COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team was joined by nationally-regarded Franklin Pierce University in going 2-0 during the DoubleTree Doc Jacobs Classic over the weekend, completing play with victories on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center.
The Purple Knights downed LIU Post, 75-65, as junior Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) was named tournament MVP and classmate Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) became the 42nd player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Franklin Pierce, which is receiving votes toward the National Association of Basketball Coaches' (NABC) national poll, was an 85-72 winner against Molloy College.
Saint Michael's improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2007-08 by downing LIU Post for the first time since Nov. 18, 2000. Ditlefsen led five players in double figures with 18 points in 23 minutes, shooting 6-of-8 overall and 4-for-6 from three-point range, and was lauded with an MVP award named for Cliff Breiner, the men's basketball program's official scorer for 40 years who passed away in May. Holton tacked on 11 points on 9-of-12 free throw shooting, reaching the 1,000-point milestone in his 63rd game on a free throw with 13:08 remaining in the opening half. By the end of the night, he stood 39th all-time with 1,009 points.
Junior James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) had 13 points and six boards, first-year Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) added 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and seven rebounds, and junior Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) posted a balanced 11 points, six boards and four assists. In 14 minutes, first-year reserve Zaire Williams (Paterson, N.J./Newark Academy) had three assists and two steals.
LIU Post, which is now 1-3, received 20 points and 15 rebounds from senior Vaughn Allen (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon), while sophomore Akosa Maduegbunam (Hyde Park, Mass./Charlestown/Penn State) added 12 points.
After Saint Michael's led by as many as eight points in the first half, the Pioneers forged ahead 31-30 on Allen's lay-up with 4:37 left in the stanza, but Ditlefsen sent the hosts into the locker room with a 36-33 edge by hitting a three with 1:01 to go. Maduegbunam's jumper forced a 42-42 tie with 15:31 left in regulation, but Saint Michael's took the lead and began pulling away with a 16-2 run, during which time Bonds, Cambronne and Ditlefsen each scored four points. LIU Post cut its deficit to eight three times but came no closer.
In the opening contest, 5-0 Franklin Pierce saw first-year Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn./The Master's School) lead five scorers in double figures with 13 points, and junior Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa./Hamden South) totaled 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Molloy, which slipped to 1-3, was paced by senior John Petrucelli's (Hicksville, N.Y./Hicksville) 29 points, nine rebounds, six steals, three assists and two blocks. Sophomore Chucks Obunse (Saint Albans, N.Y./Martin Van Buren) had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Vilmont buried a three with 9:37 left in the first half to give Franklin Pierce a 26-12 advantage before Molloy slowly chipped away, knotting the game at 43 by halftime on Petrucelli's triple with 25 seconds to go. However, the Ravens took the lead back 1:07 into the second stanza while starting a 7-0 run, and the Lions never came closer than four points down the stretch.
Saint Michael's returns to action on Wednesday when Franklin Pierce makes a return trip to the Ross Sports Center for a 7:30 p.m. contest.