NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - The Keene State College men's basketball team opened the second half on a 12-0 run and never looked back as they blew past UMass Dartmouth 82-57 in Little East action Saturday afternoon at the Tripp Athletic Center.
- Keene State: 13-7, 8-3 LEC
- UMass Dartmouth: 13-6, 7-3 LEC
How It Happened
The Owls had a balanced attack while posting their fifth straight win. Ty Nichols led the way, making 9-of-15 from the field and 3-of-5 from distance while scoring 23 points. He added six assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block, while Edwin Ezedonmwen scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. James Anozie finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Paul Mahon chipped in nine points and Nyzair Rountree seven. Marcus Azor paced UMass Dartmouth with 13 points, the lone double-figure scorer. Leading scorer Arinze Obiora was limited to eight points.
It was a slow start for both teams offensively, as UMass Dartmouth led 4-3 five minutes in before Ezedonmwen canned a triple for a 6-4 KSC lead. The Corsairs got a three point play from Marquis Jones to lead by one again at 9-8, but the Owls responded with a 10-2 burst that finished with a three-point play from Anozie and Nichols' jumper for an 18-11 edge just past the midway point of the opening half. However, KSC then went more than five minutes without a point as the home team hit back with an 11-0 run of their own, as Sean Leahy's triple capped the surge and made it 22-18 UMD at the 6:34 mark. Anozie's layup with 4:28 to go snapped KSC's drought, and the Owls came roaring back to close the half, as layups from Nichols and Prieto and Mahon's three put the visitors up 29-24. Rountree's bucket in the final 10 seconds provided Keene State a 33-26 halftime edge.
Ezedonmwen took over in the beginning stages of the second half, and the Owls took away any suspense by scoring the first 12 points and never looked back. The freshman's bucket and free throw opened the scoring, and he followed with another three-point play, this one from behind the arc, as KSC led 39-26 with 18 minutes to go. Nichols connected from distance before Ezedonmwen did once more, making it a 19-point game not even a minute later as the Owls connected on four straight shots. UMass Dartmouth scored six consecutive points shortly thereafter to briefly make it a 47-34 game, but threes from Mahon and Ezedonmwen highlighted KSC's 11-2 response that left them up 58-36 at the 10:51 mark. The Owls did not relent, as Rountree scored inside and then fed Ezedonmwen for a layup before Nichols connected from distance for a 67-39 edge two minutes later. UMass Dartmouth was never within 20 again, as Nichols' trey with just under four minutes to go made it 77-50, and Kyle Santoro's three-point play at the 3:10 mark made it 80-50. The Owls had nine assists in the second half and shot 53% from the floor. Ezedonmwen had 16 points in the stanza, and he and Nichols combined to shoot 11-of-16 from the floor (6-of-8 from three).
Inside the Paint
- KSC shot 51% overall (31-of-61) and made 10-of-23 (44%) from long range while holding UMD to 29% (18-of-63) from the field and 2-of-14 (14%) from deep.
- Keene State gained an emphatic measure of revenge after an earlier home loss to the Corsairs, as the 25-point margin of victory is KSC's largest in series history at the Tripp Center. The Owls are 8-2 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings overall.
- With the win, KSC moves past UMass Dartmouth and into second place in the Little East standings. The Owls (8-3) trail Eastern Connecticut State University (9-1), who defeated Plymouth State University 80-75 at home, by a game and a half.
- Keene State returns to Spaulding Gymnasium for a matchup with the aforementioned Panthers on Wednesday, January 30 at 7:30 pm.
- UMass Dartmouth visits Western Connecticut State University on the same night.