December 1, 2009






Providence, RI—Previously winless Johnson & Wales shocked cross-city rival Rhode Island College, 72-70, in front of a raucous crowd at The Murray Center on Tuesday evening.




Sophomore guard Lamonte Thomas (Providence, RI) helped put the Wildcats (1-4) up by two by making one of two free throw attempts with eight seconds left. In a wild series of events, RIC (3-3) lost the ball out of bounds while attempting to tie the game. With 0.8 seconds left, sophomore forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) was fouled while catching the inbounds pass, but was not able to convert the tying free throw attempts.




“We didn’t show up ready to compete, and when that happens, you get beat,” RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said.




Thomas finished with a game-high 21 points, 16 of which came in the second half, to go along with seven rebounds. Classmate guard Calvin Jones (Providence, RI) chipped in with 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, while freshman backcourt mate Matt Williams (Mount Kisco, NY) posted a game-high 10 rebounds.




RIC junior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) equaled Thomas’ effort with 21 points. He added six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Choice registered 16 points and six boards, while junior forward Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.






 Junior guard Antone Gray




Johnson & Wales scored the first five points of the game, but the hosts countered with a 10-0 run to open up a 10-5 advantage as Choice and Lee each scored four points. The Wildcats eventually tied the game and took the lead, 14-12, at 14:30 on a Thomas fast break layup.




The teams battled back and forth until a 7-0 run propelled the visitors to a 29-18 lead with 5:01 remaining the first half. JWU opened up a game-high 14-point lead, 34-20, with 3:29 left, capped by a Thomas free throw. Gray and Lee scored for RIC to send the Anchormen into halftime down by a surprising 10 points, 34-24.


Johnson & Wales shot 34 percent (13-for-38), while only making one (1-for-9) three-pointer. RIC shot 32 percent (12-for-38), while missing all 11 attempts from downtown. The Wildcats outrebounded the Anchormen, 30-24, over the first 20 minutes.


Rhode Island College came out of the break on an 11-4 run, whittling the deficit down to just three points, 38-35, on a senior guard Jake Grimes (Providence, RI) layup with 16:41 remaining.


The Wildcats were unfazed, building the lead back up to 14 points, 54-40, at 10:38. However, JWU mismanaged its timeouts, using its last sanctioned stoppage with over six minutes left in the game, which would prove costly.


With RIC down by eight, 58-50, with 7:12 left, junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, MA) made a free throw and Gray and Grimes both connected on treys, to make it a one-point, 58-57, game with 5:29 left.


The Anchormen took their first lead since 15:03 of the first half on a freshman guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) three-ball with 4:20 left. JWU answered right back with a sophomore guard Tavarius Roberson (Orlando, FL) layup to tie the game, 62-all, with 4:02 left.


With 2:13 remaining, a free throw from Jones put the visitors on top, 67-66. Thomas gave the Wildcats a three-point cushion, 69-66, with two from the charity stripe with 1:30 left.


After a missed three-pointer, JWU senior center Paul Nicholson (Halifax, NC) grabbed the defensive rebound and was swarmed by the RIC defense. Despite not having any left, the Wildcats called for timeout to avoid a potential turnover, which resulted in a technical foul. Gray made the ensuing free throws to once again cut the deficit to one.


Roberson was fouled and made both free throws with 17 seconds left to put JWU up, 71-68, only to see Gray drive the length of the floor for a layup. Thomas’ free throw after being fouled on the next possession set up the dramatic finish.


RIC finished the game shooting 42 percent (28-for-67) from the field and 26 percent (6-for-23) from downtown. JWU countered by shooting 37 percent (25-for-67) from the field and 23 percent (3-for-13) from beyond the arc. The Wildcats held the advantage in rebounding, 48-42.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will open Little East Conference play at Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, Dec. 5.