January 18, 2011



Providence, RI-Junior guard DaQuan Brooks (Atlanta, GA) delivered the knockout blow by draining a highly contested three-pointer from well beyond the top of the key to help Western Connecticut State University down Rhode Island College, 82-77, in a battle for first place atop the Little East Conference menís basketball standings.


The Colonials were up by two points, 77-75, with 25 seconds left in the game when Brooks sank the trifecta. WestConn (14-2, 5-1 LEC) takes over sole possession of first place atop the league standings, while RIC (9-6, 4-2 LEC) falls to third place. Two conference games were postponed until tomorrow night due to inclement weather. Second place Eastern Connecticut (11-3, 4-1 LEC) will travel to fourth place Keene State (10-4, 3-2 LEC) in a contest that will impact both the Anchormen and the Colonials.


Brooks finished the game with a team-high 16 points and five assists. Four WestConn players scored in double figures, while an additional two more fell one point shy. Senior forward Wilburt Jarrett (Hartford, CT) helped lead the charge with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Former Anchorman, junior guard, Rob Bentil (East Hartford, CT) chipped in with 10 points, eight rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass, and four assists. Junior forward Gary Robinson (Torrington, CT) matched Bentilís totals in both points and rebounds.


Junior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) led the way for RIC with a game-high 24 points, a team-high seven rebounds and shot 10-of-14 from the field. Senior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) dished out a game-high eight assists to go along with 22 points and six rebounds.



 Junior center Mike Akinrola


The game started out as a track meet, as both clubs made their first three shot attempts, capped off by a Robinson three 1:29 into the game, making it a 7-6 advantage for the visitors. From then on, WestConn never trailed en route to snapping an 11-game losing streak to their longtime nemesis.


With the score tied at 22-all with 9:52 left in the first half, the Colonials got hot and scored the next 11 points to build a 33-22 lead, capped off by a layup from junior forward Mark Redding (Waterbury, CT) at the 7:02 mark. WestConn held a seven-point, 45-38, lead at the half.


Although they trailed for the rest of the game, RIC hung around and threatened late in the second half, cutting its deficit down to two points on two occasions. Gray sank a driving layup to make the score, 75-73, with 1:41 remaining, but Jarrett countered with a layup of his own.


With 59 seconds left, Akinrola powered in a layup from close range to get back within a bucket, 77-75, but Brooks sealed the Anchormenís fate on the ensuing possession.


For the game, RIC shot 51 percent (31-for-61) from the field, 35 percent (6-for-17) from downtown and 60 percent (9-for-15) from the free throw line.


WCSU shot 43 percent (31-for-72) from the field, 36 percent (9-for-25) from downtown and 55 percent (11-for-22) from the free throw line. The Colonials held the advantage in rebounding, 43-38, and turned the ball over, 11-16, five fewer times.


The two teams were meeting for the first time since RIC defeated WestConn in the championship game of the 2010 Little East Conference Tournament. 


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will host Emmanuel on Thursday, Jan. 20.