November 15, 2009



Springfield, MAŚJunior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) and senior backcourt mate Jake Grimes (Providence, RI) scored 16 and 12 points, respectively, to lead the Rhode Island College men's basketball team to a 62-59 win over Springfield in the season-opening game for both clubs.


Gray added four assists, two rebounds and a steal, while Grimes and junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, MA) each grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Grimes also dished out three assists, was credited with two blocks and made one steal.



Junior guard Antone Gray


RIC was down by six points, 33-27, at the half, before outscoring the hosts by nine, 35-26, in the final frame.



Senior guard Jake Grimes


The Pride built a nine point lead, 15-6, 6:35 into the first half, capped by a junior forward Matt Cavalieri (West Warwick, RI) layup. The two clubs played scoreless basketball for the next two minutes until RIC embarked on a 6-0 run, paced by buckets by freshman guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY), junior forward Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) and junior forward Ryan Thompson (Cranston, RI).


Springfield answered back with a 7-0 run of its own led by two Cavalieri baskets and two free throws from senior forward Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, NY), which gave the Pride their largest lead of the game, 23-13, with 7:19 left in the first half.


The Anchormen responded with an 11-0 run to take its first lead since the 17:17 mark as RIC went on top, 24-23, on a Debnam three-pointer. Grimes led the way with seven points in the comeback. 


 After a Debnam trey gave the visitors a 27-25 lead with 4:01 left, Springfield scored the final eight points of the half to lead at the break, paced by four points from Crean.



Junior forward Darius Debnam


The Pride increased their lead to eight points, 37-29, on a Cavalieri layup 1:20 into the second half before the Anchormen started to chip away.


 Three points from Grimes and two from Gray got RIC within three points, 37-34, at 16:55, but SC bounced back to increase the advantage to five points, 42-37, with just over 15 minute left.


RIC finally caught up with an impressive 12-0 run, tying the game on a freshman guard Derek Libbey (Lincoln, ME) three-ball at 12:56 and going up by seven on a Lee layup at the 9:57 mark.


 However, the Pride could not be held down, erupting for a 12-4 run to re-take the lead, 54-53, with 4:38 remaining.


 The game was not decided until the final moments. Crean had made two free throws with 3:42 left, giving Springfield a 56-55 lead. But a three-pointer by Grimes with 2:50 left gave RIC the lead for good. Crean made a free throw with 1:54 to go, cutting RIC's lead to 58-57. Crean missed a three-point attempt with 1:26 left that could have given SC the lead.


 Gray then hit a long two-pointer with 52 seconds left that proved to be the shot of the game. That put the Anchormen up by three points again, 60-57. SC then had two more three-point attempts, by senior guard Ryan Blackmon (Stamford, CT) with 30 seconds left, and by sophomore guard Conner Flynn (Marlborough, MA) with 26 seconds left, missing both. RIC's Debnam was fouled and made both free throws with 20 seconds left, and RIC looked free and clear up by five, 62-57.


 But Cavalieri made a tough rebound-lay-up with nine seconds left, and it was still a ballgame, especially when Debnam missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with eight seconds left. Crean then attempted a good-look three-pointer with two seconds left from the right-hand side that could have tied it. But it hit the rim and fell away, ending the game.


 Cavalieri scored a career-high and game-high 21 points, and added a game-high 12 rebounds. He was 10-of-17 from the field. Crean  followed with 19 points and 7 rebounds. He also had a game-high-tying six assists and three steals. Sophomore forward/center Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, RI) had nine points and seven rebounds.


Debnam chipped in for RIC with eight points and two steals. Lee added four points, five boards, three blocks and a steal. Sophomore forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) contributed six points and six rebounds. 


 In upcoming action, the Anchormen will play their home opener against Clark on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.