COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team dropped a 93-71 decision to regionally-regarded Stonehill College on Tuesday evening in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 5-17 overall and 2-15 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Skyhawks, who are receiving votes toward this week's D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, improved to 14-9 and 10-7.
Junior Levi Holmes III (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep) scored 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting with four rebounds for the hosts, hitting three three-pointers, while sophomore Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) had 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting with game highs of eight rebounds and two blocks. Junior Derek Cheatom (Buffalo, N.Y./The Park School of Buffalo) added 11 points, four rebounds and four assists, while sophomore Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School) posted eight points, four rebounds and six assists off the bench. First-year reserve Jason Heter (Andover, N.J./Newton) contributed seven points on 3-of-3 shooting with six boards in 12 minutes.
Saint Michael's held advantages of 41-31 in rebounding, 14-5 on the offensive glass and 12-5 in second-chance points, but Stonehill connected on 16-of-33 three-pointers, including 8-of-12 in the second half, and committed only seven turnovers. The visitors used a 27-7 advantage in points off of turnovers.
Sophomore Will Moreton scored a game-best 30 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Skyhawks, while classmate Brandon Twitty was 5-for-9 from deep with 25 points, three assists and three steals. Sophomore Dan Largey turned in a 5-of-6 three-point showing for 15 points, and senior KJ Lee turned in 13 points, seven rebounds, and 11 assists to only one turnover. The quartet combined for 83 of their team's 93 points while shooting 15-of-24 from deep, compared to 1-of-9 by the remaining Stonehill players.
The teams played through five lead changes in the opening 5:51 of the contest, with Saint Michael's leading 11-10 on Jackson's lay-in before 10 of the next 12 points came from Skyhawks, with Largey and Lee both burying threes. Holmes' triple brought the Purple Knights as close as 23-21 with 7:56 to go before Largey responded with two threes 24 seconds apart. The host responded with a tying 12-4 run, as DiGrande had five of the points and Jackson's lay-up at 1:50 forged a 33-33 knot. However, Twitty nailed a three 15 seconds later, and Stonehill carried a 41-37 edge into the locker room.
Saint Michael's received six straight points to pull back in front early in the second stanza, with junior Jaylen Hall (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park/Richard J. Daley) hitting two freebies, Cheatom tying the game on a jumper thanks to a DiGrande feed, and DiGrande making it 45-43 on two free throws at 15:33. However, the Skyhawks countered with a 20-2 run that took 4:57 to elapse, with Moreton and Twitty both scoring six points, as their team shot 8-of-11.
Holmes' lay-up at 9:46 snapped a 6:21 Purple Knight stretch without a field goal, making it 63-51, and the hosts were still down only 70-57 when he buried a three with 6:48 left. Stonehill went on a 22-8 run to put the game out of reach.
Holmes now has 527 points this winter, tying for the 16th-highest total in school annals with Brendan Mullins '07 (2006-07), while he joined Mark Mulvey '97, Todd Roberts '01 and James Sorrentine '08 as the only Purple Knights ever to hit 80 threes. With 80, he is tied with Sorrentine for seventh place.
The Purple Knights visit Assumption College on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. tip-off.