February 23, 2008


Rhode Island College Menís Basketball Score Report

Willimantic, Conn.






Rhode Island College (19-6, 11-3)

Eastern Connecticut (13-12, 6-8)






Anchormen Edged at Eastern Connecticut
RIC Earns No. 2 Seed in Little East Conference Tournament

            WILLIMANTIC, Conn.óSenior forward Leon Martin (Woodbury, Conn.) hit a pair of free throws with 28 seconds remaining in regulation to break a 77-all tie, leading Eastern Connecticut to a 79-77 victory over Rhode Island College this afternoon in Little East Conference menís basketball action at Geissler Gymnasium.


The Anchormen (19-6, 11-3) had a chance to win the contest or force overtime with their final possession. After a pair of Warrior (13-12, 6-8) fouls, Rhode Island College missed a layup and the hosts gathered the defensive rebound to snap the visitorsí four-game winning streak.


The Anchormen had an opportunity to clinch the top seed and homecourt advantage throughout the Little East Conference Tournament with a win this afternoon. Rhode Island College's loss coupled with UMass Dartmouthís victory gives the Anchormen the second seed in the upcoming conference tournament fray. Rhode Island College will host Plymouth State University at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at The Murray Center.


Sophomore forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, Conn.) converted on a layup just over five minutes into the contest to give Rhode Island College its first advantage. The Anchormen ballooned its lead up to 11 points on three occasions, entering the intermission with an eight-point advantage (43-35).


Eastern Connecticut opened the second stanza with a 13-5 run to erase its halftime deficit. Junior guard Larry Kelly (New Haven, Conn.) keyed the surge with seven points. Unfazed by the hostís run, Rhode Island College answered back with the next six points to regain its lead (54-51) with 13 minutes, 14 seconds remaining.


The Anchormen continued to apply the offensive pressure, using a 18-10 run to build their advantage to 11 points with just six and a half minutes left on the clock.


Freshman guard Courtney Simmons (Middletown, Conn.) and sophomore guard Edwin Ortiz (Hartford, Conn.) combined for the next 15 unanswered points to give the Warriors a three-point lead with two minutes remaining in regulation. Simmons scored nine points of his 18 points during the stretch.  


Rhode Island College junior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, Mass.) halted the run with a three-pointer, but Martinís free-throws 90 seconds later proved to be the difference. Bailey finished the game with 11 points.


Johnson led five student-athletes in double figures in scoring with 12 points, while junior center Wil Lyons (Warwick, R.I.) and guard Cameron Stewart (Newport, R.I.) joined Bailey with 11 points each. Freshman guard Anthony Fortes (East Providence, R.I.) also reached double digits with 10 points, while classmate Antone Gray (Providence, R.I.) handed out a team-high five assists.


Ortiz and Kelley each scored 20 points and combined for all 10 Warriors three-pointers. All five starters for Eastern Connecticut reached double digits in scoring.