KEENE, N.H.--Ty Nichols led five Keene State College players in double-figures as the Owls rolled to a 91-77 non-conference win over Fitchburg State University on Monday night at Spaulding Gym.
- Keene State: 7-4
- Fitchburg State: 4-5
- "I thought we were coming off of two different losses - against WPI, we played well but couldn't make the plays to win. Against UNE, that wasn't us - culture wise, playing wise - tonight we reestablished who we are moving forward. Jake and Damonte gave us great minutes tonight, they are more so sophomores than freshmen now, and we're feeling their presence more on both ends. -- Head Coach Ryan Cain
- "Coach did a great job of motivating us - we were in a bit of a slump and we got it out of each other in practice. We took care of business today." -- Freshman guard Jake Collagan
How It Happened
Nichols, who had managed just 14 points in the Owls' previous two games, poured in 24 points on 10-for-18 shooting, adding seven rebounds, five assists, three steals, and a blocked shot. Matt Ozzella had 17 points and nine boards, while Jaquel Edwards also tossed in 17 points with seven rebounds. Jake Collagan and Damonte Turner both chipped in with 12 points off the bench.
Keene State had 23 assists on 36 made baskets, including six from Lucas Hammel and five from Dizel Wright, who also pulled down seven rebounds. Overall, KSC short 49.3% from the field (36-for-73) and made 13 of 26 three point shots.
Fitchburg State was led by 15 points from Lance Hill, while Jalen Williams had 13, and Chima Ebele and Leonny Burgos both had 12, and Jaleel Bell added 10.
Burgos' layup in the first minute of the game opened the scoring, but it was all Keene State after that. Ozzella hit a pair of threes in a 17-4 run over the next five minutes. Burgos completed a four point play at the 12:20 mark to get the Falcons within 17-12, five Collagan scored the next five points for the Owls to restore a double-digit lead. Keene State never looked back, going up 35-21 on a pair of free throws by Nichols with 4:43 left in the half, then watched the lead baloon to 46-29 as Turner drained a three with 1:32 left. Williams' free throws with four tenths of a second left in the first half made it 50-33 at halftime.
Eight straight points from Ebele in the second half made it 58-44, but Fitchburg State would get no closer. Turner's three with 7:27 left made it 78-58, and Ozzella swished a three from the right corner for the largest lead of the game at 86-61.
In the Paint
- Keene State maintained their perfect record against Fitchburg State; the Owls have never lost in seven all-time meetings against the Falcons.
- KSC reached the 90 point mark for the fourth time this season, while holding an opponent below 80 points for the fourth time. Keene State also improved to 5-1 at home.
- The 13 three pointers represented a season high for the Owls, who had knocked down 10 triples against Springfield, UMass Boston, and WPI.
- The Owls clamped down on Bell - the Falcons' leading scorer came in averaging 23.3 points and 16 field goal attempts per game, but shot just 3-for-8 from the floor to get his 10 points.
- Keene State is back on the court on Thursday, when Becker College comes to town for a 6 p.m. tip-off.
- Fitchburg State opens MASCAC play with a road game at Westfield State on January 4.