Providence, R.I. – Senior forward Chris Burton and senior guard Eric Alleyne each tallied 18 points, while the Rhode Island College defense held Keene State 31 points below their season average, as the Anchormen topped the Owls, 74-58, in Little East Conference men’s basketball action at The Murray Center on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams traded baskets throughout the first 10 minutes of the game with the Anchormen (10-3, 2-1 LEC) holding a 12-11 lead over the Owls (9-2, 2-1 LEC) with 9:54 left in the first half.
Keene State opened a three point lead, 17-14, on a layup from sophomore guard Matt Ozzella (Medway, MA) off a feed from senior guard Tom Doyle (Wallingford, CT) with 7:21 left. The Anchormen then used an 11-4 run, keyed by four points by sophomore forward Terrance Tribble (White Plains, NY), to take a four point advantage into the locker room, 25-21.
RIC shot 37.5 percent (9-for-24) from the field in the half, while Keene shot 37.0 percent (10-for-27).
The Anchormen came out of the break strong, opening a seven point lead 4:01 into the half when Tribble took a feed from Alleyne and notched a layup. The Owls battled back and cut the lead down to one, 41-40, when sophomore forward Jaquel Edwards (Manchester, CT) scored off a feed from freshman guard Dizel Wright (Springfield, MA) with just over nine minutes remaining.
A Doyle three with 8:18 left to play trimmed the RIC lead down to two, 45-43, which is as close as the Owls would get the rest of the game. The Anchormen used a stifling defense, as well as high-flying offense, down the stretch to increase the lead to 15, 64-49, on a Burton dunk with 2:36 left to play. With both teams in foul trouble, the final three minutes turned in to a free throw contest with the Anchormen coming out on top, increasing their lead to 16 to close out the game, 74-58.
The Owls were paced by Doyle’s 16 points, while junior center Nate Howard (Cheshire, CT) finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards. KSC shot 34.4 percent (21-for-61) from the field, while shooting 23.1 percent (3-for-13) from behind the three-point arc and 44.8 percent (13-for-29) from the free throw line.
RIC was paced by Burton and Alleyne, who each scored 18, and Tribble’s near double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Senior center Victor Smith (Providence, RI) rounded out the Anchormen in double figures with 10 points. The Anchormen shot 52.3 percent (23-for-44) from the field, 12.5 percent (1-for-8) from downtown and a solid 71.1 percent (27-for-38) from the foul line.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference action at Southern Maine on Tuesday, Jan. 13 (7:30 p.m.).