January 28, 2012


Anchormen Split Season Series With Eastern Connecticut in, 66-48, Win

Providence, R.I.-Senior center Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket, RI) recorded a game-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds as the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team topped Eastern Connecticut State, 66-48, in Little East Conference action on Saturday at The Murray Center.


RIC (15-3, 6-3 LEC) moves into a tie for third place with Western Connecticut after the victory, while Eastern Connecticut (15-3, 7-2 LEC) falls to second place in the Little East.



 Senior center Mike Akinrola


“Our defense got back to where it needs to be today, holding them to 48 points and 34 percent shooting,” said Head Coach Bob Walsh. “It was great to see guys like Mike Palumbo, Kadeem Francis and Chris Burton continue to step up. Our depth was a big factor today and should be down the stretch.”


The Anchormen jumped on top by as many as six through the opening minutes of the ballgame after a pair of free throws from Akinrola made it, 10-4, with 15:16 left to play. However, the Warriors responded with eight unanswered points to take a 12-10 lead, capped off by a layup from junior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton, CT) with 12:45 on the clock.


Rhode Island College answered right back as sophomore guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) buried a three moments later to put the Anchormen back on top, 13-12, with 12:11 on the clock. From there, RIC went on a 12-0 run to take a 25-12 lead with 6:20 left in the half, as the Warriors were held without a basket for nearly seven and a half minutes. The Anchormen eventually went into the break with a 16-point, 39-23, lead.



 Junior guard Tahrike Carter


ECSU stormed out of the gate in the second half to trim the deficit to just 11 points after a basket from Robitaille in the paint made it, 41-30, with 16:04 remaining in the ballgame. Yet, once again, the Anchormen picked up the defensive intensity, holding the Warriors scoreless over the next seven minutes. Meanwhile, RIC strung together 11 straight points to take a 52-30 lead with 9:56 left to play after another trey from Palumbo. The Anchormen ran away with it from there, thanks to a superb defensive effort in the second half that limited Eastern to just 26 percent from the field.


Rhode Island College shot 48 percent (25-for-52) from the field on the afternoon, while the Warriors shot just 34 percent (15-for-44). RIC also forced 19 turnovers on the defensive end, while outrebounding the visitors, 34-28.


Junior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) recorded 12 points, five boards, five assists and four steals for RIC, while Palumbo finished with 11 points in the win. Senior forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) finished with seven points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.


Freshman forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) registered four blocks in just 14 minutes of action, while sophomore Kadeem Francis (White Plains, NY) received high praise for his efforts on Saturday after finishing with three points and two boards in 12 minutes.


Senior forward Hamilton Levy (Woodbury, CT) led Eastern as he finished with 19 points and five rebounds. Sophomore guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven, CT) chipped in with eight points, while Robitaille added six points and seven rebounds. Senior forward Jamie Kohn (Columbia, CT) totaled five points and five boards, while also registering his 1,000th career point in the ballgame.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will travel to Amherst on Tuesday, Jan. 31 (7 p.m.).