College Hoops: St. Mike’s Men and Women Split at Bentley

Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information

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WALTHAM, MA. — Redshirt junior Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School) scored his team’s final 14 points and made two key defensive plays in the final minute to lift the Saint Michael’s College men’s basketball team past regionally-ranked Bentley University, 74-71, on Saturday during Northeast-10 Conference play in the Dana Center. The Falcons were eighth in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

· Saint Michael’s (7-14, 4-10 NE10), Bentley (16-8, 8-7 NE10)

· Redshirt junior Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School), 23 points (career high), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 10-for-10 field goals
· Senior Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian), 18 points, 3 assists, 7-for-13 field goals
· First-year Kasai Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y./Millbrook School), 12 points, 5 rebounds
· Senior Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex), 9 points, 7 rebounds, 4-for-7 field goals
· Sophomore Jontai Williams (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes), 8 points, 2 steals, 3-for-5 field goals

· Senior Chris Hudson, 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks
· Junior Jordan Mello-Klein, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4-for-6 three-pointers
· Sophomore Mason Webb, 13 points

· Bentley was eighth in this week’s D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.
· The Purple Knights moved to 4-3 in their last seven games, with this the second win over a regionally-ranked squad in that time, while a third had been ranked as recently as last month.
· The Purple Knights are 2.5 games out of the fifth and final postseason berth in the NE10 Northeast Division with five games remaining.
· The Purple Knights had last played last Saturday.
· At 6-6 away from home, the Purple and Gold has its most road wins since 2014-15.
· Saint Michael’s had last won against Bentley on Dec. 7, 2016, in similar close fashion, taking a 77-76 decision in the Dana Center.
· The Purple Knights outshot the Falcons, 56.4 percent to 44.6 percent, while committing 14 turnovers to the hosts’ 15. Despite the narrow margin in the latter category, Saint Michael’s claimed a 21-11 lead in points off of giveaways.
· Jackson scored 18 of the Purple Knights’ final 21 points over the closing 11:32 of the game.
· After just two Saint Michael’s players went 10-for-10 in a game over more than 2,000 games in the first more than 100 seasons – Jerry Mizerak ’83 (12/19/81) and Tyler Schilling ’12 (12/28/09) – Jackson became the second Purple Knight in just three games to turn the feat, with DiGrande also doing so on Jan. 29 against another regionally-ranked outfit, Adelphi University, also in a victory. Jackson is the 16th player in NCAA men’s basketball this season to go at least 10-for-10, and the seventh in Division II, while he and DiGrande are the first teammates in the country – at any division – to both post such a line during the same season since at least 2010-11, when the NCAA database began tracking such feats.

· DiGrande buried a three to spark a 7-2 start just 2:35 into play, and the Purple and Gold ultimately led 18-10 on Guzman’s lay-in at 11:24 of the opening half.
· Three different Falcons hit threes during a tying 14-6 stretch, with Mello-Klein scoring eight points, but Jackson responded with a triple at 6:32 to put the visitors up, 27-24, and into the lead for the remainder of the half. Guzman knocked down a trey in the final 10 seconds to keep Saint Michael’s ahead 44-37 at intermission.
· Bentley started the second half on a 9-0 run, forging ahead on sophomore Brian Wright-Kinsey’s three-pointer to account for the first of five lead swings in a matter of 3:06.
· First-year Isaac Martin hit a long-range shot to provide the Falcons a 60-58 edge with 8:22 to go, but Brown’s jumper 33 seconds later knotted the teams and led to Jackson’s closing performance.
· Webb’s jumper with 5:49 left pushed the Bentley lead to 64-60 before Jackson netted consecutive buckets to tie the game, only to see Mello-Klein drain a three and Webb knock down a jumper to make it 69-64 at 4:02.
· A Jackson jumper was countered by two Webb freebies, keeping the teams separated by five points, before Jackson buried a straightaway triple at 1:50.
· Guzman knocked a Bentley pass into the arms of Williams with less than 90 seconds to go, and Jackson came out of a timeout by driving for the tying lay-up at 1:03.
· With 45 ticks to go, Jackson provided pressure and forced a Falcon turnover on the baseline before converting another driving lay-in at 30.6 seconds, giving Saint Michael’s a 73-71 edge.
· At the other end, DiGrande played tight defense on a driving Webb in the closing seconds before Jackson came over to block a potential game-tying jumper, and DiGrande saved the ball from out of bounds to Williams, who was fouled at 4.3 seconds.
· Saint Michael’s maintained the two-point edge with Bentley inbounding from under its own hoop with 2.3 seconds to go, but a pass to midcourt was knocked away by Brown off of a Falcon. The ensuing Purple Knight inbounds pass went to Jackson, who was fouled and made his first free throw at 0.3 seconds before a miss was rebounded by Hudson, who had no time to launch a tying desperation full-court attempt at the buzzer.

