COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team capped its season with a 104-72 loss to regionally-ranked Merrimack College on Tuesday evening during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center. The Warriors are fourth in the NCAA East Region rankings.
- Saint Michael's (7-19, 4-17 NE10), Merrimack (19-9, 14-7 NE10)
SAINT MICHAEL'S LEADERS
- Senior Derek Cheatom (Buffalo, N.Y./The Park School of Buffalo), 19 points, 11 rebounds, 2 steals
- Senior Levi Holmes III (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep), 15 points, 5 rebounds
- Senior Winston Jones II (Valley Stream, N.Y./Valley Stream Central), 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4-for-9 field goals
- Junior Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian), 7 points, 7 assists, 2 steals
- Junior Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex), 7 points
- Sophomore Alvi Rodriguez (Madrid, Spain/La Salle Maravillas), 6 points, 3 assists, 3 steals, 3-for-4 shooting
- Senior Ryan Boulter, 21 points, 5-for-9 three-pointers
- Junior Jaleel Lord, 20 points, 6-for-10 three-pointers
- First-year Mikey Watkins, 17 points, 7-for-9 field goals
- Junior Juvaris Hayes, 14 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists, 5 steals, 4-for-5 field goals, 6-for-7 free throws
- Sophomore Khalief Crawford, 13 points
- Merrimack is fourth in the latest NCAA East Region rankings.
- The Purple Knights played their third of three straight regionally-ranked foes to end the season.
- Saint Michael's suffered 12 losses to teams at least receiving votes toward regional polls.
- The contest was the 85th meeting between the two teams since 1955, with Merrimack now moving on to Division I next year.
- The Purple Knights held a 36-29 rebounding advantage, including 14-5 on the offensive class.
- Saint Michael's finished the year shooting a school-record 78.8 percent on free throws, shattering the 1963-64 team's 55-year-old program mark (76.2%).
- Cheatom ended his career with 951 points while hitting 128 threes, good for 15th in program history.
- Holmes finished first in Saint Michael's history in career three-point percentage (45.3%) and free throw percentage (87.0%), third in three-pointers (278), fourth in points (1,784), fifth in scoring average (17.7) and 10th in field goals (603). His scoring average is the best by any Purple Knight to play since 1974.
- Holmes is fourth in NE10 history in three-point percentage and fifth in free throw success rate.
- By averaging 20.2 points this year, Holmes joined Rich Tarrant '65, Dick Falkenbush '67 and Fran Laffin '74 as the only Purple Knights to turn in at least 20.0 points per game in multiple seasons. Holmes scored 24.1 points per game as a junior.
- Holmes buried 90 triples last year and followed that up with 71 this winter, joining Mark Mulvey '97, Todd Roberts '01 and James Sorrentine '08 as the lone Purple Knights with multiple seasons of 70 threes.
- Holmes ended the year shooting 89.7 percent on free throws, just shy of a school record he set last year (89.9%). He will graduate with three of the top four season percentages in program annals.
- Lord's triple at 15:44 of the opening half capped a 6-3 spurt that put Merrimack up 13-9.
- Rodriguez and Cheatom countered with buckets, both assisted by Guzman, to knot the game 1:13 later, and Guzman dished to sophomore Jason Heter (Andover, N.J./Newton) for a go-ahead hoop (15-14) at 14:02, capping a 6-1 run.
- The Warriors scored 14 of the next 18 points, forging ahead by a 28-19 count with 9:36 left, but Rodriguez kicked to senior Jaylen Hall (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park/Richard J. Daley) for a corner three before putting home a lay-up to trim the deficit to 28-24.
- Merrimack pulled away on the strength of a 28-8 run, with Hayes' two freebies at 57 seconds pushing the lead to 56-32.
- Jones netted five straight points before Hayes finished the half with a buzzer-beating lay-in, giving the Warriors a 58-37 lead.
- Saint Michael's used an 18-7 run to trim the hole to 78-60 on Cheatom's three-point play at 10:29 of the second stanza. Cheatom notched eight points while Guzman had five points and two assists in the run.
- Merrimack again slowly extended its lead, this time with a 24-10 run.