March 4, 2011



Oswego, N.Y.Rhode Island College senior guard Antone Gray (Providence, RI) scored his 1,000th career point as the Anchormen defeated Penn State Behrend, 83-54, in first round action of the 2011 NCAA Div. III Men's Basketball Tournament played at Oswego State's Max Ziel Gymnasium.


RIC (20-7) will face host Oswego State (24-4) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Sweet 16. The Anchormen reach the 20-win plateau for the fifth consecutive season and for the sixth time in seven years. Rhode Island College is now 4-1 in first round games under Head Coach Bob Walsh.



 Senior guard Antone Gray


 The win marked the ninth consecutive victory for the Anchormen, who have also won 11 of their last 12. It was the largest margin of victory for a Walsh-coached team in the NCAA Tournament.


Gray came into the game needing just nine points to reach the 1,000-point milestone and achieved it on a three-pointer with 7:40 left in the first half. He finished with 19 points, on 6-for-8 shooting, to go along with a game-high five assists.



 Junior center Mike Akinrola


Junior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) posted 16 points and six rebounds, while classmate forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) contributed eight points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.


 Senior forward Carl Lee (Warwick, RI) netted nine points and pulled down four rebounds, while freshman center Ashton Watkins (Providence, RI) chipped in with eight points and five rebounds in just 12 minutes off the bench.



 Junior forward Mason Choice


 RIC shot 60 percent (32-for-53) from the field and 50 percent (9-for-18) from three-point land. The Anchormen missed just once (10-for-11) from the free throw line.


"We played a complete game tonight from start to finish tonight," Walsh said afterwards. "We defended, rebounded and shared the ball great. Winning NCAA tournament games is not easy and tonight was a great team effort."



 Senior forward Carl Lee


 In addition to shooting well from the field, the Anchormen dominated the glass, outrebounding their opponent, 38-20. Penn State Behrend finished the game shooting 42 percent (21-for-50) from the field, including 26.3 percent (5-for-19) from three-point range.


Senior guard Justin Kovac (Venetia, PA) scored a season-high 17 points in his final game as a Lion (23-5), while senior forward Chris Saltzman (Pittsburgh, PA) and sophomore center Russ Conley (Transfer, PA) netted 11 and 10, respectively.



 Freshman center Ashton Watkins


Kovac triple brought Behrend within two points, 18-16, with 9:52 left to play in the first half. Rhode Island responded by going on a 14-4 run over the next three minutes to go up by 12, 32-20. The Lions, who trailed, 44-25, at the break, were never able to get back into the game.


 The Lions cut the deficit to 13 points early in the second half, but Lee scored five straight points for Rhode Island College during a 7-0 run as the lead ballooned to 20 at 53-33. The Anchormen were able to cruise the rest of the way to the victory.