KEENE, N.H.--The Keene State College men's basketball team used a 22-3 run midway through the second half en route to an 84-71 win over Western Connecticut State University on Senior Day at Spaulding Gym on Saturday afternoon.
- Keene State: 16-7, 10-2 LEC
- Western Conn. State: 12-10, 7-4 LEC
How it Happened
Playing for the second time in three days, the Owls shook off a sluggish start to pull away late. Ty Nichols led five KSC players in double-figures with 17 points, adding six assists, four rebounds, and four steals. DeVon Beasley came off the bench to pour in 15 point son 5-for-8 shooting from three point range, while Miguel Prieto added 12 points and Dizel Wright and James Anozie each had 10.
R ashard Rodriguez had 15 points for the Colonials, while Legend Johnson had 12. No other player hit double-figures for Western Conn., who was swept by the Owls this year.
The teams traded points to start the game, as the Colonials went up 7-4 on a three pointer from Rashard Rodriguez before the Owls scored the next five points for a 9-7 lead. Neither team went up by more than three points until Eli Rodriguez gave Western Conn. State an 18-13 lead with 7:40 left in the first half. Legend Johnson converted a three point play for a 25-18 lead with 4:52 left, but the Owls went on a 10-3 run over the next two minutes, tying the game at 28 on a 15 footer from the wing from Kyle Santoro. Beasley swished a three for a 31-30 lead with 1:12 left, but Johnson sent the Colonials into the break up 32-31 on Johnson's steal and layup just before the buzzer.
The Owls edged in front early in the second half, going up 42-39 on a layup from Prieto, but that sparked a 7-0 run from the Colonials, who got a layup form Jonathan Mowatt for a 46-42 lead with 13:32 to go. After Eli Rodriguez' layup made it 48-45, the Owls exploded, scoring 22 of the next 25 points to put the game away. Nichols set up Wright, then Anozie, for layups on consecutive possessions and a 49-48 lead, before scoring himself to make it a 51-48 game. Jordan Haywood's transition pass to Prieto set up a bucket that made it 59-51, and Beasley sandwiched a pair of threes around a bucket from Anzozie to put the Owls up 72-54.
Another Beasley triple gave Keene State its biggest lead at 76-56, and the Colonials never threatened again.
In the Paint
- The Owls locked up the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Little East Conference tournament with the win. Keene State still retains the slimmest of chances to capture the No. 1 seed in the tournament, thanks to No. 10 Eastern Connecticut State's 101-99 overtime loss to UMass Dartmouth today.
- To claim homecourt advantage through out the tournament, Keene State will need to win both of its remaining games, at Plymouth State on February 14, and at UMass Dartmouth on February 17, while hoping the Warriors lose both of their remaining games. Eastern heads to Western on Feb. 14, before ending the season at home with a visit from Southern Maine on February 17.
- Before the game, seniors Dizel Wright and Carlos Ovalle were honored for their contributions to the program. Both seniors are four year players, who were a part of two LEC tournament championship teams and three trips to the NCAA tournament over the last three years. Wright's name is all over the KSC record books, among KSC's all-time leaders in field goal percentage and steals.
- The Owls close out the regular season with two games on the road, starting with Wedneday evening's trip to Plymouth State for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
- The Colonials will entertain Rhode Island College on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in a game postponed from February 3.