Regionally-ranked men's basketball falls late to Bentley, 77-76

Regionally-ranked men's basketball falls late to Bentley, 77-76

WALTHAM, Mass. - The regionally-ranked Saint Michael's College men's basketball team had a pair of go-ahead shots in the closing seconds hit the rim and fall off on Saturday, and the Purple Knights lost to Bentley University, 77-76, in the Dana Athletic Center during Northeast-10 Conference action. Saint Michael's, which was sixth in this week's D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, slipped to 15-8 overall and 11-7 in the league, while the Falcons are 15-9 and 10-8.

Senior Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) had 16 points and three assists while shooting 4-of-9 from three-point range for the visitors. While improving his career point total to 1,658, he passed Geoff Card '97 (1,651) for seventh in program history. Classmate Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) notched 14 points, four assists and four steals, while sophomore Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) collected 13 points and six rebounds off the bench. Senior James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) added 11 points, junior Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) hit three threes en route to nine points and three assists, and senior Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) pulled down eight rebounds. Classmate Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) dished out four assists.

The Purple Knights committed only 10 turnovers while shooting 11-of-26 from three-point range and held a 33-29 edge on the glass. They outscored Bentley in the paint, 26-10, but the Falcons were 17-of-36 on threes.

Bentley, which has won nine of 10, received 19 points and eight rebounds from senior Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland), while junior Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Cushing Academy) notched 18 points and seven assists, shooting 5-of-7 from deep. Classmate Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Cushing Academy) added 16 points, and sophomore Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia/Hun School) totaled 12 off the bench. Senior J.P. Koury (Red Bank, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) contributed six points, eight rebounds and three assists.

Saint Michael's pulled out to a 5-0 lead to begin the game on a three-pointer by Cambronne and a jumper from Holton before Bentley used three three-pointers during a tying 9-4 run. Bonds and Ditlefsen countered with back-to-back hoops, but a 12-2 run, power by four triples, gave the Falcons a 21-15 advantage by 12:07 of the opening half. Bonds scored the next four points, around Bentley taking its first two-point attempt at 11:29, but Hyland hit his team's first two-pointer at 10:09 before Koury drained a three 20 seconds later to put his team in front by a 26-19 count.

The next nine points came from Purple Knights, with Bonds converting a three-point play, Ditlefsen hitting a three and Grippo putting his team back ahead at 28-26 with 7:48 to go. After Duke hit a tying jumper 12 ticks later, Saint Michael's put together a 16-7 run, with Grippo scoring six and Ditlefsen netting five. Both added an assist. Holton's triple capped the stretch, and the visitors led 44-35 with 3:12 left. However, Furness and Duke hit threes around a Crawford jumper in the final 1:24, and the Purple Knights' advantage was trimmed to 46-41 by intermission.

Bentley further cut the deficit to three points at 48-45 at 16:58 of the second half thanks to McFarland's personal 4-0 run, and the margin remained between three and seven points until fewer than 12 minutes remained. Furness hit a three to keep the Falcons within 59-55 at 11:45 before Saint Michael's slowly extended its advantage to double figures. Holton tallied five points in a matter of 24 seconds, but McFarland had five points in a 7-3 Bentley run to help the hosts trail 67-61 at 9:36. First-year Colin Richey (Upton, Mass./Choate Rosemary Hall) knocked down a three to account for his team's points.

Cambronne made two freebies before Ditlefsen had a steal and a breakaway hoop to produce a 71-61 score, but Bentley forged in front for good on the strength of a 13-0 run that took 3:20 to elapse. Hyland scored the first five points before Duke hit the go-ahead three at 3:57, and Bentley led 74-71 with 3:14 to go. Cambronne and Holton both later made baskets around a Hyland triple to bring their team within one point, but Saint Michael's missed three shot in the final 1:01, including a pair in the closing eight seconds.

The Purple Knights host Assumption College on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.