Saint Michael's falls in waning seconds of back-and-forth affair with Saint Anselm, 62-61

COLCHESTER, Vt. - In a back-and-forth affair that included 14 lead changes and nine ties, the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team yielded two free throws in the closing seconds of a 62-61 loss to Saint Anselm College on Thursday in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights fell to 2-5 overall and 1-5 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Hawks are now 6-2 and 4-2. Saint Michael's held the Hawks to nearly 26 points below their league-leading scoring average.

Sophomore James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) led the hosts with 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-of-12 while snagging five rebounds and recording three of the Purple Knights' 10 blocked shots. Classmate Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) turned in nine points and seven rebounds, sophomore Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) had nine points and five assists, while classmate Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) collected nine points and two rejections. Senior Derek Knutty (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney) registered eight points, 10 rebounds and a career-high-tying four swats for a Saint Michael's squad that shot 46.8 percent and took 15 fewer shots than its opponent. Each of the Purple and Gold's last four losses came by seven points or less.

First-year Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y./Clarkstown South) netted a game-high 20 points for the Hawks, shooting 5-of-8 from beyond the arc while adding nine rebounds. Sophomore Roy Mabrey (Belmar, N.J./Saint Thomas More) added 16 points behind 4-of-8 three-point shooting, and classmate Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East/Vermont) notched 10 points and eight rebounds. Saint Anselm committed only seven turnovers.

Ditlefsen turned in a three-point play to put his team ahead by a 58-52 count with 3:06 remaining before the visitors scored 10 of the final 13 points. Mabrey capped an 8-1 burst that took 1:05 to develop when he canned a go-ahead three at 1:47, but Crawford sank a pair of freebies at 42.0 seconds to give Saint Michael's a 61-60 edge. After a block by Cambronne, Santo grabbed an offensive board and was fouled, knocking down two free throws of his own with 7.9 ticks remaining. In the waning seconds, the Purple Knights turned the ball over just inside the three-point line without getting a shot away.

The hosts fell behind 10-4 early in the first half, when the squads played through five ties and seven lead changes. By the time Saint Anselm led 16-15 with 11:23 remaining, the teams combined to shoot 12-of-22 before only one point was scored in the next 5:02. Over the final 11-plus minutes, Saint Michael's held the Hawks to 4-of-19 shooting, and only 24 points were scored between the squads. Knutty turned in three blocks in a late 59-second span, and a 20-18 deficit turned into 27-23 lead with 2:08 left on a Knutty hoop. His basket at 23 seconds produced the 29-26 halftime margin.

Saint Anselm used a 9-0 run to grab a 40-33 lead at 14:55 of the second stanza before Crawford's go-ahead three-pointer capped an 8-0 stretch, and Ditlefsen later hit a triple with 10:14 to go and put the Purple Knights ahead until fewer than two minutes remained. A Cambronne jumper put the finishing touches on a 22-9 stretch that made it 55-49 at 4:46.

The Purple Knights break from league play for the next three contests, first heading to Molloy College on Dec. 16. The teams tip off at 3 p.m.