Saint Michael’s Edges Stonehill, 66-64

Junior Jack Cole posted his 14th career double-double to lead the Skyhawks with 16 points and 11 rebounds. (PHOTO BY Emily Reynolds)

Holton, Jr., steers Purple Knights to fifth straight win with 21 points 

EASTON, Mass. (February 8, 2014) – Saint Michael's College overcame a slow start and survived as last second shot to claim a 66-64 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium on Alumni Day this afternoon.

Junior Mike Holton, Jr. (Portland, Ore./The Winchendon School) led the way for Saint Michael's with a game-high 21 points (13 first half) on 9-of-14 shooting from the field with five rebounds. Junior James Cambronne (De Bary, Fla./The Winchendon School) added 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting, eight rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot, while classmate Corey Crawford II (Dover, Del./The Phelps School) contributed 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, while converting both free-throw attempts to go with three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Junior Mike Thompson (Rosedale, N.Y./Christ the King) pulled down a team-high ten rebounds, while freshman Matt Bonds (Accokeek, Md./North Point) chipped in with nine points and five boards.

Junior Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) led Stonehill with his fourth double-double of the season (14th career) as he recorded a team-high 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field while converting 2-of-3 free-throws to go with a game-high 11 rebounds and four assists. Sophomores Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) and Josh Heyliger (Queens, N.Y./The Hill School) both added 11 points, with Smith scoring all of his points in the first half and Heyliger netting nine first half points to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Classmate Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) chipped in with seven points and eight boards.

Saint Michael's shot 47.3-percent (26-for-55) from the field, connecting on 7-of-23 (30.4%) three-pointers and converting just 7-of-14 (50%) free-throw attempts. The Purple Knights held a 43-38 rebounding edge, but Stonehill outscored the visitors 8-4 on second chance points and held a 16-7 advantage on points off turnovers as the Skyhawks committed just nine turnovers compared to 17 for SMC. The difference was second half shooting as Stonehill finished at 36.1-percent (26-for-72) from the field, including 28.2% (11-39) in the second half after hitting at 45.5% (15-33) over the opening 20 minutes. The Skyhawks connected on 7-of-24 (29.2%) three-pointers and converted 5-of-7 (71.4%) free-throw attempts.

Sophomore Carter Smith scored 11 first half points to lead the Skyhawks to a halftime lead. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Stonehill scored ten of the first 13 points in the game on its way to a 14 point (25-11) lead after a three-pointer from senior Mitch Amelio (Carlsbad, Calif./La Jolla Country Day) seven and a half minutes into the game. The three capped a 15-3 Skyhawks run which also included a three point play from Cole.

Stonehill stretched its lead to 18 (32-14) after a Smith triple with 7:27 remaining in the opening half. Saint Michael's kicked in gear and scored 15 straight points, the last 12 by Holton, Jr., to close within three (32-29) with 3:55 left. Smith hit back with a triple to stop the run, but baskets by sophomore Will Davis (Valley Stream, N.Y./Holy Cross) and Thompson cut the gap to two (35-33) with 1:55 to go before the break, where it would stay at the intermission.         

Cole opened the second half with a basket for Stonehill, but Saint Michael's netted the next seven points to take its first lead since an early 3-2 edge (42-39) after a Bonds layup six minutes into the second half. Sophomore Stuart McEwen (Sydney, Australia) hit back with a three-pointer to knot the score for Stonehill, sparking a 13-4 run that put the Skyhawks back up six (52-46) on a Cumpstone tip-in with nine minutes to go. Cumpstone also hit a three-pointer during that stretch, while Cole converted a three-point play.

Saint Michael regained the lead (62-58) after a Holton, Jr., jumper with 4:26 remaining capped a 14-4 run. The Purple Knights wouldn't relinquish the lead after that, but had to withstand some chances by Stonehill down the stretch. The clubs traded baskets with SMC still hanging on to its four point advantage (66-62) on a Cambronne layup with 1:17 remaining. Cole scored inside at the other end to pull the Skyhawks back within a possession (66-64) with 54-seconds to go. He was fouled on the play, but missed the and-one.

Freshman Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) grabbed the offensive rebound for Stonehill and Smith missed a jumper and Cole couldn't put away the put back with 21-seconds on the clock. Holton, Jr., finally corralled the defensive rebound and was fouled with 16-seconds on the clock. He missed the front end of the one and one and Cumpstone came away with the rebound to give the Skyhawks a last chance to force overtime.

Stonehill called a timeout with 11-seconds to go and the ensuing play was initially broken up around the three-point arc, but Smith collected the ball and drove down the lane and got the ball to the rim as the buzzer sounded, but the tying basket fell off the right side of the rim to send Saint Michael's home with the win.

Stonehill (7-14, 4-12 NE-10) is back on the road on Tuesday when it visits Assumption College for an NE-10 clash at 7:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home the following Wednesday, February 19, to host Franklin Pierce University, among teams receiving votes in the NABC Division II poll, at 7:30 p.m. Saint Michael's (16-5, 11-5 NE-10) hosts Saint Anselm College for a key NE-10 matchup on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

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