DANBURY, Conn. – The Keene State College men's basketball team shot 66% in the first half to remain unbeaten in Little East Conference play, as they hammered Western Connecticut State University 88-67 on Wednesday afternoon at Feldman Arena.
- Keene State: 10-4, 4-0 LEC
- Western Connecticut: 6-7, 3-1 LEC
How It Happened
James Anozie led the Owls' offensive attack that saw four score in double figures. He set new career highs in points (20) and rebounds (12) while shooting 7-of-10 from the floor. Miguel Prieto added 17 points, five assists, one rebound and one steal. In the last two games – both victories – he has recorded 12 assists and just one turnover. Ty Nichols had 14 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Sidi Diallo added 11 points, eight rebounds, three steals and an assist.
Western Connecticut's leading scorer Tyler Rowe scored a team-high 15 points, but was just 4-for-13 from the field. He added two rebounds, one assist and one steal. Chaunce Dunbar, Legend Johnson and Jordan Grant each scored nine points, while Fenton Bradley Jr. had eight points and four steals.
The Colonials took an early 8-3 lead after getting a layup from Rashard Rodriguez and a jumper from Rowe. KSC scored nine of the next 13 points, finishing with a Prieto three, to tie the game at 12 at the 15:37 mark. Later, with the game knotted at 16, the Owls went on a 7-2 run to take a 23-18 advantage. Western closed to within 24-22, but KSC took command over the remainder of the half. An Anozie layup and two free throws, followed by another layup from Prieto, gave the Owls a 30-22 advantage with 7:33 left in the first. A three-point play from Johnson brought Western within five (32-27), but KSC continued to surge thereafter. A trey from DeVon Beasley and a bucket inside from Nichols provided the Owls a double-digit advantage (43-32) with 2:58 to go in the half. Two transition layups from Diallo in the final few minutes of the half helped Keene State lead 47-33 at the break. The Owls made 19 of their 29 field goal attempts in the first half. Anozie himself made all six field goals he attempted from the field, leading the team with 16 points in the stanza. Prieto added 11 points and five assists.
The second half was more of the same, as the Owls held a double-digit advantage throughout. Prieto's layup made it 55-41 at the 16:40 mark and, minutes later, another made it 59-43. Keene State continued to attack, getting buckets from Jordan Haywood, Nichols and Olson that bumped the lead up to 22 (67-45) with 12:19 to go. Jordan Grant temporarily stopped the run with a bucket, but Nichols fed Diallo for a three and, on the next possession, another basket from Diallo gave the Owls a 74-47 lead halfway through the second stanza. KSC cruised from there, getting a triple from Beasley and a jumper from Nichols to lead 83-58 with 4:11 remaining. The Colonials never got the lead below 19 after that, as the Owls won their second consecutive conference road game.
Inside the Paint
- Keene State is 4-0 in conference play for the first time since 2006-07. In that season, the Owls finished 25-6 (11-3 in the LEC), made the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet 16.
- The 60% (35-of-58) shooting performance from the field was the Owls' second best showing of the season, only behind the 63% shooting they managed in a 100-88 win over Colby-Sawyer on Nov. 30. From two-point range, the Owls blistered the Colonials by converting 30-of-37 (81%). KSC made 5-of-21 (24%) from three. Meanwhile, Western shot 38% (26-of-68) in the contest, while not making any of their 17 three-point attempts.
- Led by Anozie, the Owls outrebounded Western Connecticut 44-32, helping lead to a 14-8 advantage in second chance points.
- Keene State took advantage of Western's 18 turnovers, scoring 27 points. The Colonials scored just 16 points off KSC's 21 miscues.
- The Owls have won five of the last seven meetings with Western Connecticut, including three straight.
- Keene State returns home for the first time since December 9, hosting UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, January 13. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 pm.
- Western Connecticut also plays on Saturday, closing a five-game homestand against UMass Boston at 3:00 pm.