COLCHESTER, Vt. - Junior Kasai Brown's (Brooklyn, N.Y./Millbrook School) tie-breaking basket with 5:12 remaining put the Saint Michael's College men's basketball team in front for good during a season-opening 75-65 victory over Wilmington (Del.) University on Saturday in the Ross Sports Center during the Delta Hotel Doc Jacobs Tipoff Classic. In the other game, Assumption University downed Georgian Court (N.J.) University, 84-59.
The Purple Knights returned to action for the first time since Feb. 25, 2020, while hosting their first tournament named for legendary coach and director of athletics George "Doc" Jacobs since 2013-14. Day two is Sunday, when the Purple and Gold opposes Georgian Court at 3 p.m., after Assumption plays Wilmington at 1 p.m.
- Saint Michael's (1-0), Wilmington (0-1)
SAINT MICHAEL'S LEADERS
- Brown, 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
- Senior Patrick Gardner (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun/Nassau CC), 16 points, 14 rebounds, 5 offensive rebounds, 2 blocks, 6-for-12 field goals
- Senior Jason Heter (Andover, N.J./Newton), 14 points, 13 rebounds, 5 offensive rebounds, 6-for-13 field goals
- First-year Chuma Oyigbo (Stoughton, Mass./Redemption Christian [N.Y.] Academy), 14 points
- Senior Jontai Williams (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes), 8 rebounds, 3 assists
- Redshirt senior Kameron Cooper, 18 points, 4 steals, 7-for-9 field goals, 4-for-5 three-pointers
- Junior Randy Rickards, 10 points, 2 blocks
- Junior Jordan Harding, 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
- Six Purple Knights made their team debuts, including five who saw their first college action.
- Saint Michael's held a 54-37 rebounding advantage while outshooting the Wildcats, 40.3%-34.7%.
- The Purple and Gold is now 2-0 all-time against Wilmington, having last met on Dec. 21, 2014.
- This is the 36th iteration of the Doc Jacobs tournament since it debuted in 1975-76.
- Heter posted a career high in rebounds while notching his first collegiate double-double.
- Gardner last appeared in 2019-20 at Nassau Community College, where he was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-America pick and scored 1,055 points in 68 career games.
- Wilmington took an early 5-2 lead at 16:36 of the first half on first-year Jordan Jackson's jumper before the Purple Knight scored the next 10 points, including the first four by Heter.
- The visitors trimmed the deficit to 16-15 on Rickards' lay-up at 9:18, but Gardner buried a three 55 seconds later, and Oyigbo had four points in what became a 12-2 run. Brown's jumper later pushed the lead to 35-22 with 2:19 remaining, and first-year CJ Crews' (Tampa, Fla./Bayshore Christian School) bucket with 46 seconds to go had the hosts up 37-27 at halftime.
- Wilmington rallied within 44-43 on graduate student Danny Walsh's three at 15:22 of the second half, capping a 13-4 spurt that took 3:33 to elapse, before Saint Michael's netted nine straight points in a matter of 1:37, with five straight points from Brown extending the lead back to 10.
- The Wildcats slowly chipped away, ultimately tying the game at 59 on sophomore Caleb Matthews' lay-in with 7:42 left and at 61 apiece on Cooper's jumper at 5:29.
- Brown responded with a go-ahead lay-up 17 seconds later as part of five straight points, and Oyigbo's triple finished off an 8-0 run with 2:18 remaining. Wilmington never got closer than six points from there.
NEXT SAINT MICHAEL'S GAME
- Sunday vs. Georgian Court, 3 p.m.