'WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -Sophomore forward Tyler Kathan had 16 points and 14 rebounds to lead four double-figure scores as the Keene State College men's basketball team downed Eastern Connecticut State University, 79-71, in Little East Conference action Tuesday night at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.
With its tenth road win in 12 outings, Keene State (18-4, 8-3 little east) evens the season series against Eastern (11-9, 5-6 little east) as it hands the Warriors their fourth conference loss in their last five conference games.
Despite the win, Keene remains in second place in the conference, one game behind leader Rhode Island College. Rhode Island downed homestanding Western Connecticut State University, 76-66, Tuesday night. Eastern remains in fifth place, but falls two games back of fourth-place UMass Dartmouth. The Corsairs (7-4) beat visiting UMass Boston, 89-81, Tuesday. The top four finishers in the regular-season standings host first-round LEC tournament games in two weeks.
"I thought we executed our offense very well and made some big baskets down the stretch," said KSC Coach Rob Colbert. "Travon Little went strong to the rim and Anthony Licitra gave us some big minutes off the bench in the late stages of the game.
"I'm proud of our kids, Colbert added. "They didn't get rattled when Eastern made their runs. They're a tough team to play, so coming out of here with a win is huge, especially at this point of the season."
Rated second in the conference in scoring, Kathan had managed only 11 points and five rebounds in the 73-71 loss to the Warriors three weeks ago at Spaulding Gym. In the second half this time, Kathan had ten points and seven rebounds. He was 4-for-6 from the stipe in the second half and teammate David Sontag was 7-for-8 as Keene sank 22 of 26 free throws after the berak.
Leading by six at halftime, Keen extended the margin to 11 two minutes into the second half before the Warriors ran off seven straight points over the next three minutes- five by senior guard Matt Albon (Middlebury/Holy Cross HS) - to pull to within four, 41-37. With Keene still holding a four-point lead moments later, junior forward Nick Drouin dropped in a layup and junior guard Kevin Ritter completed a three-point play with a free throw to push the advantage to nine, 46-37.
Junior forward Travon Little added 12 points to a balanced Keene offense, with junior guard David Sontag adding 11 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Matt Hickey ten points.
Senior guard Mike Parker (Windsor/Northwest Catholic HS), whose buzzer-beater gave Eastern its earlier win over Keene, led Eastern with 17 points and seven assists, junior forward Ivan Pinder (Baltimore, MD/Fitch (CT) HS) a career-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds off the bench, and freshman guard Edwin Ortiz (Hartford/East Catholic HS) 11 points and a career-high seven rebounds.
KSC travels to Western Conn. on Saturday (1 p.m.)Eastern hosts SUNY Purchase Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
(Courtesy ECSU Sports Information)