COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team heads into the Northeast-10 Conference Championship this weekend, beginning its postseason run on Friday by hosting The College of Saint Rose on Friday for a first-round contest at 7 p.m. The contest marks the Purple Knights' first postseason home game in eight years.
With the top three seeds in both of the NE-10's divisions getting a first-round bye, the Purple Knights take part in one of the two postseason contests that are taking place on Friday. Tickets to all games, both home and away, are $8 for adults; $5 for senior citizens 62 and older and children 11 and younger; and $1 for students at NE-10 schools with a valid ID. For Friday's contest, the first 100 Saint Michael's students get in free thanks to the generosity of the Student Association.
As the No. 4 seed in the Northeast Division, the men host Southwest No. 5 Saint Rose, with the winner heading to Southwest No. 1 Southern Connecticut State University, the 23rd-ranked team in Division II, for a Sunday quarterfinal at 3 p.m. A free webcast will be provided at SMCAthletics.com for the opening round. The Purple Knights downed the Golden Knights, 81-68, in Colchester on Jan. 21, holding off a Saint Rose squad that counts 10 first-years on its roster. Saint Michael's is 2-0 against Southern Connecticut State, which was nationally ranked during both match-ups.
While winning at least a dozen contests for the second straight season for the first time since 2000-01, the 16-10 Purple Knights host a postseason contest for the first time since downing Assumption College, 68-60, in a 2007 NE-10 Championship first-round contest. The 12-time NCAA Tournament qualifier is 36-35 all time in postseason play, including 15-4 at home, posting an 11-3 mark in the Ross Sports Center. Saint Michael's is 2-1 in NE-10 Championship first-round games but 0-2 all time against Saint Rose in the postseason, falling in the 1999 NCAA Tournament and 2007 NE-10 Championship, both in Albany, N.Y. The Purple Knights have never met Southern Connecticut State in the postseason.
Saint Michael's, which was ranked sixth in the latest NCAA East Region poll, has three seniors scoring in double figures, with Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) leading the way with 14.8 points. The NE-10 All-Conference third team selection is sixth in program history in career scoring (1,705) and has knocked down 56 three-pointers this year. Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) adds 12.3 points and a team-high 79 assists, while James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) notches 11.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 19 blocks, tying for second in the NE-10 in three-point shooting (45.1%). Cambronne landed an NE-10 All-Conference honorable mention nod.
Sophomore Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) has been a key reserve, posting 9.8 points on 49.0 percent shooting while placing second in the NE-10 in rebounding (9.2) with a league-best 3.8 offensive boards. Seniors Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) and Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) average 7.7 and 8.2 points, respectively, with Ditlefsen hitting 51 three-pointers, coming up with a team-high 20 steals and placing fifth in the NE-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1), and Thompson taking third in the conference by shooting 58.2 percent while snagging 6.4 rebounds. Junior Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) adds 6.5 points and 41 treys off the bench.