Men’s Hoops: Purple Knights Bow to Lemoyne 85-80

Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information

COLCHESTER — The Saint Michael’s College men’s basketball team put a scare into regional power Le Moyne College before a comeback bid fell short during an 85-80 loss on Wednesday in the Ross Sports Center. The Dolphins, who are first in the Northeast-10 Conference Southwest Division, qualified for the last three NCAA Tournaments and are ranked fifth in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

· Saint Michael’s (4-13, 1-9 NE10), Le Moyne (13-5, 9-1 NE10)

· Senior Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian), 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 8-for-8 free throws, 3-for-6 three-pointers
· First-year Kasai Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y./Millbrook School), 19 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 5-for-6 free throws
· Senior Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex), 13 points, 6 rebounds, 5-for-7 field goals
· Junior Alvi Rodriguez (Madrid, Spain/La Salle Maravillas), 8 points (career high), 3-for-6 field goals
· Junior Jason Heter (Andover, N.J./Newton), 6 points, 4 rebounds
· Junior Walker Storey (Shelburne, Vt./Champlain Valley Union), 5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
· Redshirt junior Thomas Jackson III (Middletown, Conn./Holderness School), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 offensive rebounds

· Redshirt senior Malik Garner, 19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists
· Senior Ryan Roland, 17 points, 7 assists, 4 steals
· Senior Tom Brown, 17 points, 9 rebounds
· Sophomore Nino Hernandez, 14 points

· The Dolphins, who qualified for the past three NCAA Tournaments, are fifth in the latest D2SIDA East Region Media Poll. Le Moyne is also first in the Northeast-10 Conference Southwest Division.
· Saint Michael’s has lost seven contests by 10 points or fewer, including five by five points or less. Ten of the Purple Knights’ 17 games have been decided by 10 points or less.
· Four of the past five Le Moyne victories in contests between the teams have been determined by six points or less.
· The Purple Knights held a 45-33 rebounding advantage against a Le Moyne team that entered the day 17th in Division II in rebounding (41.2) while standing third in the NCAA East Region in both rebounding and rebounding margin (+5.4).
· Saint Michael’s shot 47.4 percent to Le Moyne’s 39.7 percent, making the same number of field goals (27) on 11 fewer attempts.

· DiGrande scored the game’s first six points, and Guzman’s lay-up at 16:47 of the opening half had the hosts ahead 10-3.
· An 8-2 Le Moyne run, capped by senior Zay Jennings’ three, tied the teams at 14 with 13:14 left, but Rodriguez hit a three 23 seconds later to put the Purple Knights in front.
· Saint Michael’s led by as many as six points (24-18) on DiGrande’s freebie at 8:41 before junior Tim Leavell buried a three to halve the deficit, but the hosts countered with a 19-5 run. Brown scored nine of the points, including draining the second of back-to-back triples to extend the lead to 43-26 with 1:01 remaining.
· The Purple Knights still led 48-33 following Guzman’s lay-up at 16:32 of the second half before Le Moyne put together a 13-4 run, chipping the deficit to 52-46 on Garner’s three at 13:07.
· After the Purple and Gold went back up by as many as 11 points, on Guzman’s three at 12:11, Hernandez scored five points in a 7-0 run to make it 59-56 with 9:23 to go.
· DiGrande later put home back-to-back hoops before Storey knocked down a mid-range jumper to cap a 6-0 spurt and give the hosts a 69-59 lead with 6:26 remaining.
· The Dolphins scored the next 18 points, with Brown (5), Garner (5) and Roland (8) sharing the load. Roland’s two free throws at 2:52 gave the visitors the final lead, and Brown’s straightaway three at 50.1 ticks created a 77-69 cushion.
· Thanks to two fouls, including a technical, Guzman buried four straight free throws at 42.7 seconds, and Storey countered two Jennings freebies with a three from the top of the arc at 32.2 ticks to make it 79-76.
· Both teams scored two points on the ensuing four possessions, as Saint Michael’s never came closer than 83-80, with Guzman hitting a baseline jumper at 2.9 seconds. Roland iced the five-point win with two free throws at 1.3 seconds. The teams combined to hit all 14 free throw tries over the final 42.7 seconds.

· Saturday vs. Pace University, 3:30 p.m.