PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Ty Nichols had 30 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, five steals and a block as the Keene State College men's basketball team used an extended 35-9 second half run to blitz Rhode Island College 87-68 for their ninth straight win Saturday afternoon at The Murray Center.
- Keene State: 17-7, 12-3 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 13-10, 6-8 LEC
How It Happened
Nichols made 8-of-16 from the floor, 3-of-5 from deep, and 11-of-14 from the line en route to his point total, while James Anozie had a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double. Miguel Prieto rounded out the double-figure scorers with 15 points and two rebounds as Keene State won their ninth straight for the first time since January 14-February 7, 2012. Justin Campbell had 19 points and five boards for Rhode Island College.
The game was back-and-forth for the entirety of the first half, as the Anchormen got a three from Adham Floyd nearly five minutes in for a 7-4 edge, but then saw Nichols score consecutive buckets as the Owls edged in front 15-12 at the 12:20 mark. A layup from Anozie and a dunk from Nichols a little over a minute later stretched KSC's lead to five (19-14), but RIC hung around, as three-balls from Floyd and Deyshawn Tengbeh put the home team up 27-26 with 5:18 to go. KSC hit back with an 11-4 burst that saw Anozie score six points and Prieto five over the next three minutes for a 37-31 advantage. The Anchormen snatched the lead back with a quick 7-0 run, but Nichols scored the final five points, including draining a contested three in the final seconds, for a 42-38 Owls lead at the break.
The second half was not much different initially, as Prieto canned a trey for a 45-41 lead not even a minute in, but Rhode Island College fought back to tie the game at 49 with 14:20 left. A three-point play from Anozie was answered by a deep shot from Floyd as it was still deadlocked (52-52) with a little over 12 minutes remaining, but the Owls turned on the jets a short time later. Anozie was fouled while converting a layup and made the free throw before Nichols drained a three and made two free throws on consecutive trips for a 62-54 lead with 9:53 to go. Rhode Island College briefly got within four a minute later, but Anozie and Nichols each scored once more before Kyle Santoro connected from distance as the advantage grew to double-digits (69-59) with just over six minutes remaining. Keene State did not let up, as the visitors made it 78-60 at the 4:02 mark after a Nichols three sandwiched five points from Sidi Diallo. Two straight triples from Santoro and Charles McClain ballooned the lead to 87-61 before the Anchormen scored the last seven points. The Owls made 7-of-13 from three after halftime and got 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, and three steals from Nichols, and nine points and seven rebounds from Anozie in the period.
Inside the Paint
- KSC has made at least 10 threes in a game eight times since January 8 after doing so once previously.
- Keene State has won five straight against Rhode Island College, including three of the last four visits to Providence.
- The Owls' win helps them keep pace with Eastern Connecticut State University (92-76 home win vs. Western Connecticut) and UMass Dartmouth (88-81 win at Plymouth State) in the conference standings. KSC (12-3) sits a half-game behind ECSU (12-2) in the standings and a half-game ahead of UMD (11-3). Keene State has a bye on Wednesday night before hosting the Warriors in a crucial contest next Saturday, February 16. Eastern Connecticut visits Castleton on February 13, while UMass Dartmouth goes to UMass Boston.
- As mentioned, KSC will host Eastern Connecticut next Saturday at 3:00 pm. The Owls can earn the Little East's No. 1 seed and the right to host the semifinals and finals of the conference tournament for the first time since 2006 with a Senior Day win.
- Rhode Island College, who is currently battling for a top-six spot, travels to Western Connecticut State University on Wednesday, February 13 at 7:30 pm.