January 12, 2013



Providence, R.I.-Junior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) drained the game-winning three-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation to lead the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team to a 58-55 victory over Little East Conference rival Keene State on Saturday afternoon at The Murray Center.


Senior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) paced Rhode Island College (12-2, 4-1 LEC) with a career-high 18 points, while freshman center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI) tallied 10 points and nine rebounds in the win.


Senior guard Anthony Mariano (Naugatuck, CT) led Keene State (8-6, 3-2 LEC) with a game-high 19 points to go along with seven rebounds and four steals, and also recorded his 1,000th career point with a basket early in the game. Senior center Rashad Wright (Agawam, MA) added 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Owls in the loss.



 Junior guard Tom DeCiantis


“I’m really proud of today’s win,” said Head Coach Bob Walsh after the game. “We were facing some adversity and our guys responded as a team. It says a lot about the culture and the core of our program. Tom stepped up and buried a big shot.”


After jumping out to an early, 13-5, lead, the Anchormen held the advantage through much of the first half, until a deep three-pointer from Mariano with 2:54 remaining in the frame capped off a 16-6 run and gave the Owls a 21-19 lead.


Keene State went into the intermission with a 24-21 lead and quickly extended its lead to seven after back-to-back buckets to open the second half. However, the hosts bounced back with eight unanswered points, keyed by six points from Roberts, to take a 29-28 lead with 16:48 left to play.



 Senior center Steven Roberts


The Owls answered back with a 7-3 run of their own to retake the lead midway through the second half, but watched as a basket from Neal and a three-pointer from DeCiantis put RIC back on top, 39-36, with 10:21 remaining in the game. RIC held the lead until Keene State came back to tie the game at 43 with 6:31 on the clock after a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Tom Doyle (Wallingford, CT). Yet, the Owls failed to overtake the Anchormen as the hosts held a slight lead over the visitors for the next five minutes.


After a jumper from sophomore Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) gave Rhode Island College a 55-52 edge with 1:07 on the clock, senior forward Eric Fazio (Hopewell Junction, NY) connected on one of two free throws on the other end with under a minute left to play to cut the deficit to just two.


On the ensuing possession, Mariano came up with a clutch steal on the defensive end and followed with a tough basket in the paint with just 20 seconds on the clock to tie the game at 55. However, with the game on the line, junior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) managed to fight through traffic to find DeCiantis, who nailed the game-winning trey to stave off the Owls in the final seconds.


Senior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) dished out 10 assists to go along with four points, four rebounds and two steals. DeCiantis finished with eight points and four rebounds off the bench, while Burton added eight points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals.


Senior guard Ethan Gaye (Providence, RI) finished with seven points, four steals and four rebounds, while also holding Keene State senior guard Ryan Martin (Wayne, ME), the leading scorer in the Little East Conference, to just four points thanks to an outstanding defensive effort.


The Anchormen shot 43 percent (23-for-54) from the field, 23 percent (3-for-13) from downtown and 69 percent (9-for-13) from the free throw line. The Owls shot just 37 percent (19-for-51) from the floor, 33 percent (4-for-12) from long range and 72 percent (13-for-18) from the charity stripe.


RIC outrebounded KSC, 37-31, and corralled 14 offensive rebounds as a team. Rhode Island College’s bench outscored Keene State, 22-11, while the Anchormen also finished with 12 points off turnovers, compared to just six for the Owls.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, January 15 (7:30 p.m.).