PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Shion Darby, Keyshaun Jacobs and Benjamin Vezele combined to score 72 of Rhode Island College's 76 points as the Anchormen ran past the cold-shooting Keene State College men's basketball team 76-60 Saturday afternoon in Little East action at The Murray Center.
- Keene State: 5-9, 4-2 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 12-3, 5-1 LEC
How It Happened
The Owls had just one player reach double-figures and never led in their second straight loss and fourth in the past six games. Freshman Jeff Hunter made 6-of-12 shots and finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double in the past week and fourth straight double-digit scoring effort. He has shot 59% so far in his rookie campaign. Keene State's next highest scorer was DeVon Beasley, who scored nine. The Owls shot 32% as a team overall (23-of-71), 4-of-20 (20%) from three-point range and 10-of-19 (53%) at the foul line. In a first half that saw them outscored by 20, KSC made only 7-of-34 shots from the floor (21%). Darby led the Anchormen with 26 points, while Jacobs made 5-of-6 threes and scored 23. Vezele also scored 23 and had 19 rebounds, six offensive. Rhode Island College shot 38% (24-of-63) overall in the game and 20-of-26 on free throws (77%) to rebound from a blowout loss at Western Connecticut State University Thursday night.
RIC scored the opening five points of the game and led 10-4 at the 15:58 mark after Jacobs made a three and Vezele two free throws. James Anozie was fouled while making a layup and sunk the ensuing free throw to bring Keene State within two (10-8) a minute later, but the Owls then did not score for the next four minutes and were outscored 13-0 to fall behind 23-8 with 10:58 left in the half. KSC never got the deficit below double-figures in the game after that, and eventually trailed 27-11 after a dunk by Vezele just over halfway through the period. Leading 32-17 with five minutes to go, Rhode Island College went on an 11-5 run to widen the lead to 21 points with under a minute left in the half. Keene State turned the ball over 13 times in the opening 20 minutes and trailed 43-23 at the break.
The Owls never made any kind of dent in the deficit until there were seven minutes remaining in the game. In fact, after the teams each scored nine points over the opening six minutes of the second half, RIC then rattled off a 7-0 run that featured two layups from Vezele and a three from Jacobs to lead 59-32 at the 12:26 mark. Keene State finally found some offense, as they embarked on a 12-2 surge that took a little over three minutes to get within 61-44. A three from Tony Harris and layups from Jeric Cichon and Hunter helped the Owls score seven more points in a row a short time later, as KSC made it 63-51 with 4:05 left. However, the Owls never got any closer. The Anchormen made four free throws on the next two possessions to lead by 16 again with a little over three minutes remaining, and after Beasley made a three for Keene State, RIC's Jacobs hit right back with one of his own at the 2:45 mark to make it 70-54 and end what faint hope the Owls might have had.
Inside the Paint
- The Owls cleaned up the turnovers in the second half, committing only eight, but were outscored 27-9 off turnovers overall in the game. KSC was also outscored by 10 at the foul line.
- Keene State had won five games in a row against RIC by an average of 19 points and the last two at The Murray Center by a combined 40 points.
- KSC has trailed at halftime nine times in 14 games with the deficits averaging 10.6 points. They have been outscored by 4.3 points overall in the opening 20 minutes this season. Keene State is 3-2 when they lead at the half and 2-7 when they trail (UMass-Boston, Plymouth State).
- Hunter's 58.6% shooting on the season continues to lead the conference (among qualified players).
- Keene State hosts UMass-Dartmouth (9-6, 4-2 LEC) on Wednesday, January 15 for an earlier than usual 6:00 pm start.
- Rhode Island College goes to Eastern Connecticut State University (7-7, 3-2 LEC) the same night.