COLCHESTER, Vt. - Behind junior James Cambronne's (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) career highs of 28 points and 20 rebounds, the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team rallied past American International College, 66-63, on Tuesday in Ross Sports Center, withstanding a missed tying three-pointer at the buzzer. Now 13-5 overall and 8-5 in the Northeast-10 Conference, the Purple Knights matched their highest win total since 2006-07 (16) while moving to 9-1 at home. AIC fell to 9-11 and 6-7.
Cambronne shot 11-of-20 from the floor and 5-of-6 on free throws while also dishing out two assists, recording his eighth 20-point outing in 11 games and becoming the first Purple Knight since Brian Monahan '08 with a 20-20 game. Monahan, also the last player with 20 boards prior to Cambronne, notched 21 points and 24 caroms on Jan. 11, 2007. Cambronne had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime.
First-year Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) added 14 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, and junior Mike Holton Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) posted 10 points. Classmate Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) shot 3-of-5 from three-point range for nine points, junior Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ The King Regional) hauled in nine boards, and sophomore Greg Grippo (Edison, N.J./Rutgers Prep) dished off three assists. Saint Michael's held a 49-34 rebounding advantage.
Junior Bobby Harris (Berlin, N.J./Assumption) had 16 points and six boards for AIC, and classmate Marcus Porter (New Castle, Del./Goldey-Beacom) totaled 14 points and nine boards. Two others had nine points.
A Porter lay-up put the visitors ahead 42-33 1:31 into the second half before Saint Michael's put together a 15-3 run. Cambronne had six points in that stretch, while Bonds' tip-in at 12:17 gave his team its first lead, 46-45. Thompson capped the run with a tip-in of his own 1:16 later. Porter scored the first four points during a 7-0 response, as the teams traded the lead six times in a 4:36 span. Bonds hit two freebies at 5:05 to give the Purple Knights a 61-60 edge, and the final lead, before Cambronne hit a pair at 3:37.
With possession in a 63-60 game and time nearing one minute remaining, Cambronne grabbed two offensive boards on the same possession before dropping in a lay-up at 1:07 to create a five-point cushion. Harris snapped AIC's 5:11 stretch without a basket by canning a long three with 41.9 seconds to go, and Cambronne went 1-of-2 on free throws with 6.1 seconds left, leaving the Yellow Jackets a chance to tie. However, an AIC player's contested three-pointer from a few feet beyond the arc on the right wing missed everything as the buzzer sounded.
Saint Michael's trailed for the final 18:54 of the first half, as AIC knocked down five threes to open up a 23-13 advantage by the time 8:57 remained. The hosts pushed back with seven of the next eight points, with a Cambronne jumper making it 24-20, but the Yellow Jackets went back ahead by as many as 10 points before taking a 40-33 lead into the locker room.
Saint Michael's plays its next three games away from home, beginning with a 3:30 p.m. contest on Saturday at Adelphi University.