DANBURY, Conn. - Western Connecticut State University outscored the Keene State College men's basketball team by 21 points from the foul line, and that was enough to send the Owls to a fourth straight loss, 75-67, in a Little East Conference game Wednesday night at Feldman Arena.
- Keene State: 5-11, 4-4 LEC
- Western Connecticut: 11-6, 5-3 LEC
How It Happened
The Owls began on the right foot, as they did not trail in the opening ten minutes, but Western Connecticut then embarked on a 12-0 surge to turn a 17-13 deficit into a 25-17 lead with 6:29 left in the opening half and led most of the rest of the way, winning despite shooting 30 percent from the field, including an even lower 29.6 percent in the second half. Keene State, which made just 8-of-28 from long range and 3-of-8 at the foul line, got a team-leading 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from Edwin Ezedonmwen. Miguel Prieto added 11 points, five assists, two rebounds and two steals, while James Anozie had 10 points (5-8 FG) and seven rebounds. The Colonials got 20 points apiece from Ahmod Privott and Fenton Bradley. Privott made 3-of-5 from deep and all nine foul shots while also having seven rebounds and two assists. Bradley completed a double-double with 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Shea Tracy finished with 12 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists for WCSU, who had lost three of their previous four games.
As mentioned, the early-going was friendly to Keene State, as Nyzair Rountree dunked on the Owls' first possession and Ezedonmwen canned a three a minute later for a 5-2 lead. Privott made a long shot of his own to tie the game at nine at the 15:58 mark, but KSC stayed in front, going up 15-11 after a layup by Anozie just over four minutes later. A flush by Jeff Hunter with 9:56 left in the half still had the Owls ahead by that same margin (17-13), but Keene State then went scoreless for over three minutes as Western sprinted in front with a 12-0 surge. During that time, Tracy made two threes while KSC went 0-for-3 (all from long range) and turned the ball over three times. The Owls tied the game (25-25) just as quickly, with Nick Redden and Ezedonmwen connecting from long range before Sidi Diallo scored inside with 5:10 to go. A 9-3 surge over the next 2:32 put WestConn back up by six, but four straight points from Rountree in the final three minutes helped KSC edge ahead 35-34. Tracy responded with his third three of the half to put WCSU up by two at the break, as the Owls' 11 turnovers negated 50 percent shooting (5-of-12 from three).
A layup by Anozie and a three by Prieto within the first six minutes of the second half helped put KSC in front again (45-42), but the Owls, who made just 13-of-36 shots in the second half (3-of-16 from three), could not sustain any momentum. Bradley canned a three at the 13:58 mark to put WestConn in front 46-45, and the home team never trailed again. Tied at 50 with 9:28 to go, the Colonials' Legend Johnson scored inside to kickoff an 8-1 burst that took nearly four minutes, culminating with a Privott triple. Prieto and Redden scored in quick succession to keep KSC within reach at 58-55 with four mintues to go, but the Owls then went over two minutes without scoring and trailed 63-55. Anozie and Diallo scored on consecutive possessions to make it a four-point game and keep KSC's light on for the moment, but Bradley answered with a three-point play that made it 66-59, and that just about did it for the Owls' hopes, as despite getting within four three more times in the final 58 seconds, they never got any closer. WestConn made eight field goals, four from three, in the final 20 minutes, but outscored KSC 18-3 at the charity stripe, which included making 9-of-10 in the final minute. Their 24 made free throws matched a season-high that was also done in a two-point win at the University of Southern Maine.
Inside the Paint
- Anozie needs 50 more points to become the 37th Owl to reach the 1,000 career-point milestone. He is averaging 13.2 points per game in his career.
- Keene State has shot 42 percent or lower in each game of the losing skid, and is 17-of-84 (20%) from three-point range in that span.
- Western's 30 percent effort from the floor was by far a season-low. Their previous low watermark was a 37.3 percent showing at UMass-Boston in an 83-75 overtime loss.
- The Owls had not lost at Western Connecticut since February 13, 2016. The Colonials had dropped seven straight overall to KSC since, five by double-figures.
- Keene State goes to UMass-Boston on Saturday, January 25 for a 3:00 pm tip-off.
- Western Connecticut hosts Southern Maine the same day and time.