February 24, 2009




RIC to Host Semifinals and Final on Friday and Saturday


Providence, RI—Freshman forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) scored 13 of his team-high 17 points in the first half to lead top-seeded Rhode Island College past eighth-seeded Southern Maine, 73-57, in quarterfinal action of the 2009 Little East Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.




The Anchormen (22-4) win for the 13th straight time, equaling the 1971 squad’s effort for the most consecutive victories in program history. RIC, ranked No. 17 in the nation, earns the right to host the semifinals and finals of the conference tourney for just the second time in school history and for the second time in three years.






 Senior Guard Bobby Bailey (photo by




RIC will face fourth-seeded Keene State on Friday, February, 27 at The Murray Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sixth-seeded Western Connecticut will battle second-seeded UMass Dartmouth in the other semifinal game beginning at approximately 8 p.m.




“Our halfcourt defense  in the first half really took their will away,” RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said afterwards. “Now we are excited to host the conference’s final four for the second time in school history. We’ll need to be focused for 40 minutes to have a chance to win.”




Rhode Island College led wire-to-wire in the contest, opening the game on a 9-0 run. The Anchormen scored the first six points of the game from the charity stripe and kept USM (5-21) off the scoreboard for the first 6:10.




The hosts built an 11-point lead, 18-7, on a layup by senior center Wil Lyons (Warwick, RI) at 10:12. Southern Maine freshman forward Sean Bergeron (Kennebunk, ME) trimmed the lead back to nine, 18-9, at 9:27.






 Freshman Forward Mason Choice (photo by




RIC countered with a 19-6 run to take a 37-15, 22-point lead into halftime. The Anchormen kept up a 20-point advantage for most of the second stanza, building a 23-point lead, 61-38, with 6:06 remaining.




The Huskies came back with an 11-0 run, to trail, 61-49, with 2:45 left on a Bergeron three-pointer. USM cut the deficit to 10 points, 63-53, at 1:15. However, Rhode Island College made eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.




The Anchormen shot 42 percent (22-for-52) from the field and went to the free throw line 27 more times (27-for-36) than the Huskies. USM shot 38 percent (24-for-64) from the field. Both team struggled from downtown, with RIC shooting 17 percent (2-for-12) and the Huskies logging a 20 percent effort (4-for-20).




Choice added five boards and was perfect from the field (5-for-5). Sophomore guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) chipped in with 12 points. Senior guard Bobby Bailey (Fall River, MA) registered 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Senior forward Kaseem Johnson (New Haven, CT) had seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.




Bergeron led all scorers with 21 points, shooting 8-for-12 from the field.