KEENE, N.H. - Preseason All-American Ty Nichols continues to rack up strong performances. This time, his 30 point, 10 rebound and nine assist effort helped the Keene State College men's basketball team blow past Rhode Island College 98-85 in Little East action Wednesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 5-2, 2-0 LEC
- Rhode Island College: 8-3, 1-2 LEC
How It Happened
In addition to Nichols, James Anozie scored in double-figures for the fifth straight game, recording 20 points, six rebounds and two steals. Paul Mahon was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field (3-of-3 from deep) and had a career-best 13 points, five assists and two steals. Miguel Prieto and DeVon Beasley each tossed in 11 points, with Prieto adding six assists, and Beasley six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Adham Floyd had a season-high 27 points and Justin Campbell 24 for RIC.
It was a closely contested and high-scoring first half, as Rhode Island College shot 14% higher than their season average en route to a 50-point half, the most points they have scored in any half this year. The Owls shot 46% and made 5-of-10 from three, though the visitors canned 7-of-12. The teams split the first 32 points of the contest and it was 16-16 less than five minutes in. KSC gained brief separation, as back-to-back triples from Beasley and Nichols made it 22-16 at the 14:23 mark. It was still a 26-24 Owl advantage halfway through the half, but Rhode Island College flipped the script, going up 39-28 on the strength of a 15-2 burst over a 4:28 span. Still trailing 44-33, KSC chipped away, as consecutive layups from Anozie made it a five-point game at 46-41 with 2:21 on the clock. Rhode Island College led 50-44 at halftime.
The second half was a much different story, as the Owls slowly took command while shooting an eye-popping 70% (19-of-27) from the field and holding RIC to just 9-of-32 (28%). The Anchormen were able to maintain their lead initially, as Floyd made a three to start the half and Benjamin Vezele scored for a 57-48 advantage at the 17:12 mark. RIC was blitzed from there, as they were outscored 50-28 over the remainder of the game. A trey from Beasley and a jumper from Prieto finished an 11-2 surge that tied the game at 59. Keene State broke away from a 65-65 tie with another huge run, this time a 20-6 surge in nearly six minutes for an 85-71 lead. A three and layup from Prieto on back-to-back possessions put the Owls up 70-65 at the 10:25 mark and, later, a three from Nichols and baskets from Sidi Diallo and Mahon made it 81-71 with 7:14 left. Layups from Nichols and Anozie capped the surge, putting KSC up a game-high 14 with 5:59 on the clock. The Anchormen never got within single digits after that, as Nichols scored again and Mahon drained a three for a 93-80 lead with just over two minutes left. The Owls cruised from there to their third straight win.
Inside the Paint
- Nichols, who has scored at least 22 points in every game and is in the top four nationally in scoring, is averaging 28.1 points per game on 51% shooting from the field (47% from long range) this season.
- The Owls have won eight of nine against the Anchormen, including the last four head-to-head matchups in Keene. The 98 points allowed by the visitors were easily a season high.
- KSC shot 56.5% (35-of-62) overall in the contest and 10-of-19 (53%) from three while assisting on 25 of their 35 made field goals. RIC cooled off after halftime, finishing at 39.7% (25-of-63) shooting overall and 10-of-25 (40%) from long range.
- Keene State plays their final game before a three week break, as they host UMass Dartmouth for an LEC matchup on Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 pm.
- Rhode Island College goes to conference foe University of Southern Maine on the same day and time.