February 3, 2009





Bailey Leads Anchormen Back From 18-Point Deficit


Providence, RI—Senior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, MA) registered a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds as Rhode Island College defeated No. 20 Amherst, 72-61, in collegiate men’s basketball action on Tuesday night at The Murray Center.




The Anchormen (15-4), who trailed by as many as 18 points, outscored the Lord Jeffs (16-4), 44-15, over the final 16:10 of regulation to earn their sixth straight win.



Seniors Kaseem Johnson and Bobby Bailey



“The key was our half-court pressure defense in the second half,” RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said after the game. “We really started to guard them on the perimeter, forced some turnovers and that fed our offense. We showed a lot of mental toughness to be down against a great team and continued to believe in each other.”




Senior forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, CT) had 10 points, four boards and two steals, while sophomore guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) chipped in with 12 points, three boards, two assists and a pair of steals.




“We had to keep our composure,” Johnson added. “Basketball is a game of runs and we knew we were never defeated.”




Amherst took an early, 11-7, lead on two three-pointers by senior guard Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY) and freshman forward David Waller (Tampa, FL), respectively. The Anchormen kept it close with a Bailey trey and a freshman forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) layup, pulling RIC within three, 17-14, at 12:36.




The two teams traded buckets, then Bradley nailed a jump shot, freshman forward Jeff Holmes (Pawtucket, RI) made a free throw and freshman guard Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) buried a three to extend the Lord Jeffs’ lead to nine, 25-16, at 8:59.




Senior guard Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) drained a baseline jumper with the shot clock expiring, then followed classmate guard Glenn Wong’s (Leverett, MA) three-ball with a trifecta of his own to open up a 13-point, 32-19, lead at the 5:08 mark. 



The hosts’ bounced back with a 9-2 run, as five different Anchormen scored, to pull RIC within six, 34-28, at the half. Baskauskas shot 5-for-8 from the field to lead all scorers with 10 points as the visitors shot 54 percent from the field (14-for-26) and 56 percent (5-for-9) from downtown over the first 20 minutes.


RIC capitalized on 12 first-half Lord Jeff turnovers to record nine steals. Bailey led the way with nine points, five boards and two steals, while senior center Wil Lyons (Warwick, RI) had three emphatic blocks. The Anchormen shot 43 percent (12-for-28) from the field, but struggled to find their groove from beyond the three-point line (25 percent; 2-for-8).


Amherst erupted for 12 straight points out of the gates in the second half to build a 46-28 lead at 16:10. Holsey logged three buckets during the surge as Baskauskas and Bradley each nailed treys.


The hosts mounted a comeback with 14 straight points, capped by a Choice layup and free throw, to pull the Anchormen within five, 46-41, at 11:50. The rookie forward and senior guard Tirrell Hill (Bronx, NY) each scored five points during the run, while Gray had four.


Amherst sophomore guard Connor Meehan (Meriden, CT) finally stemmed the RIC advance with a three-pointer at 11:32, but Hill came back with a strong finish at the rack. Senior guard Cameron Stewart (Newport, RI) hit two free throws, then tied the game with a three-pointer at 9:18.


Bailey grabbed a board and was fed for a three-pointer, which brought The Murray Center crowd to its feet, capping a 24-3 comeback that gave the Anchormen their first lead of the game, 52-49, at 8:43.


Senior Guard Bobby Bailey


Gray and Johnson each hit a pair of free throws, and Bailey followed with one of his own to give RIC a 57-49 lead at 5:14.


Amherst junior guard DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI) connected on two jumpers, while Bradley hit one of his own, to close the gap to six points, 61-55, at 2:33.


That would be as close as the visitors would get as Johnson muscled in a layup to extend the RIC lead to eight, 63-55, at 1:58, and Bailey sank a pair from the charity stripe to give the hosts’ a 10-point advantage, 65-55, at 1:18. 


Lyons, Bailey and Stewart combined for seven free throws over the final minute to seal the win.


RIC made 21-of-23 from the free throw line in the second half and 23-of-31 (74 percent) for the game. The Anchormen shot 45 percent from the field (22-for-49) and turned the ball over just 10 times.


Baskauskas and Bradley finished with 13 points, while Holsey was one point off the pace.


Amherst finished the contest with a 44 percent (25-for-57) mark from the field and shot 35 percent (8-for-23) from downtown. After the hot start, the Lord Jeffs were only 3-for-14 from three-point land in the second half.


Cox Sports broadcasted the game and will air it on Channel 3 on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 9 p.m.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will play at Plymouth State on Saturday, Feb. 7.