January 11, 2017



Gorham, Maine--Sophomore forward Justin Campbell (New Haven, CT) scored 16 points and corralled seven rebounds to propel the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team to an 86-83 victory over the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference game played at Fifield Court on Wednesday evening.


RIC (7-7, 1-3 LEC) sophomore forward Benjamin Vezele (Providence, RI) narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds, while junior guard Jovel Beckford (Providence, RI) and junior guard Malcolm Smith (Old Orchard Beach, ME) each contributed 15 points in the victory. Freshman guard Jonatan Batista (Providence, RI) was also in double figures with 11 points, six boards and five assists for the Anchormen.



 Sophomore forward Justin Campbell


Southern Maine (5-9, 0-4 LEC) was paced by senior guard Zach Leal (York, ME) with a game-high 32 points, four rebounds and four assists, while senior forward James Starks III (Miami, FL) narrowly missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds.


Southern Maine held a 14-9 advantage after a jumper by Starks with 14:59 left in the first half. RIC responded with a 10-3 run, capped by a conventional three-point play from Smith, to take a 19-17 lead with 12:12 on the clock. The Anchormen then used a 15-1 run and held the 34-18 advantage on a three-pointer by Batista with just under seven minutes remaining in the first frame. RIC took a 42-30 lead heading into the locker room at halftime. The Anchormen shot 48.5 percent (16-of-33) from the field in the first half and outrebounded the Huskies by a 24-18 margin.


The host Huskies chipped away at the lead in the early stages of the second half and tied the game, 51-51, on a layup by Starks with 14:42 remaining on the clock. USM went ahead by five, 56-51, on after a three-point play by Leal with just over 13 minutes left on the clock. The two teams then battled back and forth with the score tied, 69-69, with 5:54 remaining. RIC then used a 10-3 run, capped by a layup from Campbell, for the 79-72 lead with 3:12 on the clock. Southern Maine cut the lead down to just two points several times down the stretch, but it wouldn’t be enough as RIC went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the last 20 seconds to hang on for the 86-83 victory.


RIC shot 47.7 percent (31-of-65) from the field, 42.1 percent (8-for-19) from behind the three-point stripe and 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the free throw line. Southern Maine shot 50.7 percent (34-of-57) from the field, 44.0 percent (11-of-25) from three-point land and 44.4 percent (4-for-9) from the free throw line.


In upcoming action, RIC will continue Little East Conference action at home against Keene State on Saturday, Jan. 14 (3 p.m.).