COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team scored the final seven points in the last 48.3 seconds to snap a tie on Saturday against Le Moyne College and pull away for its fifth straight victory, an 87-80 Northeast-10 Conference decision in the Ross Sports Center. The Purple Knights are now 11-2 overall and 6-2 in the league, while the Dolphins fell to 7-7 and 4-4. The Purple and Gold is also 7-0 at home.
Saint Michael's won at home against Le Moyne for the first time since Dec. 9, 2006, snapping a nine-game regular-season losing streak in the series, thanks to shooting 12-of-19 from three-point range in the contest and 20-of-24 on second-half free throws. Each of the five Purple Knight starters scored in double figures, with junior James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) notching 22 points on 3-of-3 three-point shooting and classmate Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) totaling 20 points behind a 6-of-8 three-point effort. Holton set a career high for triples.
Junior Dom Ditlefsen (Portland, Ore./Sunset) had 15 points while going 7-of-7 on free throws, classmate Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) totaled 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists, and junior Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) tallied 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with two steals. Sophomore Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) collected five assists versus zero assists off the bench, and first-year reserve Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) hauled in six rebounds.
Junior Naté Gause (Poughkeepsie, N.Y./Poughkeepsie/Quinnipiac) led Le Moyne with 20 points off the bench in addition to seven rebounds and three assists, while senior Nate Champion (Logansport, Ind./Logansport) turned in 15 points, eight assists and four steals. Sophomore Qwadere Lowell (Mount Vernon, N.Y./Mount Vernon) collected 15 points, and junior Ryan Romich (Groton, Mass./Vermont Academy) notched 14.
In a contest that featured 14 lead changes and 10 ties, Saint Michael's took the lead for good when Cambronne hit a jumper with 48.3 seconds left, snapping an 80-all score. After Le Moyne turned the ball over on an inbounds play designed for graduate student Jim Janson (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville), Crawford made a free throw at 30.5 seconds to produce a three-point margin, and Ditlefsen snagged the rebound of a missed Dolphin three-pointer before clinching the win with a pair of freebies at 15.6 ticks.
Romich knocked down a three-pointer, his team's third in 2:21, to give Le Moyne a 16-9 advantage at 14:03 of the opening half before Bonds hit a free throw, Holton went on a personal 11-6 run and Thompson converted a lay-up at 10:20 to put the Purple Knights ahead by a 23-22 count. The Dolphins countered and twice went back ahead by seven points, including 36-29, but Ditlefsen converted a three-point play with 2:50 remaining to forge a 39-39 score. Gause made two free throws 41 seconds later, and Le Moyne took a 47-44 edge into the locker room.
Nine lead changes and seven ties ensued in the second half. Saint Michael's wiped out a 57-51 deficit with eight straight points at one juncture, and first-year Stan Buczek's (Port Jervis, N.Y./Burke Catholic) fast-break bucket at 3:32 gave Le Moyne its final lead, 78-77, before Thompson dropped in a hoop and Crawford hit two free throws, However, Janson knocked down one freebie at 1:42 and tied the game at 1:11, setting up the exciting final minute.
The Purple Knights cap a three-game homestand on Tuesday, hosting the University of New Haven at 7:30 p.m.