College on Saturday for their next game at 3:30 p.m.

The Edmundite Catholic Liberal Arts College