November 2, 2013



Providence, R.I.-Freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) poured in 17 points, while senior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) added 14 points and four assists, as the Rhode Island College menís basketball team fell to Providence College, 97-65, on Saturday night in an exhibition contest at Dunkin Donuts Center.


Senior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) chipped in with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench, while junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) registered seven points and a team-high four rebounds. Sophomore forward Tyler Harris (Dix Hills, NY) paced Providence College with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds, while senior guard Bryce Cotton (Tucson, AZ) tallied 17 points and three assists for Div. I Friars of the Big East Conference.



 Freshman guard Austin Cilley


 "We were never able to get consistent stops in our half court defense," Head Coach Bob Walsh said. "When the ball came off the rim, we just couldn't win the battle and we fouled way too much. We have to tighten up our defensive effort moving forward. But we played a lot of new guys and we battled, so there were plenty of positives to take away."


Although the two squads traded baskets throughout the opening minutes of the first half, it didnít take long for the Friars to begin to pull away. After a pair of free throws from junior forward Carson Desrosiers (Windham, NH) gave the hosts a 10-7 lead, Cilley drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 10. Cilley again added three more points from downtown to make it, 13-13, with 13:36 remaining in the half.


Yet, after going 5-for-5 from the floor to start the game, the Anchormen went cold from the floor and missed seven of their next eight shots. Meanwhile, Providence rattled off 19 unanswered points to break away from RIC over the next six minutes. Trailing, 32-13, with 7:57 left to play in the frame, Sanders finally halted the drought with a basket in the paint that cut the deficit to 17.


Sanders would go on to add six more points for RIC down the stretch in the first half, while Palumbo poured in eight points in the final six and a half minutes to bolster the offense. However, the Friars offense proved to be too potent for the visitors, as the hosts kept their lead at double digits en route to a 49-33 halftime lead.




Although the Anchormen shot 54 percent (13-for-24) from the floor in the first half, including a 55 percent (6-for-11) mark from beyond the arc, Rhode Island College turned the ball over 13 times in the first 20 minutes and lost the rebounding battle, 16-8.


On the other end, the Friars shot 52 percent (12-for-23) from the field and committed just eight turnovers. Most notably, Providence College went 21-for-27 (78 percent) from the free throw line through the first 20 minutes alone. RIC attempted just two free throws (1-for-2) in the first half.


The Friars opened up the second half with a full head of steam and eventually piled up a 29-14 run that gave PC a 31-point lead over the visiting Anchormen with 7:34 left to play in the ballgame. The Anchormen couldnít contain the likes of freshman guard Brandon Austin (Philadelphia, PA) and sophomore guard Josh Fortune (Hampton, VA), who scored 11 points and eight points, respectively, in the second half alone. In total, the Friars outscored the Anchormen, 48-32, through the second half en route to the 32-point victory. RIC shot just 38 percent in the second half and hauled in just 11 rebounds, compared to 29 rebounds for the Friars.


For the game, PC boasted a 54 percent (32-for-59) shooting effort from the field to go along with a 70 percent mark from the free throw line (26-for-37) and a 30 percent (7-for-23) mark from downtown.


RIC shot 45 percent (24-for-53) from the floor, 67 percent (8-for-12) from the charity stripe, and 43 percent (9-for-21) from beyond the arc.


The Friars dominated the glass, outrebounding the Anchormen, 45-19. Providence also forced 23 turnovers, although the hosts did commit 17 turnovers of their own.


Austin finished with 13 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals for PC, while Fortune totaled 11 points, five assists, and four steals. Desrosiers was solid as well for the hosts, as he finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and two blocks. Senior forward Kadeem Batts (Boston, MA) posted six points and pulled down nine rebounds to go along with two blocks as well. Junior forward LaDontae Henton (Lansing, MI) racked up seven points, five boards, three assists, and three steals in the win.


Junior forward Jacob Page (Brookline, MA) chipped in for RIC with four points, three assists, two steals, and two rebounds. Freshman guard Anthony Williams (Waldorf, MD) added four points off the bench as well.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College opens the 2013-14 season vs. Skidmore at the Babson Invitational on Friday, Nov. 15.