Providence, R.I.–Rhode Island College sophomore guard Chris Green (Taunton, MA) scored a team-best 12 points, with freshman guard Gianni Carwin (Stamford, CT) adding 10 points of his own, as the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team fell, 62-48, to Little East Conference rival Keene State at The Murray Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Anchormen (5-20, 4-10 LEC) opened the game quickly, with a three-pointer by Green putting the hosts up, 12-6, with just 4:50 gone by in the first half. The Owls (15-10, 8-6 LEC) responded with an 8-2 run, capped by a layup from freshman forward Ty Nichols (Springfield, MA), to knot the game at 14 apiece with 12:59 remaining in the half.
Keene was able to extend its advantage to five, 22-17, following a layup from senior center Nate Howard (Cheshire, CT) with 6:28 remaining in the half, but the Anchormen were able to close the gap, tying the game at 22-all following a three by Carwin with 2:28 left in the half. With Keene State up by two and time running down in the half, Keene state senior guard Nate Stitchell (Coventry, RI) stepped up, burying a three-pointer as time expired to send the Owls into the locker room with a five-point 27-22 lead.
RIC shot 36.0 percent (9-for-25) from the field in the half, with the Owls shooting 46.2 percent (12-for-26) from the floor.
Keene State wasted no time ballooning its advantage in the second stanza, opening the period on a 12-2 run over the first 4:08 to take a commanding, 39-24, advantage. The Owls continued to slowly build their lead, with a jumper by Nichols with 7:26 remaining in the contest putting the Owls up by 18, 55-37. The Anchormen reserves battled back, with a trey from sophomore guard Malcolm Smith (Old Orchard Beach, ME) cutting the deficit down to 11, 55-44, with 5:12 remaining in the contest. KSC regained its composure, and a three by Stitchell with 2:15 remaining in the game dashed any hope of a comeback as it put the visitors up by 18, 62-44. Green and Smith scored on back-to-back possessions, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Owls walked away with a 62-48 victory.
RIC shot 39.6 percent (21-for-53) from the field, 27.8 percent (5-for-18) from three-point range and 25 percent (1-for-4) from the charity stripe. Green’s 12 points led all Anchormen scorers with Carwin’s 10 putting him second on the squad. Smith scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds off the bench in the loss.
Keene State shot 43.1 percent (25-for-58) from the field, 23.8 percent (5-for-21) from long range and 63.6 percent (7-for-11) from the free throw line. Howard led all scorers with 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Nichols scored 15 points on 70.0 percent (7-of-10) shooting from the field, while Stitchell rounded out the Keene State players in double figures with 12 points to go along with a game-high six assists.
In upcoming action, No. 7 Rhode Island College will travel to second-seeded Southern Maine in opening round action of the 2016 Little East Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 23 (7:30 p.m.).