KEENE, N.H. – The No. 2 seeded Keene State College men's basketball team got off to a fast start and placed five players in double figures as they rolled to a 92-48 victory over the No. 7 seed University of Southern Maine in the quarterfinals of the Little East Conference Tournament on Tuesday evening at Spaulding Gym.
- Keene State: 18-8
- Southern Maine: 5-21
How It Happened
DeVon Beasley was a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the arc on his way to a game-high 18 points. Dizel Wright stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block, while James Anozie added 12 points and seven rebounds. Ty Nichols (11 points, seven assists, five rebounds, four steals) and Miguel Prieto (11 points, four rebounds, three assists) rounded out the double-figure scorers. Ben Olson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Christian McCue, who scored 36 points in the last matchup between these two teams, was limited to just 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting in this contest. He added two rebounds and two assists. No other Husky reached double-figures in scoring. Donne Agossou had eight points, four rebounds and three assists, while Grayson Waterman came off the bench to record seven points and two steals.
Neither team got on the board over the first two-plus minutes of the game, but then KSC's offense got going and it was off to the races from there. A three from Wright and layup from Prieto made it a 7-0 Owl lead at the 16:29 mark. USM scored five straight to get within two, but Keene State began to pull away for good with a big 22-6 burst. A layup from Jordan Haywood with 12:24 to go made it 16-7 and, a minute later, one of Beasley's six treys made it 21-9. A trey from Prieto and two from the free throw line from Nichols made it 28-11 just past the midway point of the half. Another deep shot from Beasley at the 7:41 mark put the Owls up 20 (33-13) and a three from Nichols and jumper from Olson made it 40-13 with 3:37 to go in the half. Keene State took a 44-16 advantage to the locker room.
The second half was more of the same, as Keene State went to Anozie down low for three quick buckets that made it a 50-18 advantage within the first two minutes. The lead only grew from there, as Anozie scored again and Beasley knocked down another three to make it 59-20 with 15:14 to go. USM scored six straight, but Keene State was never threatened. Two from the charity stripe by Prieto and a traditional three point play from Wright made it 70-31 at the 8:46 mark. The Owls led by as many as 92-42 on a three from Brandon Hurst with 1:37 left. Two threes from Southern Maine set the final margin (92-48).
In the Paint
- Keene State, who entered the evening with the 17th-best field goal percentage in the country, lived up to that billing, shooting a sizzling 58% (35-of-60) from the floor. The Owls also knocked down 11-of-17 (65%) from three-point range. Southern Maine was limited to just 26% (17-of-65) overall and 5-of-29 (17%) from beyond the arc.
- The Owls dominated the glass 52-27 and saw their bench outscore Southern Maine's 40-22.
- Keene State went 9-2 at Spaulding Gym this season and has won 18 of their last 20 home games overall.
- The win was the 60th for Owls' head coach Ryan Cain, currently in his third season with KSC. He has a 60-29 career record.
- Nichols recorded his 1,500th career point, and is now sitting sixth in KSC's career list with 1,508, one point behind Darrell Long '87.
- The Owls advance past the Little East quarterfinals for the fourth straight season (winning the tournament twice). They have also now reached the LEC semifinals seven times in the last eight years.
- No. 2 seed Keene State will play No. 3 seed UMass Boston on Friday night at Eastern Connecticut's Geissler Gym in Willimantic, Conn. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 pm. The Beacons dispatched No. 6 seed Rhode Island College 73-67 in other quarterfinal action tonight. The other Friday semifinal will see host and top seed Eastern Connecticut take on No. 4 seed Western Connecticut at 5:30 pm. Keene State will be seeking a trip to the LEC Championship game for the fourth consecutive year.
- Southern Maine sees their season come to an end.