Regionally-ranked men's basketball rallies from 16 down to defeat Adelphi, 79-69

Regionally-ranked men's basketball rallies from 16 down to defeat Adelphi, 79-69

COLCHESTER, Vt. - Behind three double-doubles and a 36-9 second-half run, the regionally-ranked Saint Michael's College men's basketball team rallied from 16 points down to knock off Adelphi University, 79-69, on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference action in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights, the seventh-ranked squad in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, are 13-6 overall and 9-5 in the league, while the Panthers moved to 4-16 and 1-13.

Seniors James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) and Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) and sophomore Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) all had double-doubles for Saint Michael's, which held a 52-20 advantage on the glass, as an 18-2 margin in offensive boards led to a 21-0 edge in second-chance points. Bonds had 16 points and 14 rebounds, Thompson posted 15 points and 13 boards, while Cambronne totaled 12 points and 10 caroms. Junior Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) recorded 16 points behind 4-of-6 three-point shooting with three assists, and senior Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) was 6-of-6 on free throws for eight points. Cambronne moved into 25th in program history in career scoring (1,143) during the contest.

First-year Michael Coffey (Monroe, N.Y./John S. Burke) shot 6-of-10 from deep en route to scoring 23 points for Adelphi, and senior Duane Morgan (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) added 22 points and six rebounds. Junior Justin Jenkins (Bronx, N.Y./Wings Academy/Fairfield) had 11 points and four steals, while classmate Anthony Libroia (Bayside, N.Y./Holy Cross) distributed a game-best six assists.

Morgan's two free throws with 4:17 left in regulation put the Panthers ahead by a 64-62 count before Saint Michael's responded with the next 11 points in a matter of 2:15, sparking a 17-3 run. Cambronne's put-back tied the game at 3:58 before Crawford and Bonds added two free throws apiece, and a Crawford steal led to Cambronne's lay-in with 2:52 left that made it 70-64. Grippo and Morgan then traded threes, but two Grippo freebies at 1:21 and a dunk from Cambronne 13 seconds later produced a 10-point margin. Two Crawford free throws were met by a Morgan jumper in the final 43 seconds.

A Thompson free throw to begin the game was countered by six straight Adelphi points, with Saint Michael's being held to just one field goal by the time the visitors led 14-3 on Coffey's first triple at 13:56 of the opening half. Buckets by Thompson twice drew the Purple Knights within eight points, but Jenkins knocked down a jumper at 10:06 that provided Adelphi with a 30-14 lead, its largest, and capped a 4:50 stretch during which the visitors shot 9-of-10.

The Purple Knights' reserves played a major role in chipping that deficit to single figures, as Grippo scored five points and provided one assist during a 9-2 run that made it a 32-23 game on junior Morrell Gaskins' (Cambria Heights, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) lay-up at 5:47. Bonds also scored in the run. Coffey sandwiched three free throws and a three-pointer around a Bonds lay-in to net his team a 38-25 advantage with 4:42 to go before four Purple Knights scored in an 8-0 response. A basket in the final minute kept the Panthers ahead 40-33 by halftime.

After senior Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) dropped in a lay-up at 19:05 of the second half to make it 40-37, Morgan scored a pair of baskets during a 9-0 run, and Adelphi eventually pushed its advantage back out to 15, at 58-43, when Coffey made a tough bank shot at 12:12. The next 14 points came from Saint Michael's players, kicking off a 36-9 run. Bonds and Thompson combined for nine of the 14 points, and Thompson kicked to Grippo for a three-pointer that drew the Purple Knights within 58-57 at 8:24. The Panthers went back in front by as many as three points before Grippo dished to senior Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) for a go-ahead three-pointer at 5:58. Jenkins knotted the score on a lay-in prior to Morgan's go-ahead free throws with 4:17 remaining.

The Purple Knights continue a three-game homestand versus Franklin Pierce University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.