Men's hoops remains close into second half at No. 12 Saint Anselm before falling

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team trailed 12th-ranked Saint Anselm College by just three points early in the second half before the Hawks pulled away for a 74-56 victory in Stoutenburgh Gym on Saturday. The Purple Knights slipped to 8-17 overall and 5-16 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while first-place Saint Anselm is 21-4 and 17-4.

Saint Michael's, which held the league's and East Region's top-scoring team to 8.2 points below its average, received a team-best 14 points from first-year Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep), who shot 3-for-4 from three-point range and 5-of-6 overall. Sophomore James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) had 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench, hitting three threes, while classmate Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) had 10 points in 13 minutes. Sophomore Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) notched seven points and hauled in a career-high-tying 12 boards, while classmate Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) totaled eight points and three assists.

A pair of reserves had a team-high 13 points for Saint Anselm, which is ranked by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), as sophomore Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East/Vermont) shot 6-of-9, while junior John Nielsen (Port Jefferson, N.Y./Loomis Chaffee) knocked down three triples. Junior Dino Mallios (Winthrop, Mass./Winthrop) and first-year Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y./Clarkstown South) each turned in 12 points.

Saint Anselm scored the game's first six points before the Purple Knights countered with a 12-5 run, employing four three-point possessions to nab a 12-11 lead on Thompson's three-pointer at 15:37 of the opening half. After yielding the next five points, Saint Michael's twice drew even thanks to Crawford, first on a bucket that made it 16-all, and then on his triple with 9:26 left that knotted the contest at 22. The Hawks scored the next eight points, but Thompson's jumper drew the visitors within 35-31 at 1:18. Saint Anselm took a 31-38 edge into halftime.

Cambronne knocked down a pair of threes in the opening 1:25 of the second period, creating a 40-37 margin with the second, but the Hawks responded with 14 of the next 16 points, as Mallios scored six, including a pair of free throws that capped the run at 11:59. Five straight points by Grippo made it a 54-44 contest by 10:41, but Saint Anselm later used a 12-2 run to pull away for good.

The Purple Knights close their season on Tuesday at Southern New Hampshire University at 7:30 p.m.