Purple Knights drop 69-60 decision to Franklin Pierce despite late surge

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team whittled an 18-point deficit to five in the waning minutes on Saturday against Franklin Pierce University, which is tied for second in the Northeast-10 Conference, before suffering a 69-60 setback in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights slipped to 6-15 overall and 3-14 in the NE-10, holding their 17th opponent to 70 points or less, while the Ravens are 16-5 and 13-4.

Sophomore Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) had 15 points and four assists for Saint Michael's, while first-year Will Davis (Valley Stream, N.Y./Holy Cross) notched a season-high 12 points thanks to 3-of-3 three-point shooting in 13 minutes off the bench. Sophomore James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) had 10 points and seven rebounds, and classmate Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) snared a career-high 12 rebounds while blocking a pair of shots.

Franklin Pierce received 15 points apiece from senior Eric Jean-Guillaume (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic) and junior Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass./Northampton). Cooper shot 7-of-10 with three steals, and Jean-Guillaume picked up five steals. Sophomore Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa./Hamden South) totaled 13 points and nine rebounds.

The Purple Knights erased an early 10-4 deficit thanks to back-to-back threes from first-year Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) and Davis before the Ravens used a 14-4 run to grab a 24-14 lead at 6:43 of the opening half. Another triple from Davis helped his team creep within 26-20 with 5:15 to go, but Jean-Guillaume scored the next five points. Crawford's two free throws with 35 seconds left produced a 33-24 halftime margin.

In the second half, the hosts continued to trail by no fewer than nine before Franklin Pierce slowly extended its advantage to 57-39 at the 9:25 mark. Later down 17, the Purple Knights rattled off nine straight points to create a 59-51 contest, capped by Grippo's pair of freebies at 4:21. After the visitors pushed the lead back to 12, a 9-2 run by Saint Michael's brought it within 65-60 on Crawford's three-point play with 1:29 remaining. However, the Ravens knocked down all four of their free throw attempts in the final 29 seconds to pull away.

The Purple Knights head to Bentley University on Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. game.