Men's Basketball Drops NE10 Opener to Regionally-Ranked Stonehill, 72-69

Men's Basketball Drops NE10 Opener to Regionally-Ranked Stonehill, 72-69

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's basketball team trimmed a 10-point deficit with four minutes remaining to one point in the waning seconds before losing to regionally-ranked Stonehill College, 72-69, on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Ross Sports Center. The Skyhawks are 10th in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll, as each team opened its league slate.

RECORDS

  • Saint Michael's (2-1, 0-1 NE10), Stonehill (3-1, 1-0 NE10)

SAINT MICHAEL'S LEADERS

  • Senior Patrick Gardner (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun/Nassau CC), 23 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks, 7-for-12 field goals, 8-for-8 free throws
  • Junior Kasai Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y./Millbrook School), 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 9-for-13 free throws
  • First-year Nahshon Battle (Scotch Plains, N.J./Woodstock Academy), 9 points, 4 rebounds, 4-for-8 field goals
  • Senior Jontai Williams (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes), 7 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds

OPPONENT LEADERS

  • Senior Isaiah Burnett, 20 points, 3 assists, 8-for-15 field goals, 3-for-5 three-pointers
  • Sophomore Jackson Benigni, 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 7-for-9 free throws
  • Senior Andrew Sims, 12 points, 7 rebounds
  • Fifth-year student Owen Chose, 10 points, 3 assists

GAME FACTS

  • Both teams grabbed 33 rebounds, while Saint Michael's shot 25-for-31 on free throws to Stonehill's 14-for-21 showing. The Purple Knights had a 20-10 lead in transition points while also blocking eight shots, their most since also rejecting eight shots on Feb. 17, 2018, versus Saint Anselm College.
  • Gardner became the first Purple Knight to block five shots since Morrell Gaskins '16 on Dec. 2, 2015, versus former NE10 mate Merrimack College.

THE ACTION

  • Gardner had four free throws as Saint Michael's forged an 8-3 lead by the 16-minute mark of the first half, but Stonehill responded with a 24-5 run, keyed by all 10 of Chose's points. The visitors led 27-13 on senior Myles Hanson's three-pointer at 8:12.
  • A 10-2 run, highlighted by a Gardner three and seven Purple Knight free throws, made it 29-23 by 5:16.
  • Stonehill pushed its lead back to 10 at 4:24, but the hosts used another 10-2 run to trail 35-33 with 36 seconds to go. Brown knocked down six freebies and Gardner added the other four points. Burnett buried a trey just before the buzzer, and the Skyhawks held a 38-33 lead at halftime.
  • An 8-1 spurt early in the second half gave the Purple and Gold a 43-40 lead by 16:24, as first-year CJ Crews (Tampa, Fla./Bayshore Christian School) hit a tying three - snapping a run of 14 straight points scored by Brown or Gardner - and Williams added the next three points to put his team in front.
  • Chose buried a tying three at 14:37 before Sims had a pair of go-ahead baskets, with Stonehill eventually pushing its lead to 63-53 on a Benigni triple with 5:48 to go.
  • The Purple Knights were still down 67-58 with a little more than three minutes to go before staging a 9-1 rally to come within 68-67 on Gardner's lay-in with 16 seconds to go. Brown had five of the points, and Battle added a driving lay-up.
  • Benigni's two free throws at 13 ticks reestablished the three-point lead, and Stonehill fouled Williams - who sank two freebies at nine seconds - instead of allowing Saint Michael's to potentially take a tying three-point try.
  • Two more Benigni free throws at seven seconds made it 72-69, and a long three-point look at the buzzer was offline for the hosts.

NEXT SAINT MICHAEL'S GAME

  • Friday and Saturday at Gannon (Pa.) University's Gary Miller Classic.
  • The Purple Knights' opener is on Friday against Concord (W.Va.) University, 5:30 p.m.