CLINTON, N.Y. – The Keene State College men's basketball team shook off a slow start and got within one three different times in the final three minutes, but No. 5 Hamilton College held on for an 85-80 win in non-conference action Thursday afternoon at Scott Field House.
- Keene State: 6-5
- No. 5 Hamilton: 12-0
How It Happened
Ty Nichols had 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals for KSC before fouling out with about six minutes remaining. James Anozie chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds, while Miguel Prieto had 13 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal. Paul Mahon made 4-of-5 shots off the bench to score 10 points. Hamilton's leading scorer Kena Gilmour had 28 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Tim Doyle had 20 points.
A slow start proved to be costly, as Keene State went the first 6:40 without a point while the Continentals ran out to a 16-0 advantage, finishing with Gilmour's three-point play at the 13:38 mark. Trailing 18-2, the Owls roared to life, embarking on a 21-5 run in a little over five minutes to tie the game at 23. Mahon made a pair of threes and Prieto a jumper to get the visitors within eight (18-10) and, after Hamilton went ahead 23-15 on a three by Gilmour, the Owls got a jumper from Edwin Ezedonmwen and threes from Nichols on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 23 with 8:25 left in the half. The game of runs continued, as the Continentals tallied the next 10 and eventually led 40-27 at the 2:16 mark, but KSC responded with a bucket and free throw from Anozie and a triple from Ezedonmwen to make it 40-35 with 1:01 to go. Peter Hoffman's three in the final seconds made it an eight point lead for the hosts at halftime.
The Owls continually chipped away after the break, but never got over the hump. KSC was within six five different times in the opening six minutes of the second half, but the Continentals led 61-49 with 11:38 to go after a layup and three from Doyle. Trailing 63-49, Keene State reeled off nine consecutive points to get within five at the 9:32 mark and had the ball with a chance to make it a one-possession game, but the Owls missed a layup and turned the ball over before Doyle canned a three on the other end to make it 66-58 with 8:20 left. Trailing 71-60 and now without Nichols for the final six minutes, KSC made a game of it late thanks to Prieto. He got the Owls within seven (73-66) after a free throw with 4:42 to go, and continued to be all over the court after that, as he drained a three, forced a turnover, and converted a transition layup on consecutive possessions to make it 76-75 with 2:22 left. Hamilton answered with a jumper from Andrew Groll to go back up three, and the Owls were unable to convert on their next possession, but did get a stop and another bucket from Prieto to make it a one-point game again (78-77) with a little over a minute left. KSC then forced a miss from Groll, but he got his own rebound, made a layup and was fouled as Hamilton went up four in the final minute. Ezedonmwen responded with a three with 21 seconds left to make it 81-80, and the Owls still had a chance to tie despite Gilmour's two free throws, but Ezedonmwen's three was off the mark in the final seconds.
Inside the Paint
- After shooting just 32% in the opening half, KSC shot 50% in the second half to settle at 40% (27-of-67) for the game. Hamilton shot 45% (28-of-62). The Owls made 9-of-21 from distance and 17-of-20 at the line, and the Continentals 8-of-28 and 21-of-27, respectively.
- Keene State had a 40-35 rebounding advantage, including 14-8 on the offensive glass.
- It was the Owls' fourth matchup with a nationally ranked team this season and the first ever meeting against Hamilton.
- Keene State gets back into Little East play with a trip to the University of Southern Maine on Saturday, January 5 at 3:00 pm.
- Hamilton opens NESCAC action with a home game against Trinity College (Conn.) on Sunday, January 6 at 2:00 pm.