January 8, 2011



Providence, RI-Rhode Island College sent a strong message to rest of the Little East Conference in a dominant, 96-82, win over Keene State at The Murray Center on Saturday afternoon.


The Anchormen (8-3, 3-0 LEC) handed the Owls (9-3, 2-1 LEC) their first league loss and defeated Keene State for the ninth time in the two teams’ last 10 meetings. RIC kept pace with Western Connecticut (12-1, 3-0 LEC) for the top spot in the league standings.



 Senior Guard Antone Gray


Senior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) continued his strong play since re-joining the team earlier this week. After posting a near triple double in a 90-80 overtime loss to Roger Williams on Wednesday, the point guard led the way with 16 points and 11 assists.


Sophomore center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) was a key factor off the bench with 13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in 21 minutes. Junior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) equaled Gray’s offensive mark on 7-for-10 shooting.



 Sophomore Center Steven Roberts


Senior guard Nick Manson (Newport, RI) had 12 points on four three-pointers, while classmate forward Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) contributed 10 points and six rebounds.


Despite the final score, the hosts controlled the game throughout. The Owls held a 7-3 lead 2:32 into the game, but RIC responded with an 8-0 run, led by four Akinrola points and two apiece by Gray and junior forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI). Keene led, 15-14, with 14:23 left in the first half on a jumper by sophomore guard Ryan Martin (Wayne, ME).


Gray cashed in a trey and then KSC junior forward Cody Snow (Leydan, MA) made a jumper to knot the contest at 17-all. A Roberts layup put the Anchormen up for good at 12:46 as RIC scored 12 unanswered points.


The lead swelled to 20 points, 58-38, at 1:34 on two Roberts free throws and RIC went into halftime holding a 58-40 advantage.



 Junior Center Mike Akinrola


All hopes of a Keene comeback were quickly set aside as the Anchormen dominated the second half. A 23-9 opening run by the reigning Little East Conference champs delivered a knockout blow to the Owls. The lead grew to a game-high 32 points, 81-49, at 13:16 on a layup by sophomore guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY).


Despite the score, both teams continued to battle in a very physical contest for the remaining time on the clock. The two squads combined for 41 fouls (21 RIC, 20 KSC). Keene closed out the game on a 28-12 run to make the final margin respectable.


Junior guard Derek D’Amours (Feeding Hills, MA) became the 28th player in Keene State history to reach the 1,000-point milestone on a three-pointer at 14:48 of the first half. He finished with nine points and now has 1,006 in his two-plus seasons as an Owl.


Martin scored a game-high 19 points to go along with seven assists in a losing effort. Junior forward Ollie Hunter (Bedford, NH) chipped with a 14-point effort.


RIC shot 50 percent (35-for-70) from the field, 38 percent (8-for-21) from downtown and made the most of their trips to the free throw line, making 18-of-23 for a 78-percent effort. RIC made the first 18 of its attempts from the line, but missed its final five tries.


Keene State shot 46 percent (30-for-66) from the field, 32 percent (6-for-19) from three-point land and 80 percent (16-for-20) from the charity stripe. The Owls made just one trifecta in 12 tries over the final 20 minutes, and shot just 37 percent (15-for-41) overall after a 60 percent (15-for-25) mark in the first frame.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at Southern Maine on Tuesday, Jan. 11.