November 18, 2009



Providence, RI—Junior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team to a 74-72 win over Clark University on Wednesday night at The Murray Center.



 Junior guard Antone Gray


Gray made four free throws in the final 13 seconds of regulation to help seal the win. “Antone is a big-time player and he stepped up when we needed it most,” Head Coach Bob Walsh said. “We need to get better defensively for 40 minutes, but we grinded out a good result.”


Clark (1-1) opened up an early five-point, 9-4, lead on a three-pointer by senior guard Chris LoPiano (Franklin Park, NY) with 17:35 left. Gray erupted to score RIC’s next 11 points, on three treys to give the hosts a 15-12 advantage with 14:52 remaining in the half.


Freshman guard Derek Libbey (Lincoln, ME) hit a jumper and made a free throw, while junior forward Carl Lee (Cranston, RI) and freshman guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) each made a bucket, as the Anchormen (2-0) went on a 7-0 run to build an eight-point lead, 20-12, with 12:55 left.


LoPiano drained two more long-balls as the visitors went on a 10-2 run to tie the game, 22-22, at the 10:12 mark. Junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, NY) answered back with a layup and sophomore frontcourt mate Mason Choice (Newport, RI) scored to put RIC up by four, 26-22, with 9:22 left.


Clark senior forward Jack Minister (Manchester, England) answered back with a trey to pull the Cougars within one point, 26-25, at 8:31. However, the Anchormen opened up a 37-25 advantage with an 11-0 run, keyed by four points each from Gray and Lee. With RIC holding for the last shot of the half, Carter drained a three as time expired to send the Anchormen into halftime up by 15, 44-29.


Gray led the way with 17 first-half points, as RIC held a 21-10 advantage on the glass.


After RIC senior guard Jake Grimes (Providence, RI) hit a jump shot to open the second stanza, Clark scored the next 11 points to pull within six, 46-40, with 14:27 left. Choice’s layup stopped the run, but the Cougars could not be held down, closing the gap to just one point, 51-50, at 10:34. A Debnam free throw and two hoops by Grimes kept the visitors at arms length, 56-50, at 8:50.


Once again Clark battled back, finally taking the lead, 60-59, at 6:23, for the first time since early in the first half. Grimes answered back with three consecutive buckets to give the Anchormen back the advantage, 65-60, with just over five minutes left.


Although the Cougars pulled within one point twice over the final minutes, they could not get the tying or go-ahead points. Senior guard Mark Alexander (Providence, RI) made five free throws down the stretch, but Gray countered with his attempts from the charity stripe and forcing a key turnover with 10 seconds left.


Grimes posted 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, while sophomore forward Ryan Thompson (Cranston, RI) grabbed a game-high nine boards. Lee registered 11 points and six boards.


Alexander, LoPiano and sophomore forward Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, MA) led Clark with 17 points apiece. Vayda and Alexander each were credited with five rebounds.


RIC shot 46 percent (28-for-60) from the field, which included shooting 33 percent (6-of-18) from downtown. Clark shot 43 percent (25-for-58) overall and 41 percent (9-for-22) from beyond the three-point arc. The hosts held a 46-28 advantage in rebounding.


In upcoming action, the Anchormen will host Colby on Saturday, Nov. 21.