COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team snapped a halftime tie with Assumption College and pulled away for a 70-55 victory on Tuesday during Northeast-10 Conference Northeast Division action in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 6-1 overall, matching their best seven-game start since 2000-01, and 2-1 in the NE-10, while the Greyhounds are 1-6 and 0-3. Saint Michael's has now won 15 of its last 18 at home against Assumption since 1993, knocking off a team that went to three of the past six NCAA Tournaments.
Assumption edged Saint Michael's in field goals made, 22-21, but attempted 14 more shots, and the hosts held a decisive edge from the charity stripe, shooting 19-of-22 to the visitors' 6-for-13. In the second half alone, during which the Purple Knights held a 38-23 scoring advantage, the Greyhounds had a 10-8 field goals edge, but Saint Michael's was 18-of-20 on freebies to Assumption's 2-for-6. The visitors were also 1-for-11 from beyond the arc in the half.
Junior Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) turned in 18 of his career-high 26 points in the second half for Saint Michael's, going 5-of-6 from three-point range to set a career high for threes. He added seven rebounds. Classmate James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) tallied 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks, shooting 3-for-4 from deep and 6-of-6 on freebies, and first-year Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) had 14 points, six boards and two blocks while connecting on 6-of-8 free throws. Sophomore Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) tallied nine points and three assists, and junior Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) posted five assists.
Junior Jimmy Zenevitch (Methuen, Mass./Central Catholic) went 10-for-15 for 21 points for Assumption while also pulling down seven rebounds, and first-year Marcus Murray (Silver Spring, Md./John F. Kennedy) had 12 points, six assists, five boards and three steals. Senior Emiliano Void (Montreal, Quebec/Lockeport Regional) notched 13 rebounds and four assists.
After the teams stood tied at 32 by intermission, Bonds dropped in a lay-up 1:56 into the second half to give Saint Michael's the lead for good, as the Purple Knights held Assumption to just three points and one field goal in the opening 9:27 of the stanza. By the time Crawford buried a three-pointer at the 11-minute mark, the hosts were finishing off a 14-3 run that made the score 46-35. Assumption twice crept within seven points, including with 6:26 remaining on Murray's jumper, but three different players scored during a 7-0 run that put the Purple Knights ahead by a 60-46 count with 5:01 to go. They never again led by fewer than nine points.
The teams played through six ties and five lead changes in the opening 20 minutes, with Assumption grabbing a 17-11 lead by 13:50 before the Purple Knights scored 12 of the next 14 points, with five different players scoring during the stretch to give their squad a 23-19 edge by 8:34. The Greyhounds responded with the next seven points before Cambronne drained a tying three at 5:15, and three lead changes ensued before Crawford hit a go-ahead free throw in the final minute. However, Zenevitch knotted the game on a freebie with 0.4 seconds left, and the teams stood tied at 32 at halftime.
Saint Michael's heads to defending NE-10 regular-season champion Saint Anselm College, a 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifier, next Wednesday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.