COLCHESTER, Vt. - In a match-up of regionally-ranked Northeast-10 Conference squads, the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team rallied from a 16-point deficit to win for the third time this season en route to downing Stonehill College, 75-71, on Saturday during Senior Day in the Ross Sports Center.
The Purple Knights, who are ninth in the D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, moved to 15-6 overall and 11-5 in the league while winning for the sixth time in seven outings. Stonehill, which is sixth in the regional rankings, had a six-game winning streak snapped in falling to 15-7 and 10-6. Saint Michael's has taken five of the last seven meetings. With five league games remaining, the Purple Knights snapped a third-place tie in the NE-10 with the Skyhawks while moving into a tie for second place with Saint Anselm College, their next opponent. The Purple and Gold are one game out of first place.
Senior Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) had a game-high 23 points for Saint Michael's, adding four assists and two steals, while classmate James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) added 17 points and seven rebounds, shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range. During the game, Holton moved into eighth in program history with 1,629 career points, passing Mark Fizulich '97 (1,612) and Mark Pater '01 (1,621). Senior Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) shot 3-of-6 from deep while scoring nine points, and classmates Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) and Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) both had eight points, with Crawford adding six assists and five boards. Sophomore Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) hauled in eight rebounds. The Purple Knights committed four turnovers for the game and shot 5-of-11 on three-pointers in the second half.
Sophomore Ryan Logan (Fredricktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) shot 6-of-8 from deep while totaling 18 points and eight rebounds for Stonehill, and junior Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) notched 17 points and two blocks off the bench. Classmate Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) added 13 points and seven assists, and senior Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) was also in double figures, with 11 points.
With his team down 65-63, junior Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) knocked down a three with 4:17 remaining to put the Purple Knights on top before Cumpstone later knotted the game on a triple of his own at the end of the shot clock at 2:48. Ditlefsen and Logan traded threes before Holton came through by banking home a jumper from the left side at 1:23, putting the hosts ahead by a 73-71 count. Stonehill threw the ball away on its next possession before the Purple Knights missed a shot, and the visitors set up for a final shot, with a nice move in the paint during the final 15 seconds ending with the shot bouncing on the rim and out. Holton snagged the board and hit two free throws with 8.3 ticks left to ice it.
Junior Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Mass./Old Rochester Regional) hit a pair of threes to allow the Skyhawks to forge an 8-0 lead, and the visitors extended their advantage to 23-7 at 10:29 of the opening half when Logan canned his second trey in 56 seconds, good for his team's fifth long-range shot of the game at that point. After beginning the game shooting 3-of-17, Saint Michael's made 11 of its next 17 shots while embarking on a 29-11 run that spanned halftime. Nine consecutive points brought the hosts within 23-16 on Holton's lay-up, while the Purple Knights twice edged within one possession before the end of the half, when Cambronne twice drained triples and Holton hit a jumper. Cambronne's trey at 1:25 made it 32-31 before Cole's lay-up was the final bucket of the stanza.
Ditlefsen knocked down a tying three-pointer just 13 seconds into the second stanza, and Cambronne's jumper at 18:43 account for the first of 13 lead changes in the period, including the first of six in a 1:28 span. Smith's jumper at 17:15 ignited a 14-5 Stonehill run, as the Skyhawks claimed a 54-46 advantage with 13:54 to go on Cumpstone's jumper. The next 11 points came from Purple Knights, as Holton had five and Crawford four, before Cumpstone hit a tying three and Smith put his team back ahead, 60-57, with a triple of his own. However, Cambronne's lay-in at 6:22 was the first of five lead changes in a 2:05 stretch, giving his team a 61-60 edge and setting up the closing minutes.
Six Purple Knight seniors were honored prior to the game: Cambronne, Crawford, Ditlefsen, Holton, Thompson and Mauri Boschetti (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep).
Saint Michael's heads to regionally-ranked Saint Anselm College on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. contest, as the game was pushed back from Tuesday evening. The Hawks, who are tied for fourth in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, qualified for the past two NCAA Tournaments.