RINDGE, N.H. - A tying desperation attempt from halfcourt hit the front rim and bounced off as the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team fell to Franklin Pierce University, 77-74, on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play at FPU Fieldhouse.
- Saint Michael's (3-9, 0-5 NE10), Franklin Pierce (8-4, 3-2 NE10)
SAINT MICHAEL'S LEADERS
- First-year Kasai Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y./Millbrook School), 19 points, 4 blocks, 6-for-9 field goals, 3-for-5 three-pointers, 4-for-4 free throws
- First-year Jalen Gorham (York, Pa./MacDuffie School), 14 points (career high), 5 rebounds, 5-for-8 field goals, 4-for-5 free throws
- Senior Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex), 11 points, 5-for-8 field goals
- Junior Walker Storey (Shelburne, Vt./Champlain Valley Union), 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2-for-5 three-pointers
- Senior Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian), 8 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists
- Redshirt junior Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School), 8 points, 3 assists
- Sophomore Jontai Williams (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes), 5 rebounds, 3 assists
- Sophomore Maxwell Zegarowski, 21 points, 5-for-11 three-pointers, 6-for-6 free throws
- Senior Doyin Fadojutimi, 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4-for-6 three-pointers
- Senior Falu Seck, 16 points, 7 rebounds
- Sophomore Isaiah Moore, 7 assists
- Saint Michael's played for the second time in three days after playing three times between Nov. 24 and Jan. 1.
- Not only was the final score close, but the teams were either tied or narrowly separated in rebounds (FPU, 38-37), shooting (SMC, 45.0%-40.9%), free throw percentage (SMC, 85.7%-81.3%), paint points (34-34) and points off of turnovers (13-13).
- The teams played through eight lead changes and seven ties.
- The Purple Knights' last two losses were sustained by a combined seven points, as five of their setbacks have come by 10 points or fewer this season.
- Franklin Pierce opened the game on a 12-3 run, around a Storey triple, with Seck's lay-in at 14:38 of the first period capping the stretch, and the hosts still led 16-9 on Moore's jumper with 11:17 left.
- The Purple Knights regrouped with a 19-7 run that took 6:04 to elapse, with Brown scoring 12 of the points himself. His four consecutive free throws knotted the game at 20-20 before Fadojutimi buried a three with 7:03 left, but Storey converted a putback 30 seconds later and Brown knocked down consecutive triples 50 seconds apart to make it 28-23 with 4:43 remaining.
- Brown's jumper still had Saint Michael's ahead 30-26 at 3:18, but Fadojutimi and Seck split the scoring in a 10-2 spurt that gave the Ravens a 36-32 edge 42 seconds before halftime.
- DiGrande's lay-in 22 ticks later kicked off a 12-0 run that carried into the second stanza, with Storey the fourth Purple Knight to score in that time when he buried a three that put the visitors on top by a 44-36 count at 17:22.
- Franklin Pierce countered with a tying 8-0 run, with Fadojutimi scoring half of the points, but Guzman hit a three at 14:51 to snap the deadlock, and five straight points by Jackson later extended the lead to 54-46 with 11:54 to play.
- DiGrande's three-point play kept Saint Michael's up by as much as 59-53 at 8:21, and the first of two Gorham dunks in 36 seconds made it 61-57 with 7:01 left, but Zegarowski nailed a tying three at 6:15, forcing the first of four ties in a 4:40 span.
- Saint Michael's retook the lead four times in the closing 5:49, but the Ravens responded each time. First-years provided the go-ahead points on all four occasions, with Brown drilling a triple at 5:49 that was matched by another Zegarowski three, and Gorham dropping in a lay-up and four free throws in a 3:07 stretch. His final two freebies gave the Purple Knights a 72-70 lead with 1:17 to go, but Zegarowski hit a go-ahead three 11 seconds later.
- Zegarowski blocked a go-ahead try by the visitors at 40 seconds, and junior Sean Fasoyiro's lay-up with 11 ticks remaining beat the shot clock and created a 75-72 game.
- Brown's lay-up edged the visitors within one point with 3.5 seconds to play, but Zegarowski hit two free throws at 2.1 seconds to reestablish the three-point lead. On the ensuing inbounds play, Gorham's tying desperation heave from midcourt hit front rim at the buzzer.
NEXT SAINT MICHAEL'S GAME
- Wednesday vs. No. 23 Bentley University, 7:30 p.m.
- The Falcons' national ranking is according to this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) national poll.