February 27, 2016



Willimantic, Conn.-Rhode Island College freshman guard Jimmy Fritzson (Sharon, MA) scored a team-high 16 points as the seventh-seeded men’s basketball team fell to No. 3-seeded Keene State, 66-59, in the semifinals of the 2016 Little East Conference Tournament hosted at Eastern Connecticut on Saturday night.


The Anchormen finish the season with a 6-20 record, while the Owls (16-10) head back to the championship game for the second consecutive season where they will face No. 5-seeded UMass Dartmouth on Sunday (2 p.m.).


The Anchormen jumped out the of gate quickly, with a three-pointer by Fritzson and a layup from sophomore guard Roosevelt Shider (Meriden, CT) put the Anchormen up, 18-6, with just over 14 minutes left in the first half. The Anchormen continued their offensive outburst, with a pair of free throws by sophomore guard Malcolm Smith (Old Orchard Beach, ME) with 10:14 remaining  put RIC up 25-8.



 Sophomore guard Chris Green


 The Owls rallied furiously, with a pair of free throws by junior guard Matt Ozzella (Medway, MA) cutting the deficit down to just two, 27-25, with 2:30 remaining in the half. The Anchormen were able to extend their lead back to six, but a late layup from Keene senior guard Nate Stitchell (Coventry, RI) sent the game into the break with RIC up by just four, 31-27.


The Anchormen shot 41.4 percent (12-for-29) from the field, while the Owls shot 39.1 percent (9-for-23) in the half.


The Owls started the second half on an 18-0 run over the first 6:28, capped by a trey from senior guard Tre’ Tipton (Stamford, CT), to take a 45-31 lead. A Smith jumper with 10:06 left in the game cut the deficit down to seven, 45-38, but the Owls responded, with an Ozzella trifecta putting Keene up by 10, 55-45, with 6:47 left in the game. The Anchormen were able to trim the Keene lead down to three, 55-52, following a three from sophomore guard Chris Green (Taunton, MA) with 3:53 remaining in the contest, but the Owls were able to hit clutch free throws down the stretch to advance to the tourney final.


RIC shot 39.3 percent (22-for-56) from the field, 26.9 percent (7-for-26) from three-point range and 66.7 percent (8-for-12) from the free throw line. Fritzson scored a team-high 16 points with Green scoring 13 points and dishing out five assists. Smith scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench.


KSC shot 47.9 percent (23-for-48) from the field, 52.4 percent (11-for-21) from long range and 52.9 percent (9-for-17) from the charity stripe. Ozzella scored a game-high 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Stitchell scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds with Tipton chipping in with 10 points.