Men’s College Basketball


Phillips’s Three Sinks Anchormen, 67-66


            GORHAM, Maine – Sophomore guard Walter Phillips (Portland, Maine/Bridgton Academy) drained a three-pointer from the left wing as the shot-clock expired to lift the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a thrilling 67-66 win over the Rhode Island College Anchormen in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game, Tuesday at Warren G. Hill Gymnasium on the Gorham campus.


            With their fourth consecutive win, the Huskies move to 3-1 in the LEC and improve their overall record to 9-5.  The loss snaps Rhode Island’s two-game win streak and drops their overall record to 7-5 and evens out their conference mark at 2-2.


            Phillips knocked down his third three-pointer of the game with five seconds remaining on the clock and then came up with a decisive steal as the Anchormen tried to get the ball passed half court on their ensuing in-bounds play.


            Phillips was one of three USM players to score in double-figures finishing with 13 points, six assists and two steals.  Matching Phillips in the scoring column was senior forward Bill Hardwick (Boothbay, Maine/Boothbay Region).  Hardwick connected on 5-of-9 attempts from the floor and added seven rebounds, two assists and three steals.  Sophomore Josh Daniels (Everett, Wash./Maine Central Institute) tossed in 11 points and grabbed six rebounds while making himself a pest defensively with a team-high four steals. 


            Freshman guard Cameron Stewart (Newport, Rhode Island/Rogers) led the Anchormen with 13 points on a 4-for-5 shooting effort from the field, while freshman forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, Conn./Hillhouse) added 12 points, seven rebounds and four steals.  Senior guard Kevin Payette (Woonsocket, R.I./Woonsocket) led Rhode Island on the boards grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with five points, six assists and three steals in a solid effort.


            Rhode Island rallied from a nine-point deficit early in the second half to bring the game to a back and forth battle between the two schools.  The Anchormen opened the half with a 10-2 run in the opening four minutes to take a 47-46 lead with 16:17 to play.


            Johnson ripped off five straight points for the Anchormen to open the half on a pair of lay-ups and a free throw, before Stewart knocked down a three and sophomore guard Davon Yarbrough (New Haven, Conn./Hyde) added a lay-up to put RIC ahead.  Yarbrough finished the game with nine points.


            Both teams played each other closely over the next four minutes as neither team had more than a two-point advantage until the Huskies used an 8-0 run to take a seven-point lead.  Trailing by a point, 52-51 with following a Payette lay-up with 12:45 to play, Southern Maine ran off eight straight points, including five straight by Phillips, to go ahead 59-52 with 9:49 on the clock. 


Rhode Island answered right back, outscoring the Huskies 14-4 over the next eight minutes to take a three-point lead, 66-63.  Stewart netted seven of his team-high 13 points while junior guard Kinsey Durgin (Greenwood, Maine/Telstar) scored added five points in the run for the Anchormen.


The Huskies cut the Anchormen advantage to two points, 66-64 after Hardwick sank the first of two free throws after grabbing a steal and being intentionally fouled.   With the ball in their possession, the Huskies were able to run down the clock after senior forward Jesse McKinnell (Manomet, Mass./Scituate) grabbed an offensive board off of a Daniels three-point miss to set up the Phillips’ heroics.


Southern Maine survived shooting just 39.3 percent (24-of-63) from the field, including an ice-cold 29.2 percent second half (7-of-24).  Rhode Island ended the game shooting a solid 41.7 percent from the floor (25-for-60). 


The Huskies returns to action on the road, Saturday (Jan. 14) at Keene State College for a 3 p.m. game.  Rhode Island plays again Thursday (Jan. 12) at M.I.T for a 7 p.m. non-conference match-up.