KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College men's basketball team used a 16-2 surge over the final 3:41 to run away from the University of Southern Maine 73-58 in a Little East Conference contest on Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gym.
- Keene State: 7-2, 2-0 LEC
- Southern Maine: 1-8, 0-2 LEC
How It Happened
Ty Nichols led the Owls with 25 points, 18 of which came in the second half. He also added six rebounds, six assists and four steals. Dizel Wright recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds to go along with two assists and one steal. James Anozie had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Miguel Prieto rounded out the double-figure scorers with 12 points as Keene State recorded their sixth straight victory.
Southern Maine was led by Christian McCue's 13 points. Sean Jany added 12 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and an assist. DJ Anderson came off the bench to record 11 points, six rebounds and an assist for the Huskies, who have lost eight straight games.
The teams got off to a sluggish start, with neither team scoring until Sidi Diallo's two free throws at the 15:56 mark put the Owls on the board. Keene State quickly extended the advantage, going up 9-3 after Anozie's layup two minutes later and 12-6 after a Nichols three with 11:07 to go. However, Southern Maine then embarked on an extended 19-3 run to take a ten-point advantage (25-15), capped by Kevin Weisser's triple with 4:03 left in the first half. Keene State was able to trim the deficit going into the break, as the Owls got six points from Prieto and closed the half on a 12-4 burst to trail 29-27 going into the locker room.
Keene State, after shooting just 31% in the first half, got the offense going in the second half. Ben Olson's layup tied the game at 32 within the first two minutes and, later, a layup from Nichols gave the Owls a 38-37 advantage with 16:54 to go. It remained close from there, with neither team gaining much separation. A layup from Jany put USM ahead 46-42 with 13:47 to go, but the Owls tied it at 48 with a layup from Wright and got a triple from Beasley for a 51-49 lead halfway through the second stanza. The Owls ultimately never relinquished the lead from there. A deep shot from Prieto put KSC up five with 9:13 to go, but USM stayed close, getting back to within one (55-54) on a dunk from Jany at the 5:46 mark. It was still just 57-56 when the Owls went on their decisive surge. Nichols, in particular, took over, making a three, a dunk and another three in succession to put the Owls up 65-56 with 1:56 to go. KSC cruised from there, getting two layups and four free throws in the final minute to complete the run and set the final margin. The Owls wound up outscoring USM 46-29 in the second half after trailing by two at halftime.
Inside the Paint
- After shooting just 31% (10-for-32) in the first half, the Owls shot 50% (16-of-32) in the second half to settle on 41% (26-for-64) for the game. They made 6-of-19 from three (32%) and 15-of-23 at the line (65%). USM connected on 43% (23-of-53) for the game and 7-of-24 (29%) from three. They made 5-of-10 from the charity stripe (50%).
- Keene State won the rebounding battle 38-35, including 16-10 on the offensive glass. Six of Anozie's nine rebounds were on the offensive end.
- Keene State, which will now have a 20 day break before their next game, finishes the calendar year 13-0 at Spaulding Gymnasium. The Owls are 29-3 at Spaulding Gym over the past three seasons.
- As mentioned, Keene State does not play again until the end of the month when they travel to Nashville, Tennessee. The Owls open the Music City Classic on Friday, December 29 against LaGrange College (GA) at 8:00 pm EST.
- Southern Maine is not in action again until Thursday, December 28, when they play SUNY Poly at the Lehman College Invitational. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 pm.