CASTLETON, Vt. - James Anozie scored four points in the final 1:07, including a game-winning layup as time expired, to help the Keene State College men's basketball team finish on a 7-2 run to beat Castleton University 58-56 in the Little East Conference opener for both teams Wednesday night at Glenbrook Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 2-5, 1-0 LEC
- Castleton: 1-5, 0-1 LEC
How It Happened
The win was a grind for the Owls, who made 12-of-26 from three-point range but scored just 22 points (two on free throws) inside the arc and found themselves trailing 54-51 with just over three minutes to go. Marcus McCarthy scored a team-leading 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting (4-of-6 from three) and added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. DeVon Beasley had 14 points while making four of eight from deep, and Edwin Ezedonmwen rounded out the double-figure scorers with 11. Castleton was paced by Remy Brown, who scored 19 points, 15 of which came in the first half. He made 6-of-7 from the field, 3-of-4 from long distance, and 4-of-5 at the free throw line.
The game was played within a ten-point window, as Keene State's largest lead was seven and Castleton's three. The Owls' biggest gap came early on, as they began the game on a 14-7 burst fueled by four threes over the opening 5:50. Ezedonmwen started the game off with a pair of treys before McCarthy and Beasley each made one of their own. KSC still maintained an 18-11 edge at the 12:29 mark of the opening half, but Brown kept his team in the game, as he ran off a personal 8-0 run to put the Spartans ahead by one just over a minute later. Keene State answered, holding Castleton to just six points over the next eight minutes while rebuilding a 32-25 edge on another Beasley three with 3:31 to go until the break, but did not score again in the half and settled for a three-point lead at halftime (32-29). The Owls made 8-of-16 from three in the first half and led despite making just four other field goals.
Castleton scored eight consecutive points early in the second half to go ahead 37-35, and from there it was close all the way to the finish, with neither team leading by more than five points. Triples by Nick Redden and Beasley helped restore a five-point advantage (44-39) with 12:21 to go as KSC finished a 9-2 run, but then did not score in nearly six minutes and watched the Spartans go ahead 47-44, matching their largest lead which previously came at the 19:52 mark of the first half. Keene State did not lead again until the buzzer. A three by Ezedonmwen tied the game at 49 with just over four minutes to go, and McCarthy's layup made it 51-51 about 30 seconds later, but Demauriaye Smith made a three on Castleton's next possession to make it 54-51 with 3:08 left. McCarthy answered with one of his own to tie it once more, but Brown made two from the line with 1:33 to go to still keep the Spartans, who have lost 11 straight home games and have not won at Glenbrook Gym since November 13 of last year, ahead 56-54. Anozie saved Keene State from ending that streak and giving CU their first win as a member of the Little East Conference. The Owl big man scored to tie the game again after he was fed by Ezedonmwen, who rebounded his own miss with just over a minute to go, and eventually scored at the buzzer after McCarthy drove down the left size and fed the ball to Jeff Hunter, who found Anozie cutting for the game-winning layup.
Inside the Paint
- The Owls' 58 points are the fewest they have scored in a victory since January 5, 2016, also against Castleton (a 55-43 win that featured 81 shots total between the two teams). Tonight saw the teams combine for 107 shots. KSC shot 39% (22-of-57) overall and the Spartans 36% (18-of-50).
- McCarthy has scored in double-figures in all seven games as an Owl so far, and is shooting 54% overall and 41% from three in the process.
- Keene State has won seven of nine all-time meetings.
- Keene State returns home for their final game in three weeks, as they host LEC foe UMass-Boston on Saturday, December 7. Tip-off is at 3:00 pm. The Kurn Hattin Homes for Children Acapella Choir from Westminster, Vt., under the direction of Keene State alum Lisa Bianconi, will be performing at Saturday's doubleheader, which begins at 1:00 pm with the women's game.
- Castleton travels for a conference game at UMass-Dartmouth on the same day at 2:00 pm.