FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

 

February 17, 2009

 

 

 

RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE CLINCHES THIRD LITTLE EAST REGULAR
SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP

Anchormen Win 11th Straight in, 70-68, Win at WestConn

 

Danbury, CT—Freshman forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) made two free throws with 5.8 seconds left to help No. 18 Rhode Island College clinch at least a share of the 2009 Little East Conference Men’s Basketball Regular Season Championship in a 70-68 win over Western Connecticut on Tuesday night at Feldman Arena. It is the third LEC regular season title for the program in the past five years.

 

 

 

The Anchormen win their 11th straight game and raise their record to 20-4 overall and 12-1 in the Little East Conference. RIC can clinch the outright LEC regular season crown with a win in its season finale on Saturday afternoon against Eastern Connecticut and cannot finish any lower than a first place tie. Rhode Island College will have the home court advantage throughout the upcoming Little East Conference Tournament, which begins on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

 

 

 

The Anchormen reach the 20-win plateau for the third straight season and for the fourth time in the past five years.

 

 

 

 

 

 Freshman Forward Mason Choice (photo by autumnstudios.com)

 

 

 

The Colonials (13-10, 6-7) took an early, 5-0, lead on two Daquan Brooks layups and a Marcus Mann free throw. WestConn built a seven-point advantage, 14-7, 15:52, and again, 17-10, at 15:30 on Leroy Mayers’ layups.

 

 

 

The visitors went on a 12-4 run to take a one-point lead, 22-21, at 10:07 on a sophomore guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) jump shot. Choice made a layup and senior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, MA) followed with a jumper to give RIC a 27-21 lead at 6:57.

 

 

 

The Colonials chipped away at the deficit to pull within one point, 31-30, on two Dashon Jennings’ free throws at 2:37, then the tied the contest, 33-all, on a Jennings three-pointer at 1:26. RIC senior center Wil Lyons (Warwick, RI) connected on two from the charity stripe to send the visitors into the locker room up by two, 35-33, at the half.

 

 

 

Jennings tied the game, 37-37, with a layup 49 seconds into the final stanza, only to see RIC run off eight straight, keyed by two Bailey buckets. The Anchormen built a game-high eight point lead, 55-47, capped by a freshman guard Rob Bentil (West Hartford, CT) free throw with 12:15 remaining.

 

 

 

The Colonials would not go away, going on an 8-1 run, led by five Jennings points, and David Addy pulled the hosts within one, 56-55, at 8:59. Choice followed with a three-point play, converting a free throw after being fouled while making a layup, then senior guard Cameron Stewart (Newport, RI) drained a triple to RIC up by seven, 62-55.

 

 

 

WestConn regained momentum with a 7-1 run, paced by five Brooks’ points, which culminated in the Colonials taking a one-point lead, 64-63, at 3:26 on a Brooks free throw.

 

 

 

Individual free throws by RIC seniors Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, CT) and Tirrell Hill (Bronx, NY) gave the Anchormen a two-point cushion, 65-63, at 2:36, only to see Brooks tie the contest 24 seconds later with a pair from the charity stripe.

 

 

 

Jennings gave WestConn its final lead, 68-67, with a trey at 1:37, but Choice tied the game with a free throw 34 seconds later.

 

 

 

Jennings missed a three with 41 seconds left, which allowed RIC to hold for the last shot. The Anchormen waited until there were 15 seconds left to play before dumping the ball into Choice, who was fouled, to then give RIC the win.

 

 

 

The rookie led the Anchormen with 14 points, while Stewart was perfect from the field (4-for-4) with three triples, for an 11-point effort. Bailey logged 10 points, while Lyons grabbed a game-high eight boards.

 

 

 

Jennings led all scorers with 21 points, while Brooks and Mayers finished with 15 and 13, respectively.

 

 

 

It will be Senior Day on Saturday afternoon, as Bailey, Hill, Johnson, Lyons and Stewart, along with their families, will be honored prior to the start.

 

 

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