February 29, 2008


Rhode Island College Menís Basketball Score Report

North Dartmouth, MA


The 2008 Little East Conference Menís Basketball Tournament
Semifinal Game






#3 Keene State (16-11)

#2 Rhode Island College (21-6)






Anchormen Hold Off Owls, 68-63

            North Dartmouth, MAóFour free throws by junior guard Tirrell Hill (Bronx, NY) in the final seconds helped second-seeded Rhode Island College advance to the Championship Game of the 2008 Little East Conference Menís Basketball Tournament in a 68-63 win over third-seeded Keene State in semifinal action on Friday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center. The Anchormen will face the winner of fourth-seeded Southern Maine and top-seed and tourney host UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, Mar. 1 at 5 p.m. at UMD.



 Junior Guard Tirrell Hill


RIC has won the last five meetings with Keene State, which includes both regular season meetings this winter, as well as wins in the NCAA and LEC Tournament a year ago. It will be the second consecutive year the Anchormen have advanced to the leagueís title contest. Rhode Island College is 7-3 vs. KSC since the start of the 2005-06 campaign.


Hill led the Anchormen with a game-high 22 points, while classmate backcourt mate Cameron Stewart (Newport, RI) netted 13. Hill, who stroked a game-high four three-pointers, added four boards and four steals. Freshman forward Darius Debnam (Mattapan, MA) contributed nine points, five boards, to go along with one assist, a steal and a block in 13 minutes off the bench. Hill and Stewart combined for seven of the Anchormenís nine three-pointers.


The Anchormen took an early, 8-3, lead on a junior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, MA) layup, which was followed by back-to-back Hill three-pointers. The Owls battled back to tie the game, 17-17, but Hill answered right back with two buckets to put RIC on top, 21-20.


RIC held a slight advantage in the final minutes of the first stanza, but KSC senior guard Anthony Licitra (Glastonbury, CT) nailed a three and junior forward Tyler Kathan (Ludlow, VT) scored four of the final six points of the half to send both clubís into the locker room knotted up, 31-31.


Hill led all scorers with 10 first-half points, while classmate forward Zerimar Ramirez (Pawtucket, RI) grabbed six rebounds. The Anchormen shot 36.1 percent (13-for-26) from the field and struggled from downtown (2-for-12) at 17 percent. Kathan and senior forward Nick Drouin (Weare, NH) scored eight points apiece to lead the Owls, who shot 43 percent (12-for-28) from the field and 50 percent (4-for-8) from downtown.


Keene State took a three-point advantage, 34-31, to begin the second half, but RIC junior center Wil Lyons (Warwick, RI) converted a layup and Stewart stroked two three-pointers and made a layup after a steal to give the Anchormen a seven-point, 41-34, lead. RIC had missed its previous 10 three-point attempts prior to Stewartís makes.


Two Kathan three-pointers helped tie the game, 46-46, with under 11 minutes remaining, but Hill helped Rhode Island College regain the lead, 49-46, with a trey on the ensuing possession. Two KSC junior forward Nate Anderson (Westminister, MA) free throws pulled the Owls within one, but once again RIC answered back, 52-48, with a three, nailed by Hill with less than eight minutes on the clock. Debnam hit a turnaround from the block, then a triple from the corner, to keep RIC up by five, 57-52.


A wide-open Bailey three-pointer from the corner extended RICís lead to six, 60-54, and freshman guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) nailed two free throws, 62-56, with just over two left minutes on the clock. Kathan stroked a three-pointer with 1:10 left to cut the RIC lead to one, 62-61.


Two Hill free throws extended the lead, 64-61, but freshman guard Tavon Brantley (Bridgeport, CT) answered back with two from the charity stripe, 64-63, with 29 seconds left before Hill was fouled twice and sent to the line to effectively end the contest.


Kathan led KSC with 19 points and six boards, while Drouin chipped in with 10.


RIC finished the game shooting 35 percent (24-for-68) from the field and the same from downtown (9-for-26). The Anchormen recorded a 50 percent (7-for-14) three-point shooting performance in the second half, while holding a four-rebound, 43-39, advantage.