January 31, 2013



Worcester, Mass.-Sophomore forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) scored a career-high 20 points to go along with six rebounds, four steals and two blocks as Rhode Island College cruised by Clark, 74-63, on Thursday evening.


The Anchormen (17-3), who have won 10 of their last 11 games, also got a strong performance from junior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) who scored 16 points. Senior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) posted 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals.


Rhode Island College came out of the gate fast, racing to a quick, 12-4, lead following a steal and thunderous two-handed dunk on the break by Burton.


Clark clawed its way back and took a 22-19 lead with less than ten minutes to play in the half on a Marcus Armstrong (Malden, MA) three-pointer.


The Anchormen immediately took the lead back on hoops by sophomore forward Jacob Page (Brookline, MA) and Burton and they built their lead to as many as five on a few occasions as the half wound down, the last coming on another Burton steal and acrobatic finish above the rim before a D.J. Bailey (Palmer, MA) hoop made the score 36-33 at the half.


Things continued to stay close and the Cougars took a brief 41-40 lead on a layup by Nicholas DaPrato (Marshfield, MA) four minutes into the second stanza.


DaPrato tied things up at 44-44 minutes later, but baskets by Carter and senior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) gave RIC some breathing room.


Clark refused to go away and back-to-back three-pointers from Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, MA) and DaPrato and a Vayda free throw gave the Cougars another lead, this one at 55-54 with less than nine minutes to play.


The Anchormen responded, however, and went on a game-sealing, 12-3, run over a five minute span that turned their one-point deficit into a 66-58 lead with 4:30 to play. Carter played a huge role in the run, sinking a three-pointer and dropping in a pair of tough inside hoops, while Sanders added a triple of his own and a difficult finish on the interior.


The Cougars meanwhile struggled to make baskets down the stretch and went the final 4:06 without a made shot and made only three in the final ten minutes of action.


RIC saw its lead balloon to as many as 14 as time wound down before Armstrong connected on three free throws to make up the difference.


The Cougars were again led by the interior duo of Bailey (16 points, six rebounds and three blocks) and Vayda (17 points, six rebounds and three assists) as the combined to shoot 14-for-27 from the field. DaPrato finished with 11 points and Tyler Veretto (South Windsor, CT) continued his outstanding play of late, helping out with seven points and four rebounds


RIC shot 52 percent (28-for-54) from the field, 46 percent (5-for-11) from three-point land and 68 percent (13-for-19) from the free throw line.


The Cougars (10-9) shot 40 percent (25-for-62) from the field, 26 percent (5-for-19) from downtown and 50 percent (8-for-16) from the charity stripe.


The Anchormen outrebounded the hosts by 11, 44-33.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will resume Little East Conference play at UMass Boston on Saturday, Feb. 2 (3 p.m.).