Men's basketball pulls away from 19th-ranked Saint Anselm, 84-75

Men's basketball pulls away from 19th-ranked Saint Anselm, 84-75

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team used a game-ending 14-6 run to break open a one-point contest and upset 19th-ranked Saint Anselm College, 84-75, on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights improved to 6-17 overall and 4-14 in the league, while the Hawks are 18-5 and 13-5. Saint Anselm's ranking was according to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and it also sits fourth in the D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

The Purple and Gold celebrated Senior Day by snapping an eight-game losing streak versus the Hawks, downing them for the first time since Feb. 18, 2012. Saint Michael's held a team ranked third in the nation in three-point percentage (44.0%) to a 37.9 percent effort, as the Purple Knights committed only eight turnovers, shot 50.0 percent and went 21-of-23 on free throws, including making their first 17 tries. In a balanced effort, Saint Michael's forced 14 turnovers and held leads of 44-26 on points in the paint and 55-2 in bench scoring.

Junior Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) had 18 points on 7-of-13 field goal shooting and 4-of-5 free throw success for the hosts, adding nine rebounds and two steals to approach his 17th double-double of the year. He remains second in Division II with 16 and took over 11th in program history with 737 career boards, passing Brian Pannuzzo '99 (730). Senior Morrell Gaskins (Cambria Heights, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) totaled 17 points while shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-7 on freebies.

First-year Levi Holmes III (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep) totaled 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and classmate Derek Cheatom (Buffalo, N.Y./The Park School of Buffalo) notched a season-high-tying 11 points on a 4-for-5 effort. Junior Zaire Williams (Paterson, N.J./Newark Academy) had eight points, sophomore Colin Richey (Upton, Mass./Choate Rosemary Hall) contributed eight points on 4-of-6 shooting with three assists and two steals, and senior Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) dished off four helpers.

Senior Mike McCahey hit four threes en route to 25 points for Saint Anselm, junior Harrison Taggart collected 17 points and four assists, and senior Victor Joshua posted 16 points and six helpers.

Joshua buried a three-pointer with 3:17 remaining to bring the Hawks within 70-69, but Gaskins converted a three-point play 14 seconds later off a Williams pass. Taggart's lay-in created a two-point game, but Holmes scored the next five points to put the hosts up 78-71 at 1:14. Joshua's lay-up made it 81-75, but Bonds connected on two free throws before an offensive foul led to Williams knocking down a freebie, and Grippo secured a steal with 11 seconds left before dribbling out the clock until the final horn.

Taggart's seven points keyed a 15-2 run that gave Saint Anselm a 20-6 lead 7:21 into the game, but the Purple Knights held the Hawks without a basket for 9:45 while using a 30-9 run to forge ahead with 1:24 remaining in the first half. The first seven Saint Anselm points in that time came on free throws, as Saint Michael's shot 12-for-18 in the run while holding the Hawks to 1-of-13. Six Purple Knights scored in that time, with Bonds and Holmes each providing seven points. Cheatom's two free throws with three seconds left made it 38-31 at halftime.

Ten of the first 12 points during the second period came from Hawks, who went up 41-40 on McCahey's second triple in 28 seconds at 17:34, but Williams nailed a three of his own 16 seconds later. After McCahey tied the game on a lay-in, the hosts scored eight straight points, with Bonds posting four, but Saint Anselm again forced a deadlock, at 55 apiece with 9:40 remaining when McCahey hit two free throws. Holmes put Saint Michael's in front for good 16 seconds later on a jumper, and Cheatom added five points in pushing the advantage to 64-57. The Hawks twice cut their deficit to two before edging within 70-69 on Joshua's trey.

Prior to their second-to-last home game, Gaskins, Grippo, Will Davis (Valley Stream, N.Y./Holy Cross) and Harry Eromosele (Queens, N.Y./CTEA) were recognized during a Senior Day ceremony.

The Purple Knights head to regionally-ranked Bentley University on Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. contest. The Falcons are fifth in this week's D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.