GORHAM, Maine--The Keene State College men's basketball team fell 90-71 to the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference game played on Fifield Court on Saturday.
- Keene State: 14-7, 7-3 LEC
- Southern Maine: 8-13, 3-7 LEC
How it Happened
Senior Matt Ozzella led all scorers with 24 points and 10 rebounds on 8-for-11 shooting. Senior Jeff Lunn added 16 points and nine rebounds, while sophomore Ty Nichols had 14 points and three assists.
For USM, James Starks III was 8-for-12 from the field and 7-for-10 from the free throw line for a team-high 23 points, adding 16 rebounds and four assists. Junior Christian McCue added 18 points, while seniors Jalen Lincoln and Jacob Littlefield scored 14 and 13 points each.
KSC scored the first bucket of the game on a steal and a layup from Lunn, but it was the only time USM would trail in the contest answering back with a three from Littlefield on its next possession. Leading by a bucket, 12-10, after the first five minutes of action, USM rattled off a 10-2 run to snag a 22-12 advantage with 12:12 to play. Starks scored eight of the Huskies' 10 points in the run.
USM held a comfortable advantage for much of the first half and led by 12, 37-25, on a layup from Starks with 4:20 remaining, before Owls rallied to trim their deficit to two baskets over the next three minutes. After Starks' layup, KSC's Ozzella sandwiched a three and a layup around a USM basket, before Lunn and Ozzella went for back-to-back scored to make it 39-34 in favor of USM with 1:28 to play. However, Littlefield canned a jumper on the Huskies' next possession to give USM a 41-37 lead at the break.
In the second half, KSC pulled to within two possessions of the Huskies four times in the opening 10 minutes but were never able to put together a long enough run. After a three from senior Jaquel Edwards (Manchester, Conn.) had KSC behind the Huskies 62-57 with 9:16 to go, the Huskies outscored the Owls 11-4 over the next three minutes to take a 73-61 lead. Four different players scored in the run for USM, including a three from Lincoln, and a layup from Starks. From there, USM closed out the final six minutes outscoring KSC 17-10 for the win.
In the Paint
- The Owls and Huskies split the season series for the second year in a row. Keene State leads the all-time series 35-7, but has won just once in the last four meetings in Gorham.
- It was the 10th double-double of the year for Ozzella, who moved into 28th place on the KSC all-time scoring list; he now has 1,058 points. Up next is John Jennings, who is 27th with 1,060 points.
- Despite the loss, the Owls remain one game back of Eastern Connecticut State University in the LEC standings. The Warriors fell to Plymouth State 83-79 on Saturday.
- The Owls return home to host Plymouth State University on an LEC contest on February 8 at 7:30 p.m.
- Southern Maine will be in action that same day, traveling to UMass Boston for a 7:30 p.m. start.
(Parts of this story courtesy Southern Maine)