Danbury, Conn. – Senior forward Chris Burton became the 32nd Rhode Island College men’s basketball player to reach the 1,000-point milestone, finishing the game with 16 points, as the Anchormen’s late rally fell short in an 84-76 loss to Little East Conference rival Western Connecticut at Feldman Arena on Tuesday night.
The two teams battled back and forth, with a Burton layup knotting the score at 15-15 with 10:26 left in the first half. The teams would trade the lead in the ensuing moments, with a jumper from RIC (15-7, 7-4 LEC) senior center Victor Smith (Providence, RI) to put the Anchormen up, 23-22, with 6:41 remaining.
The Colonials (14-8, 6-5 LEC) responded, opening a 28-25 lead on a jumper by junior guard Jeremiah Washington (Bridgeport, CT) with 4:11 left in the half. RIC bounced back and a layup by freshman guard Roosevelt Shider (Meriden, CT) gave the Anchormen the 33-32 lead entering the break.
Burton wasted no time making history in the second half, scoring his 1,000th and 1001st career points on a jumper just 1:50 into the stanza. RIC senior guard Eric Alleyne (Watertown, MA) upped the RIC lead to five, 49-44, before Western began their comeback. The Colonials used a 25-8 run to take a 12-point, 69-57, advantage with just 4:13 to play. A pair of Alleyne free throws with 57 seconds left cut the Colonials’ lead down to three, 77-74, but the rally would fall just short.
Washington had a monster game for the Colonials, scoring 22 points off the bench on a perfect 7-for-7 mark from the floor. Western shot 49.1 percent (28-for-57) from the field, a scorching 52.6 percent (10-for-19) from three-point land and 62.1 percent (18-for-29) from the free throw line.
Burton finished with a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards, while Alleyne scored 19 in the defeat. Smith had a solid performance off the bench for the Anchormen, scoring 15 and going a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe. RIC finished the game shooting 48.3 percent (28-for-58) from the field, 77.3 percent (17-for-22) from the charity stripe, while struggling from downtown, being held to 20.0 percent (3-for-15).
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference action at home against Southern Maine on Saturday, Feb. 14 (3 p.m.).