March 6, 2010



Middlebury, VTJuniors Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) and Nick Manson (Newport, RI) led Rhode Island College to a 75-59 win over regional host Middlebury in the second round to reach the Sweet 16 of the 2010 NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Tournament.


 RIC (22-7) will face Brandeis (21-6) with a chance to reach the Elite Eight for the second time in four years on Friday, March 12 at host Williams (27-1). The Anchormen defeated the Judges in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament and lost in regular season action last season.


 Lee finished with 15 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He made 4-of-6 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Manson shot 3-for-5 from downtown, while adding two free throws for an 11-point effort.


 Junior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists, while sophomore forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) registered 10 points, five boards and five assists. Sophomore forward Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) had 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 15 minutes off the bench.


"Our kids came out with a great mentality and great approach and took it to Middlebury from tap to buzzer," RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said. "It was a great win against a great team in a really tough environment."



 Junior Forward Carl Lee


 The Anchormen dominated the first half due to the three-point shot. Rhode Island College opened the game on an 11-1 run through the first 5:02 of the contest. The Anchormen drained three trifectas during the opening minutes as Choice, sophomore guard William Williams (Bronx, NY) and Manson each nailed a trey. 


 Middlebury (25-3) twice cut its deficit down to seven points in the frame, first with 9:11 left as freshman guard Jake Wolfin (Woodcliff Lake, NJ) connected on a three-pointer, then again, 20-13, on a Wolfin layup with 7:04 remaining.


 Akinrola connected on his first career three-pointer to put RIC up by 11, 25-14, at 6:06, then Middlebury senior guard Tim Edwards (Greenwich, CT) cut the deficit to under 10 points for the last time in the half, 27-18, with two free throws at 4:59.


 RIC closed out the half on a 10-4 run, led by three-pointers by Manson and junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, MA) over the final 1:04, to take a 37-22 lead into halftime.


The Anchormen shot 44 percent (13-for-29) from the field, made 6-of-11 from downtown and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, while outrebounding their hosts, 22-19, over the first 20 minutes. Middlebury struggled to get rolling, shooting just 21 percent (8-for-30) from the field and 15 percent (2-for-15) from three-point range.



 Junior Guard Nick Manson


 The Anchormen built an 18-point lead, 44-26, with a 7-4 run over the first 1:26 of the second half. Manson sank his third triple of the game, sandwiched in between layups by Choice and Debnam. The Panthers attempted to get back in the game by scoring the next eight points to trail by 10, 44-34, at the 16:02 mark. Junior center Andrew Locke (Seattle, WA) started the comeback bid with a dunk and sophomore forward Ryan Sharry (Braintree, MA) finished it with a layup.


 RIC continued to hold off Middlebury over the next five minutes. Two free throws by freshman forward Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) gave the visitors a 13-point advantage, 55-42, with just over 11 minutes remaining.


 Five straight points from Sharry pulled the Panthers within eight, 55-47, at 9:56. A Wolfin layup made it a seven-point deficit, 56-49, with 8:54 left in the game.


Rhode Island College continued to hold the lead, increasing its advantage to nine points twice over the next 2:51, first by two Manson free throws, 58-49, at 8:25 and again on a Choice trey, 63-54, at 6:03. 


 The Anchormen outscored the Panthers, 12-5, over the remainder of the game, highlight by dunks by Lee and Grimes to achieve the win.


 Sharry posted a double-double with game-highs of 25 points and 14 rebounds for Middlebury. Wolfin finished with 13 points.


RIC shot 48 percent (26-for-54) from the field, made 8-of-18 from three-point land and sank 15-of-19 from the free throw line. Through the first two rounds, RIC has made 35-of-43 from the charity stripe. 


 The Panthers could not find any rhythm from downtown, making just two of its 22 attempts in the loss. Middlebury shot 40 percent (24-for-60) from the field and made just 9-of-17 from the free throw line.