COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team lost its second straight overtime heartbreaker on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center, falling to Franklin Pierce University, 92-91, after a last-second shot fell short. The Purple Knights are now 5-16 overall and 2-14 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Ravens improved to 12-9 and 7-9. Junior Levi Holmes III (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep) had 43 points for the highest total by a Purple and Gold player in more than four decades, as he buried nine three-pointers.
In a game that featured 62 fouls, 72 free throw attempts and 56 made freebies, seven players fouled out, including six from Saint Michael's, which played the final 1.4 seconds of overtime with its only four remaining active players.
Holmes netted a career-best 43 points in 38 minutes on 14-of-25 shooting, going 9-of-12 from downtown, while adding four assists, two steals and a 6-of-8 free throw effort. His three triples in a 2:12 stretch over the final 3:15 of regulation gave Saint Michael's a two-point lead before the teams advanced to overtime, where he fouled out after 43 seconds. The 43 points are believed to not only be the most by a Purple Knight since complete records became available in 1972-73, but since Dick Falkenbush '67 set the school's scoring mark of 51 points on Feb. 26, 1967. Sophomore Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian) scored six of his career-high 17 points in the extra session, shooting 5-of-8 from the floor and 7-of-9 at the charity stripe.
Junior Derek Cheatom (Buffalo, N.Y./The Park School of Buffalo) and sophomores Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) and Stephen Laffin (West Hartford, Conn./Northwest Catholic) all scored seven points before fouling out. DiGrande pulled eight rebounds. Junior Jaylen Hall (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park/Richard J. Daley) had four steals and three assists in 41 minutes, first-year Walker Storey (Shelburne, Vt./Champlain Valley Union) blocked three shots, and sophomore Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School) handed out three assists. Hall and Jackson also picked up five fouls.
Senior Mike McDevitt totaled 26 points and seven rebounds for Franklin Pierce, while sophomore Doyin Fadojutimi had 17 points and nine boards. Senior Jordan Lackey tacked on 16 points and four assists, while sophomore Falu Seck notched 10 points and seven rebounds. The Ravens attempted only one more two-point field goal (44) than free throws (43), including trying only four field goals in overtime but turning in an 8-of-13 free throw performance.
With his team down 73-68 with a little more than four minutes left in regulation, Holmes fed Cheatom for a thunderous dunk before burying a tying triple at 3:15. Holmes' trey and freebie put the Purple Knights up 77-75 at 2:06 and, after McDevitt canned a three from the corner 13 seconds later, Holmes knocked down another three at 1:03. With possession following a Raven miss, Saint Michael's had a full shot clock that led to a miss at 15 seconds, and McDevitt was fouled while fighting for the ensuing rebound, leading to him making a pair of free throws at 10.3 ticks that tied the game once more. With a chance to win, the Purple Knights had a three-point attempt from the top of the arc just before the buzzer hit front rim.
Holmes hit a go-ahead jumper from the charity stripe 13 seconds into overtime but fouled out 30 seconds later, leading to McDevitt's tying free throws. However, Guzman wrapped a pair of three-point plays around a McDevitt bucket, pushing the hosts to an 88-84 edge at 2:56. After McDevitt made two more freebies, Storey buried a three at 58.9 seconds to make it 91-86, ending a stretch during which either Guzman or Holmes scored 30 of their team's 32 points.
Fadojutimi drove for a lay-up at 54 seconds before McDevitt forced a turnover, leading to Lackey's freebies at 37.8. Still up one, the Purple Knights committed another giveaway on their next possession, leading to Fadojutimi making two free throws at 26.9 to put his team in front. With a chance to win, the Purple Knights drained the clock but had a winning jumper fall short and bounce off of various hands out of bounds with 2.3 ticks to go. Laffin's fifth foul at 1.4 left four Saint Michael's players on the floor to see the Ravens miss both of the ensuing freebies, and Storey's heave at the buzzer was 10 feet short.
Franklin Pierce scored the first 10 points of the game courtesy of four scorers, and McDevitt's lay-in at the right block made it 12-1 by 14:38 of the opening stanza before the Ravens still led by 11 with 13:36 to go. Holmes buried a three before Laffin made two free throws to cut the deficit to 14-8, but consecutive Raven hoops put the visitors back up by 10. Saint Michael's responded with a 30-13 run to take a half-best seven-point edge. Holmes scored 13 of the Purple Knights' points, while DiGrande and Guzman both contributed six points. Guzman's freebie at 57 seconds made it 38-31 before junior David Bradbury's two free throws at 10 seconds made it a five-point contest heading into halftime.
McDevitt, who was saddled with foul trouble in the opening half, had two early baskets in the second stanza, including the tying bucket at 17:49, before Storey buried a go-ahead trey, and the Purple Knights twice pushed their advantage to 10 points, including when Laffin made two free throws at 12:16. The Ravens countered with an 18-4 run, leading 64-60 after Lackey's two freebies at 7:05. Guzman later finished off a tying three-point play with 6:10 left, but Fadojutimi's lay-in at 4:44 pushed the lead back to five before Cheatom's jam triggered a harried final nine minutes.
Holmes, who scored 23 of his points in the second half behind 6-of-7 three-point shooting, has now averaged 39.0 points on 70.3 percent (26-for-37) three-point shooting in his last three contests. After making seven treys against perennial regional power Southern Connecticut State University last Saturday, he added a school-record-tying 10 in a 96-94 setback to regional heavyweight Southern New Hampshire University on Tuesday. Today, Holmes became just the 18th Purple Knight ever to score 500 points in a season (504) and only the sixth with 70 threes (77), tying for eighth in school history in triples. He has 194 for his career through 72 games, good for seventh at Saint Michael's.
The Purple Knights host Stonehill College on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.