January 14, 2014



Providence, R.I.-Junior forward Victor Smith (Providence, RI) and freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) combined to score 37 points to help propel the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team to an 80-68 victory over Southern Maine on Tuesday night at The Murray Center in Little East Conference action.


Winners in five of its six last contests, Rhode Island College (9-5, 3-1 LEC) picked up its sixth straight victory over Southern Maine (5-9, 1-3 LEC) and its 17th victory over the Huskies in the last 18 meetings between the two squads.


The Anchormen bounced back from a slow start to shoot 67 percent (20-for-30) from the field in the second half en route to the victory. Following a hellacious 0-for-9 start from beyond the arc in the first half, RIC caught fire from downtown in the second stanza, as the hosts connected on 80 percent (8-for-10) of its three-pointers in the final 20 minutes to help pull away from the Huskies.  



 Junior center Victor Smith


“We let Southern Maine control the edge of the game for 30 minutes, but we were fortunate to make some shots in the second half,” said Head Coach Bob Walsh. “That is a dangerous way to live. We have to defend and rebound more consistently to continue to win.”


Smith finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and a pair of blocks to pace the Anchormen, while Cilley recorded 18 points and three assists in the win. Junior guard Eric Alleyne (Watertown, MA) added 13 points, three steals, three rebounds and three assists as newcomers paved the way for Rhode Island College on Tuesday. 


For the Huskies, senior guard Conor Sullivan (Scarborough, ME) poured in a game-high 20 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists, while sophomore guard Cole Libby (Buxton, ME) notched 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. Junior center Tyler Penney (Barnstead, NH) posted 12 points and five rebounds, while junior forward James Odneal (Pontiac, MI) contributed eight points, eight rebounds and three assists.


Although the Anchormen led throughout much of the first half, Southern Maine managed to wrestle the lead away from the hosts and eventually closed out the frame on a 14-6 run, en route to the, 33-28, halftime advantage. The Huskies extended their lead to eight, 42-34, through the opening minutes of the second half, but quickly watched as RIC answered back with a 12-4 run to tie the game at 46, capped off by a basket from sophomore center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI), at the 11:18 mark.


After the two squads traded buckets to make it, 48-48, with 10:43 left to play, the Anchormen exploded for a 13-6 run, keyed by back-to-back three-pointers from Alleyne and Cilley, to take a 61-54 lead with 8:02 remaining.


USM would go on to cut the deficit to four, 61-57, with 7:35 remaining following a three-point play from Sullivan, but RIC quickly responded with a 7-1 run to extend its lead to 10, 68-58, capped off by a jumper from Smith with 6:04 on the clock. Although the Huskies managed to chop the deficit back down to seven, 75-68, thanks to a layup from Libby at the 2:12 mark, the Anchormen scored the final five points of the game to seal the double-digit victory. 


Senior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) chipped in with seven points, five rebounds and four assists for RIC, while junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) added eight points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.


Rhode Island College shot 53 percent (32-for-61) from the floor for the game, while shooting 42 percent (8-for-19) from beyond the three-point arc and 67 percent (8-for-12) from the free throw line.


USM shot 45 percent (26-for-58) from the field, but connected on just 36 percent (4-for-11) of its three-point attempts and 55 percent (12-for-22) of its free throws.


The Huskies outrebounded the Anchormen, 36-32, and corralled 15 offensive rebounds as a team. However, Southern Maine committed 22 turnovers, compared to just 16 turnovers for RIC.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference action at Plymouth State on Saturday, Jan. 18 (3 p.m.).