January 14, 2012



RIC Drops to 3-2 in League Play

Keene, N.H.-Senior forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) had a chance for the game-winning bucket as time expired, but his running three-point heave fell just short as the Keene State Owls topped the Rhode Island College menís basketball team in dramatic fashion, 92-91, in Little East Conference action played at the Spaulding Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon


After heading into the half trailing by two, 41-39, RIC (12-2, 3-2 LEC) surged out of the break to quickly take the lead. Sparked by a 17-7 run over the first five minutes of the second half, the Anchormen went up by as many as 14 after a jumper from junior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) made it, 66-52, with 12:56 left to play. However, Keene State (10-4, 4-1 LEC) slowly chipped away at the deficit over the next 10 minutes until a trey from junior guard Ryan Martin (Wayne, ME) with 58 seconds remaining cut RICís lead to just three.


Sophomore guard Avery King (Pawtucket, RI) connected on a pair of free throws to give the Anchormen an 87-82 lead, but the Owls immediately responded as a layup from Martin with 36 seconds on the clock once again trimmed the deficit to just three.


 Sophomore guard Avery King


Choice knocked down a pair of free throws on the other end to put RIC back up by five, 89-84, but Martin answered right back with a three-pointer to make it just a two-point game with 25 seconds left. Once again, Choice buried a pair of free throws on the other end to extend RICís lead to four, 91-87. However, the resilient Owls responded with 15 seconds as left as Martin found freshman guard Tom Doyle (Wallingford, CT) open from downtown to make it a one-point game, 91-90.


On the ensuing possession, the Anchormen were unable to break Keeneís full-court pressure, triggering a turnover in the backcourt. Martin came up with a huge steal with just six seconds on the clock and found senior forward Ollie Hunter (Bedford, NH) open for the lay-in with just 3.6 seconds left to play. Hunter was fouled on the basket as well, earning a trip to the charity stripe. However, he missed the free throw, giving the Anchormen one last gasp. Yet, Choiceís buzzer-beater from long range came up just short, as the Owls completed the comeback victory and handed the visitors their second loss of the season.


Both offenses were in full swing on Saturday, as Keene and RIC both shot over 50 percent from the floor in what turned out to be a shootout. The Anchormen in particular, shot 52 percent from the field, which included 9-for-16 shooting (56 percent) from three-point land, and they also won the rebounding battle (35-26). Yet, turnovers doomed the Anchormen, as they coughed it up 17 times, compared to just 11 turnovers for the Owls.


Senior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) recorded a team-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds in the loss. King netted a season-high 21 points and buried a game-high six three-pointers for RIC, while Choice chipped in with 16 points, four assists and three boards. Junior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) contributed 13 points and six rebounds, while Roberts added eight points and four boards off the bench.


Martin finished with a game-high 28 points for KSC, while Doyle posted 17 points and six rebounds. Junior forward Rashad Wright (Agawam, MA) finished with 12 points, seven boards and three blocks for the Owls, while junior guard Anthony Mariano (Naugatuck, CT) and junior forward Eric Fazio (Hopewell Junction, NY) added nine and eight points respectively.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, Jan. 17 (7:30 p.m.).