NEW LONDON, N.H. - Freshman Jeff Hunter had the most impressive performance so far in his young career, totaling 21 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks as the Keene State College men's basketball team pulled away from Colby-Sawyer College, winning 88-73 at Coffin Field House in a rare Monday night game.
- Keene State: 6-12
- Colby-Sawyer: 7-10
How It Happened
Hunter's effort came on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 9-of-10 at the foul line, where is 14 of his last 16. The Owls had three other double-figure scorers, including DeVon Beasley, who finished with 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting from deep and 6-of-9 at the foul line while adding four rebounds, two assists and a steal. James Anozie added 14 points and seven rebounds, and Sidi Diallo contributed 12 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Overall, KSC shot 52 percent (28-of-54) from the field while snapping a five-game losing streak, a stretch in which they had second half leads of at least eight points in four of the games. Dana Bean and Kyle Landrigan each scored 17 points to lead Colby-Sawyer, but the Chargers were limited to 35 percent shooting overall and 6-of-24 from long range.
Despite the contest being close for most of the evening, Keene State only trailed once, at the 18:19 mark of the first half when Jake Lorman converted a three-point play for a 3-2 edge. Hunter immediately answered with a bucket, and that started a 10-4 burst for the Owls over the next three minutes to make it 12-7. A triple by Nick Redden at the 13:37 mark extended it to an eight-point edge for KSC, but as happened repeatedly in the opening 35 minutes of the game, Colby-Sawyer responded, not letting the game get too far out of reach. After Hunter scored inside with a little under nine minutes to go in the opening half to make it 24-15, CSC tallied the next five and eventually got within 26-24 after two free throws from Bean with 6:54 left in the half. KSC looked like they might take a more comfortable edge into the break after two treys from Beasley sandwiched a jumper by Jaylen Franklin, making it 38-28 with just over two minutes to go, but the Chargers outscored the Owls 8-0 after that, culminating with a pair of deep shots by Landrigan that cut Colby-Sawyer's deficit to 38-36 at halftime.
The trend did not change coming out of the locker rooms, as KSC struck with a 9-0 burst in less than four minutes to lead 47-36 after Franklin found Diallo for a jumper at the 16:05 mark, only to see CSC 11 of the next 12 points in barely over two minutes to get right back within one (48-47). A pair of Beasley three-pointers on consecutive possessions helped restore the Owl lead to five, which it remained with 10:50 left after Anozie's layup made it 58-53. Down by seven with nine minutes to go, the Chargers embarked on another push, as Bean dunked and then canned a jumper on back-to-back trips bring his team within 62-61 with 7:50 to go. However, the home team was then held scoreless for nearly three minutes as Keene State ran off nine straight points to break out to a double-digit lead (71-61) once again after Hunter found Anozie for back-to-back scores. That run proved to help decide the game for good, as Colby-Sawyer never got closer than six afterward, and as soon as they did, the star of the night Hunter put back a miss and made the ensuing free throw after being fouled, making it 77-68 with 2:51 left. A steal by Hunter that led into a flush by Diallo made it 79-70 a minute later, and after CSC once again got within two possessions after a three-point play by Bean, Diallo drained a three for an 82-73 lead with 79 seconds remaining. KSC wound up finishing the game on a 9-0 burst to win going away.
Inside the Paint
- Hunter, who has 12 double-digit scoring performances this season and now three double-doubles, is still shooting 54 percent overall on the season, good for second in the Little East Conference. Anozie follows him in third.
- KSC's 52 percent shooting effort is their highest since November 16 at Salem State. They had not shot better than 42 percent since an 89-70 win at Plymouth State University on January 7.
- Keene State has won 12 of 15 all-time meetings with Colby-Sawyer, including the last 10 in a row.
- The Owls home after three straight on the road to host conference opponent Castleton University (2-16, 1-8 LEC) on Wednesday, January 29 at 7:30 pm. KSC will honor the fall student-athletes who garnered awards that evening.
- Colby-Sawyer continues a four-game homestand on the same night when they host Norwich University (3-14, 0-4 GNAC).