DANBURY, Conn. - Ty Nichols now has just one more target on the Keene State College men's basketball all-time scoring list. On Wednesday night, he moved into second place with a 28-point effort as the Owls held off Western Connecticut State University 79-70 in LEC action at Feldman Arena.
- Keene State: 9-7, 5-3 LEC
- Western Connecticut: 10-6, 4-3 LEC
How It Happened
Nichols, who added a team-high nine rebounds and four assists, now has 1,982 career points and needs 42 more to become Keene State's all-time leading scorer. James Anozie added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Miguel Prieto came off the bench to chip in 11 points, a team-best five assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Fenton Bradley, Jr. led WCSU with 18 points.
The Colonials had a pair of one-point leads very early on, but a Nyzair Rountree layup at the 18:40 mark put the Owls ahead 4-3, and the visitors never trailed again. Leading 10-8, Keene State rattled off 14 consecutive points over the next four minutes to build a quick 16-point advantage. Prieto canned a three to jump start the surge and, later, a Nichols layup and consecutive Paul Mahon threes made it 24-8 with 10:54 left in the opening half. Anozie and Rountree converted inside a little over a minute later as the Owls still led 28-13, and Nichols' jumper at the 7:03 mark made it 30-15. A triple for Jeric Cichon with a little less than three minutes to go still had Keene State in front 35-21, but Western got back into the game by scoring the half's final eight points, capped by Rashard Rodriguez's four-point play with 11 seconds to go, that made it a six-point game.
The Owls, behind 61% shooting, weathered every Colonials rally in the second half. A layup from Rountree opened the scoring, but WestConn scored the next four to draw within that margin less than three minutes in. The home team was still within 39-35 a short time later, but triples from Prieto and Nichols quickly restored KSC's lead to 10. Western Connecticut refused to go away, though, as they hit back with a 12-4 binge to trail by just two (49-47) with 8:49 remaining. The Owls answered through Nichols' trey, but the hosts got a jumper from Bradley, Jr. and a layup from Legend Johnson to make it a one-point game with six and a half minutes left. Nichols took over after that, as he again answered by burying a triple, and a short time later, Mahon did the same off a feed from Prieto for a 60-53 advantage at the 5:31 mark. Nichols then converted inside on consecutive possessions as the Owls led by nine again, and two Prieto freebies made it 66-55 with just over four minutes remaining. He canned KSC's sixth three of the half on the next possession, and Nichols followed with a layup as the Owls pulled away to a 71-58 lead with 3:08 on the clock. WCSU never seriously threatened again, as Keene State made all six from the line in the final minute to seal the win. KSC shot 52% overall and made 10-of-21 (48%) from three while handing the Colonials their first conference home loss.
Inside the Paint
- In addition to the Keene State accolades, Nichols entered the day 15th among active career scoring leaders across all three divisions of men's basketball.
- The Owls have won five straight and eight of 10 against Western Connecticut, including their last three visits to Danbury.
- The win vaults Keene State past the Colonials and into third place in the Little East standings. The Owls are two games behind first place Eastern Connecticut and one behind second place UMass Dartmouth.
- Keene State returns home for a matchup with the University of Southern Maine on Saturday, January 19 at 3:00 pm.
- Western Connecticut travels to UMass Boston for an LEC matchup on the same day and time.