February 10, 2009




Anchormen Takeover First Place in, 82-71, Win


Providence, RI—Senior forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, CT) scored 15 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds to lead No. 25 Rhode Island College past No. 15 UMass Dartmouth, 82-71, in a battle of Little East Conference heavyweights on Tuesday night in front of a packed Murray Center crowd.



Senior Forward Kaseem Johnson



The Anchormen (17-4, 10-1 LEC) sweep the season series from the Corsairs (19-3, 9-2 LEC), who suffer just their third loss of the season. The win puts the hosts into first place in the LEC with three league contests remaining.




“It was a terrific win against a very tough opponent,” RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said after the victory. “Our veterans stepped up an played with a lot of toughness defensively and that was the key in the second half. We’re still a long way from where we want to be, but it was a really good win.”




RIC freshman forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) opened the scoring 1:10 into the game, UMD came back to tie the contest on the ensuing possession on a junior forward Matt Walker (Brockton, MA) layup. The Corsairs then jumped out to a lead on a classmate forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, MA) three-pointer.




The visitors began to build some momentum with 13:51 left in the first half, keyed by a jumper and free throw by junior guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, MA) to give UMD a two-point lead, 16-14, at 13:51. The Corsairs scored the next three baskets, led by a jumper and layup from senior guard Reece Freeman (Cambridge, MA), to stake an eight-point, 22-14, lead at 10:06.




UMass Dartmouth led, 35-28, with 3:17 left in the first stanza on two sophomore forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, MA) free throws. RIC countered with an 11-2 run over remaining time to take a two-point, 39-37, lead into halftime. Two Choice layups and a big three from sophomore guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) keyed the run.




Sheldon nailed a jumper to start the second half, but the Anchormen responded with a 21-6 run over the next 9:03 to lead by 15, 60-45, capped by a senior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, MA) trifecta.




Shelton trimmed the deficit to 10 points, 60-50, at 9:32 with a three, but RIC quickly regained momentum with an 8-0 run to post a game-high 18-point advantage, 68-50, with 7:19 left.




UMass Dartmouth didn’t go quietly as it promptly went on a 16-6 run to whittle the deficit down to eight points, 68-50, with 1:54 left, but Rhode Island College cashed in from the free throw line as Bailey, Gray and Johnson secured the important victory down the stretch.




Gray was one of four Anchormen in double figures with a team-high 18 points. Bailey added 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Choice finished with 14 points and six rebounds.




Shelton led all scorers with 23 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Walker added 13 points and five rebounds.




In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will play its final non-conference game of the regular season when it travels to Roger Williams on Thursday, Feb. 12.