Men's Basketball Suffers 68-65 Setback to Visiting Pace

Men's Basketball Suffers 68-65 Setback to Visiting Pace

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team fell to Pace University, 68-65, on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center during Northeast-10 Conference action. The Purple Knights are 5-12 overall and 2-10 in the league, while the Setters improved to 6-14 and 2-10.

Saint Michael's, which committed only eight turnovers while claiming an 18-2 advantage in points off of giveaways, saw its four-game series winning streak snapped in slipping to 12-7 all-time against Pace, with each loss by six points or less.

Junior Levi Holmes III (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep) turned in his 11th 20-point game of the year, totaling 28 on 10-of-19 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three-point range, with four assists and two steals for the hosts. Sophomore Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) added 12 points in 22 minutes off the bench, hitting two triples, while junior Derek Cheatom (Buffalo, N.Y./The Park School of Buffalo) had nine points, four rebounds and three steals.

Sophomore Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School) posted eight points, five rebounds and four steals, while redshirt sophomore Stan Foster (Rochester, N.Y./Avon Old Farms School) collected seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Sophomore Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian) dished out a game-high five assists. During the game, Holmes passed Corey Crawford II '15, who buried 164 threes in 107 games, to take over 10th in program history with 167 triples through 68 contests. With 1,042 points, Holmes is now 39th at Saint Michael's in scoring.

First-year Austin Gilbertson scored 17 points to pace Pace, junior Greg Poleon shot 6-of-9 for 16 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Peyton Wejnert added 13 points and six boards.

Pace scored the game's first eight points and led 14-5 on junior Luke McLaughlin's fastbreak lay-up before Saint Michael's used a 13-1 run to forge ahead, with Holmes completing a four-point play, Cheatom putting home a breakaway dunk and Jackson's lay-in knotting the contest before Foster blocked a shot on one end and dropped in the go-ahead bucket at the other at 7:14. Nineteen seconds later, Jackson's takeaway led to his fastbreak hoop, pushing the lead to three. The hosts twice led by four, including at 28-24 on Foster's triple with 3:04 to go, before Wejnert had four points in a 6-0 run that put the visitors back in front. However, DiGrande's dunk at 30 seconds after junior Jaylen Hall's (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park/Richard J. Daley) takeaway and assist sent the teams into halftime tied at 30.

The teams combined for four ties and four lead changes in the second stanza. Pace went up by as many as five at 39-34 on Gilbertson's three at 15:45 before Holmes and Jackson buried consecutive triples, and DiGrande's lay-up capped an 8-0 run. Holmes buckets twice more had the Purple Knights ahead by three, but Gilbertson scored the final five points of a 9-0 stretch to make it 53-47 in favor of the Setters.

Cheatom later scored five straight points to tie the game, and Holmes grabbed an offensive board before backing out to the three-point line and burying a go-ahead triple with 2:16 remaining, creating a 65-64 edge. After Poleon knocked down a baseline jumper with 58.4 seconds to go, the teams exchanged turnovers before the Purple Knights missed two go-ahead attempts in the final 10 seconds. First-year Brandon Jacobs added to the Pace lead with two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining, and the hosts' ensuing inbounds pass was intercepted beyond midcourt.

The Purple Knights remain home to take on regionally-ranked Le Moyne College on Tuesday with a special 5:30 p.m. start time. The Dolphins are ranked third in the latest D2SIDA East Regional Poll.