NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Freshmen Miguel Prieto and James Anozie combined for 39 points as the Keene State College men's basketball team picked up an 84-80 win over LaGrange College (Ga.) at the Music City Classic at Volunteer State Community College on Friday evening.
- Keene State: 8-2
- LaGrange: 4-5
How it Happened
The Owls shot 33-for-57 (57.9%) from the field and forced 23 turnovers to pick up their seventh straight win. Prieto finished with a career high 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting, with four rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while Anozie converted seven of 10 field goal attempts to finish with 16 points while grabbing a team high eight boards in 24 minutes off the bench. Ty Nichols added 15 points with four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Alex Bonner paced LaGrange with 17 points, while Julian Cameron and Gary Bishop added 15 points apiece.
Anozie's putback of a miss from DeVon Beasley gave Keene State an 8-3 lead at the 15:48 mark, and the Owls' big man had another offensive board and hoop for a 14-8 lead with 13:23 left in the first half. Back-to-back baskets from Bishop, including a three pointer with 10:45 to go, cut the lead to 21-20, and the Panthers went in front for the first time (25-23) when Bonner drilled a three with 7:51 left in the half.
Keene State responded with a 16-5 run over the next five minutes, going up 39-30 with 2:22 left in the half on Nichols' steal and layup. The Panthers scored the final nine points of the half to send the game into the break tied at 39.
After the two teams traded baskets to open the second half, the Owls used threes from Sidi Diallo and Prieto to take a 47-43 lead, and Nichols converted a conventional three point play for a 52-45 advantage. Two free throws from Prieto made it 54-47, but Shannon Holt made good on a four point play opportunity to keep it a three point contest, before the Panthers went up 58-57 on a triple from Jack McCormack.
LaGrange extended the lead to 70-65 with free throws from Julian Cameron and Travis Thompson, but the Owls would rally, as Dizel Wright put back a miss from Prieto, who would nail a three on the Owls' next possession to tie the game at 73. Bonner made three free throws with 2:58 to go for a 77-73 advantage, but Prieto dominated the final three minutes. The freshman found Anozie for a layup that cut the lead to 80-79, then made a key steal and fed Diallo for a go-ahead layup with 51 seconds left. Next time down the court, he did it again, picking the pocket of Elijah Adedoyin and going coast to coast for the layup and an 83-80 lead.
After two missed three pointers by LaGrange, he then made 1-of-2 shots from the line to salt away the win.
In the Paint
- The win was the 50th in the career of KSC third year head coach Ryan Cain. The Owls' bench boss sports a 50-22 (.694) record in his career.
- The Owls' win streak is the longest since the 2015-16 team won seven straight. The 2014-15 team began the season with eight straight wins.
- It was a matchup of two NCAA tournament teams from a year ago; the Panthers have won the USA South Athletic Conference four years in a row.
- Both teams remain in Nashville; Keene State will play Ohio Northern on Saturday at 2 p.m., while LaGrange will play Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham at 4 pm on the same day.