KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College men's basketball team received 30 points from newcomers in their 2019-20 home opener, but it was not enough as the Owls fell to preseason-No. 13 Middlebury College 92-82 Tuesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 1-2
- No. 13 Middlebury: 3-0
How It Happened
The Owls put five in double-figures, paced by a breakout 14-point effort on 6-of-10 shooting by Nyzair Rountree off the bench, who also grabbed a career-high tying nine rebounds. Marcus McCarthy chipped in 13 points, four rebounds, six assists without a turnover, and a steal. DeVon Beasley scored 12 points, while Jeff Hunter and James Anozie each scored 11. Beasley, Hunter, Rountree and McCarthy combined to shoot 21-of-35 on the evening, but KSC was undone by 15 turnovers and 13-of-24 shooting at the foul line. Middlebury was led by standout Jack Farrell, who poured in 24 more points against Keene State after scoring 30 last year. He made 10-of-15 from the field and and added five assists and five steals. Matt Folger filled the statsheet with 19 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Tommy Eastman (13) and Ryan Cahill (11) scored in double-figures off the Panther bench, which contributed 30 points after combining for 18 in their first two games.
Keene State and Middlebury opened the first half by piling up points in a hurry, combining to score 24 before the initial media timeout four minutes in. Edwin Ezedonmwen had the Owls up 5-4 with an early three, but the Panthers got one of their own from Max Bosco and layup from Jack Farrell for a four-point edge (11-7) at the 17:04 mark. Neither team led by more than that margin until KSC rattled off eight consecutive points to turn an 18-16 deficit into a 24-18 lead, capped off by McCarthy's triple with just under 10 minutes to go in the opening half. The Owls maintained a six-point edge (27-21) not even a minute later, but Middlebury turned the game around by outscoring the Owls 16-2 over a span of nearly four minutes. Two free throws from Folger put the visitors back in front (28-27), and they were far from done, going up 37-29 on Perry DeLorenzo's three. Rountree cut the Owl deficit to seven with just under four minutes until halftime, but three consecutive Middlebury baskets, including two from Bosco, made it 45-33. The Panthers kept a double-digit lead until Beasley knocked down a three with five seconds left to make it 49-42 at the break.
The Owls hung around for the vast majority of the second half, getting as close as one with 10 minutes to go, but Middlebury always had a response on offense and kept KSC chasing the entire time. Two free throws from Rountree with 15:22 to go brought KSC back within four (55-51), the closest they had been since it was 32-29, but Farrell and Eastman helped bump the visitors' lead right back to nine not even a minute later. The theme continued, with the Owls once again mounting an 11-3 charge to get back within one (64-63) after a layup by Rountree and trey from Beasley, but Folger assisted on Farrell's three on the very next possession to put the Panthers up four. Another bucket by Beasley with 7:02 left kept the deficit at four, but that was as close as Keene State got, as Folger buried a three and Bosco made a floater on the next two possessions for a 76-67 edge. Leading 78-73 at the 4:51 mark, Middlebury put the game away by scoring nine straight points in exactly one minute to make it 87-73. Cahill and Farrell made triples to begin that stretch, turning what had been a five-point lead into a comfortable 11-point gap. Ben Olson made a layup to trim the deficit to nine with just over two minutes to go, but the Owls never got any closer after that.
Inside the Paint
- Keene State made 31-of-68 (46%) from the field and Middlebury 31-of-70 (44%), while the Panthers made 12-of-35 (34%) from long range and KSC 7-of-21 (33%). The Owls were outscored 18-13 at the foul line, making just 54% from the charity stripe. Each team got to the line 24 times. Keene State was also outscored 15-2 in fastbreak points.
- Middlebury improved to 7-5 in the all-time series, with the teams playing at least once every season since 2011-12.
- The 14-point effort was a career-high for Rountree, while McCarthy has started his KSC career by averaging 13 points on 63% shooting in the first three games. He also has 11 assists and five steals, while turning it over just three times. Hunter also had a pair of double-digit efforts in the first three contests, making 14-of-23 shots.
- Keene State hosts Hamilton College on Saturday, November 23 for a 2:00 pm tip-off.
- Middlebury heads to SUNY-Canton for the second of five consecutive road games on Thursday, November 21 for a 6:00 pm start.