January 8, 2013



Gorham, Maine-Junior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) sank a three-pointer with 36 seconds left to lead Rhode Island College to a 71-66 win over Southern Maine in Little East Conference men's basketball action played at Hill Gymnasium on Tuesday evening.


The Anchormen (11-2, 3-1 LEC) were trailing by two, 66-64, when senior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) set up Sanders for what proved to be the decisive shot in the game. Carter, senior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) and junior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) sank free throws in the waning seconds to seal the victory for the visitors.  


Sophomore guard Alex Cruz (East Hartford, CT) scored a career-high 12 points, to go along with six boards and two steals. Carter posted 11 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals.


 With the win, RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh moved into second place all-time in program history with 169 career wins. "We showed a lot of confidence down the stretch despite not having our best stuff," Walsh said. "We expected to win and made the big plays when we needed to, and that is a good sign."



 Junior guard Nyheem Sanders


Roberts fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Palumbo netted 11 on the strength of three from downtown. Sophomore forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) grabbed 11 boards.


RIC shot 37 percent (23-for-62) from the field, 46 percent (6-for-13) from three-point land and 68 percent (19-for-28) from the free throw line. The Huskies (8-6, 3-1 LEC) shot 44 percent (29-for-65) from the floor, 20 percent (3-for-15) from long range and 39 percent (5-for-13) from the charity stripe.


The Anchormen held a decisive, 48-36, advantage in rebounding.


Southern Maine senior Alex Kee (Bath, ME) hit a baseline jumper off an inbounds pass to put the Huskies up 64-62 with 3:40 left to play. Carter then fouled and made both of his free throws to tie the game at 64 with 1:08 remaining. Senior Ethan Gaye (Providence, RI) came up with a steal on the Huskies’ next possession, and Carter dished it to Sanders who hit a three that put the Anchormen up 67-64 with 36 left on the clock.



 Senior guard Tahrike Carter


Southern Maine junior Conor Sullivan (Scarborough, ME) hit a 15-foot jumper to pull the Huskies within one, 67-66, with 19 seconds left, but the Huskies were forced to foul, and free throws and a key offensive rebound by Roberts sealed the deal for the Anchormen.


Down by 12, 37-25, with a just over two minutes left to play in the first half, the Huskies went on a 5-0 run and a 4-0 run to cut the Anchormen lead to four, 38-34, heading into the break.


USM then scored three straight points to begin the second half to take its first lead of the game, 39-38. RIC then built its lead back up to nine, 52-43, with 12:39 remaining, but Southern Maine would go on an 11-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 54-52 lead at the 8:26 mark. The run was highlighted by four points from Kee and Sullivan, and three points from junior James Odneal (Pontiac, MI). Each teams’ lead wouldn’t exceed more than two points over the next eight minutes until Sanders hit his three-pointer.   


Sullivan led the way for Southern Maine with a game-high 20 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Odneal finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, two steals, and one assist, and Kee added eight points and three steals. Freshman Cole Libby (Buxton, ME) chipped in with seven points, four assists, three rebounds, and two steals off the bench, and senior Sean Bergeron (Kennebunk, ME) had a game-high four steals. 


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against Keene State on Saturday, Jan. 12 (3 p.m.).