KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College men's basketball team trimmed a 12-point second half deficit to one, but UMass Dartmouth closed the game on an 8-0 run to hand the Owls an 80-71 loss in Little East action Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 5-3, 2-1 LEC
- UMass Dartmouth: 6-4, 2-1 LEC
How It Happened
Miguel Prieto paced the Owls with 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Ty Nichols added 17 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals, while James Anozie had 12 points, five rebounds and a steal. UMass Dartmouth got a 21 point, five rebound, five assist performance from Jake Ashworth, and 15 points and 13 rebounds from Arinze Obiora.
The visitors took an early 7-2 lead at the 15:55 mark when Atakan Akcam, who scored UMD's first seven points, canned a three. Trailing 10-4, the Owls scored seven straight to go ahead for the first time. Prieto made a twisting layup and Anozie two free throws for an 11-10 KSC lead with just over 12 minutes left in the half. Prieto canned another jumper moments later to put the Owls back up one, but UMass Dartmouth answered with an Ashworth three that put them up 17-15, and they never trailed again. The Corsairs' lead grew to 29-21 with Sean Leahy's triple at the 5:37 mark, and they later turned a four-point lead into a nine-point cushion on Adam Seablom's bucket and Marcus Azor's three. The Owls got within 36-32 on Nichols' trey and two Prieto free throws with just over two minutes left, but UMass Dartmouth led 41-35 at halftime.
Keene State threatened in the second half but never got over the hump. An early layup from Sidi Diallo had the deficit down to three again at 44-41, but Ashworth answered with a three. The Owls got buckets from Anozie and Prieto to get right back within two, but Ashworth was fouled taking a shot from long distance and made all three from the line, and on the next possession Azor's jumper made it a 52-45 game. Keene State never got closer than that margin until the 8:31 mark when layups from Nichols and Diallo made it 61-56. UMass Dartmouth quickly regained separation, though, as a layup from Obiora put them up 10 with 7:33 left and, later, Seablom's three made it 72-60 with just 5:36 left. The Owls had a final run in them, as a three from Paul Mahon sparked an 11-0 burst in less than three minutes that made it 72-71 with 2:39 on the clock, but they did not score again. The home team had a chance to take the lead for the first time since the first half after Nichols stole the ball from Azor, but KSC returned the favor and watched Obiora can a jumper on the other end for a 74-71 lead at the 1:48 mark. The Owls misfired on a three on the ensuing possession, and eventually fell behind by four on Obiora's free throw with just under a minute to go. His three point play in the final 20 seconds made it 78-71 and all but sealed the game.
Inside the Paint
- The Owls' 40% (22-of-55) shooting performance was their second lowest of the season. They also made just 6-of-21 (28%) from three. UMass Dartmouth shot 43% and 32%, respectively.
- UMass Dartmouth had not won at Spaulding Gymnasium since 2011 and is 5-19 all-time in Keene. The Owls are 30-20 all-time against the Corsairs.
- Prieto's 23-point performance marked his highest scoring game of the season and were four shy of his career high. His seven rebounds were also a season-best mark.
- Keene State now has three weeks off before they travel to Lancaster, Pa. for the Sponaugle New Year's Tournament on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College. They first take on Rowan University on Saturday, December 29 at 1:00 pm. The other game features the host Diplomats and Delaware Valley University.
- UMass Dartmouth closes the pre-break schedule with a home game against Tufts University on Monday, December 10 at 7:00 pm.