· Tuesday at Assumption College, 7:30 p.m.

WALTHAM, MA. — The Saint Michael’s College women’s basketball team was within single digits of regionally-ranked Bentley University until late in the third quarter during an eventual 78-55 loss on Saturday in Northeast-10 Conference play at the Dana Center. The Falcons tied for fourth in this week’s D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

· Saint Michael’s (8-12, 2-12 NE10), Bentley (16-6, 11-3 NE10)

· Senior Taylor Miller (Falmouth, Mass./Falmouth), 19 points (tied career high), 8 rebounds, 4 offensive rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 7-for-8 free throws
· Junior Nicole Anderson (Kittery Point, Maine/Marianapolis Prep), 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4-for-5 free throws
· Senior Alyssa Breunig (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull), 5 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists, 5-for-6 free throws
· Sophomore Nicole Ladas (Glastonbury, Conn./Tilton School), 6 points, 5 rebounds
· First-year Kyara Triblet (Niskayuna, N.Y./Colonie Central), 6 points, 3-for-5 field goals
· Sophomore Emma MacDonough (South Burlington, Vt./South Burlington), 3 assists

· First-year Ella Thompson, 15 points, 5 assists, 3-for-5 three-pointers
· Sophomore Kolleen Bouchard, 13 points, 3 assists, 6-for-6 field goals
· Junior Erin Nolan, 11 points, 7 rebounds
· Sophomore Kari Brekke, 10 points, 8 assists

· Bentley was tied for fourth in this week’s D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.
· The Purple Knights had last played last Saturday.
· Miller tied Amy Pitchers ’08 for sixth in program history in career blocks (109).
· Anderson matched Anne Marie McLoughlin ’91 for 10th in school annals in three-pointers during a season (56).
· Saint Michael’s committed only 13 turnovers while forcing Bentley into 18 thanks to 11 steals. The visitors shot 18-for-21 on free throws, while the Falcons were 12-for-16.

· Thompson buried a three-pointer 25 seconds into the game for the first points, but Ladas and Miller converted back-to-back buckets, with Miller finishing a three-point play to make it 5-3, and Anderson’s basket-and-one provided the visitors an 8-5 edge at 5:35 of the opening period.
· Junior Katie Meriggioli scored the next five points, but three straight Miller points gave the Purple Knights an 11-10 lead with 1:15 left.
· From the time they trailed 8-5 to leading 21-11 at 9:05 of the second period when senior Julia Ford drained a three, the Falcons put together a 16-3 run to forge in front for good.
· Saint Michael’s twice drew within eight points, including being down 23-15 on two Breunig freebies at 5:50, but Bentley closed out the half with a 9-2 run, as the first seven points came on free throws. Two Miller free throws accounted for the Purple Knight points. Bentley led 32-17 at halftime.
· After scoring 17 points in the opening 20 minutes, the Purple Knights held a 25-22 scoring edge in the third stanza, shooting 57.1 percent to creep within single digits.
· The visitors fell behind by 17 to begin the third quarter, but Anderson’s personal 7-0 run trimmed the deficit to 34-24, and Miller found Ladas for a lay-in that created a 35-26 margin with 7:51 to go.
· However, four different Falcons scored during an 11-3 counter, and Bouchard’s three-point play pushed the lead back to 17 at 46-29.
· An 8-0 Purple Knight spurt featured points from four different players, with MacDonough’s put-back making it 50-41 with 2:18 left.
· Bentley slowly pulled away on the strength of a 24-8 run that carried into the fourth quarter.

· Tuesday at Assumption College, 5:30 p.m.