Men’s Hoops: St. Mike’s Edges Assumption in OT 82-81

Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information

WORCESTER, MA. — Senior Levi Holmes III’s (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep) fall-away in the lane with 4.3 seconds left in overtime put the Saint Michael’s College men’s basketball ahead for good in an 82-81 victory over regionally-ranked Assumption College on Wednesday evening in Laska Gymnasium during Northeast-10 Conference play. The Purple Knights trailed by as many as 12 points during the second half against the Greyhounds, who were unable to get a shot off before the buzzer and were 10th in this week’s D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.

· Saint Michael’s (3-3, 1-3 NE10), Assumption (4-3, 0-2 NE10)

· Senior Derek Cheatom (Buffalo, N.Y./The Park School of Buffalo), 22 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, 6-for-7 free throws
· Junior Eli DiGrande (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex), 17 points, 14 rebounds (career high), 2 steals, 7-for-11 field goals
· Senior Levi Holmes III (East Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers Prep), 17 points, 10 rebounds
· Junior Jordan Guzman (Staten Island, N.Y./Xaverian), 17 points (tied career high), 6 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 assists, 2 steals, 5-for-8 field goals

· First-year Cal Connelly, 20 points
· Sophomore Matthew Kelly, 15 points
· First-year Michael Speight, 14 points

· This contest marked the ninth straight between the teams decided by 10 points or less, with Saint Michael’s now 8-3 in the last 11 meetings.
· This was the fourth time in the last seven meetings at Assumption that the teams went to overtime.
· The Purple Knights are 3-0 in Laska Gymnasium and 0-3 elsewhere this year, having swept their two games during the Assumption Tip-Off Classic.
· Saint Michael’s held a 43-29 rebounding advantage, including 15-5 on the offensive glass. The visitors shot 18-of-20 on free throws and held Assumption to 6-for-24 (25.0%) three-point shooting.
· Tonight’s game was the beginning of a five-game run during which each of the Purple Knights’ opponents is either regionally ranked or receiving votes toward this week’s D2SIDA East Region Media Poll.
· Holmes increased his career point total to 1,435, passing 1967 NBA Draft selection Dick Falkenbush ’67 (1,431) and James Sorrentine ’08 (1,433) to take over 16th in program history.
· DiGrande’s jumper made it 14-9 at 15:12 of the first half before Speight scored five points in an 11-2 run that put Assumption ahead.
· Cheatom’s jumper tied the teams at 20, but four Greyhounds scored in a 9-0 response by 6:12, and the hosts carried a 35-27 edge into halftime.
· Four points by redshirt junior Damien Rance keyed a 6-0 Assumption run that gave the hosts a 43-31 advantage at 17:06 of the second half, with the 12-point margin their largest of the game.
· Saint Michael’s came no closer than four until Cheatom’s three-pointer cut the deficit to 59-56 with 7:58 left in regulation. Guzman’s triple made it 64-62 at 6:39, but Assumption led 70-65 on two Connelly freebies with 4:13 remaining.
· The next seven points came from Purple Knights, with DiGrande’s triple creating a 72-70 lead at 3:06.
· Connelly’s lay-in tied the game 32 seconds later, and elly’s jumper at 1:34 put the Greyhounds back in front.
· Assumption missed the front end of a one-and-one at 47.0 ticks with a chance to gain a four-point edge, with Holmes pulling the board.
· Holmes knotted the score at 74 by canning two free throws at 30.5 seconds, and each team missed a go-ahead shot in the final four seconds.
· Saint Michael’s scored the first four points of overtime, with DiGrande’s baseline drive and dunk creating a 78-74 cushion at 4:05.
· Assumption countered with the next seven points, as Kelly knocked down a go-ahead triple with 1:13 left.
· The hosts possessed with a chance to salt away time, but Holmes picked up an errant pass in the paint and drove the length of the court of a lay-in at 25.7 seconds, cutting the deficit to 81-80.
· On the very next possession, the Greyhounds again gave the ball away in the frontcourt, with sophomore Alvi Rodriguez (Madrid, Spain/La Salle Maravillas) being credited with the steal.
· Saint Michael’s had an initial shot blocked out of bounds in the final 10 seconds, but on the second attempt, Holmes took the inbound pass in the right corner, dribbled central and hit a one-legged fall-away jumper from the foul line with 4.3 seconds to go.
· Assumption passed to midcourt and called a timeout before running off one last play, but a final shot from the corner – which went in – was not released prior to the final horn sounding.

· Saturday at regionally-ranked Bentley University, 3:30 p.m.
· The Falcons are second in this week’s regional rankings.