CLINTON, N.Y. – The Keene State College men's basketball team saw their season come to an end with an 86-65 loss to Moravian College in the first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament on Friday night at Scott Field House on the campus of Hamilton College.
- Keene State: 20-8
- Moravian: 20-8
- "We turned it over too much. Credit to them, it was their pressure. It felt like we were prepared for it going in, but obviously I don't think we did enough to be ready for it. Then it was guarding the three-point line. Obviously they have guys that are tremendous shooters and they found some space and got in transition to get some looks. Credit to them for the pace they play with and the stuff they ran to get the looks that they got." - KSC Head Coach Ryan Cain
- "Just a tremendous group of guys. When it came to this team, at one point this year we were 8-7, and I think there was a lot of reflection that took place during those stretches. The ability to look internally at some of the things we needed to do better and some of the things as a team we needed to do to be successful, everybody as a group really bought into that. They were totally on board with it and the relationships among player to player, coach to coach, coach to player, whatever it was, they developed into such strong relationships. It felt like everybody was playing for each other." - Cain on the late season surge
- "When I came in my freshman year, I didn't know who the coach was going to be. Coach Cain seemed like the right fit. We had lunch with him and he felt like the right guy and we could talk about anything right away. I can't thank him enough for everything he has done for me on and off the court. He's taught me how to be a better person and a better leader." - KSC senior Ty Nichols
- "We had a really good season this year. We have a lot of young guys on this team, so they're going to be very good next year and I'm going to support them as much as I can. They're going to return a good group and they've got a good group coming in. I think they will come back ready to go and this is going to motivate them for the future." - Nichols on this season and looking ahead
For the full press conference, click here.
How It Happened
Ty Nichols did all he could, scoring 30 points for the fourth time in the last five games on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor and 14-of-17 from the free throw line. He also had four rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block. James Anozie had 10 points and two rebounds, but was the only other Owl in double figures. Moravian was led by Oneil Holder's 18 points. C.J. Barnes (15 points) and Elijah Davis (13 points) each made 3-of-5 from three.
It was back and forth early on, as Moravian edged out to a 10-6 lead in the opening three minutes, but the Owls came back to tie it (13-13) at the 14:23 mark after layups from Nichols and Sidi Diallo. Neither team could gain much separation, but KSC eventually did go ahead 27-22, their largest lead of the game, after a triple from Kyle Santoro capped an 8-0 burst. However, Moravian came right back with an 8-0 burst of their own in less than two minutes to reassume the lead, and the Owls were fighting uphill the rest of the night. A Nichols bucket at the 4:29 mark made it a 34-33 game, but the Greyhounds closed the half on an 11-5 run for a 45-38 lead. KSC shot 67% in the opening half, but committed 17 turnovers.
The Owls got a bucket inside from Anozie just over a minute into the second half to trim the deficit to four (45-41), but then did not score for nearly the next seven minutes as Moravian scored 18 consecutive points. The game-changing surge began with three consecutive triples (two from Davis) and ended with yet one more. Trailing 63-41 with 12:21 to go, KSC was never able to make much of a dent in the deficit, as the closest they got was 15 points with just under four minutes remaining. Nichols' layup at the 6:37 mark did bring the Owls within 69-53, but Moravian answered with free throws on the next trip. A triple from Santoro with just under four minutes to go made it a 77-62 contest, but Holder fed Will Brazukas for a three on the next possession that ended any comeback hopes. KSC cleaned up the turnovers against the Greyhounds' pressure defense in the second half, only committing seven, but shot just 29% (8-of-28).
Inside the Paint
- Nichols concludes his stellar career with 2,316 points on 50% shooting (36% from three), 660 rebounds, 509 assists, 267 steals and 32 blocks. He is Keene State's all-time leader in career points, single-season points (768), steals, games played (118), and free throws made (561) and attempted (725), while also being in the top 10 in assists (509).
- The loss also wraps up the careers of Santoro, Josh DeGrenier and Charles McClain.
- It was the first ever meeting between the two schools and Moravian's first NCAA tournament win in program history.
- KSC had won 12 straight entering the game, which tied for the second longest in school history, only behind the 2001-02 team's 17-game run.
- Keene State's season comes to an end. It is just the second time in six tries that the Owls did not advance in the NCAA tournament, as they are 9-6 in such games all-time and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2004 and 2017 and the Sweet 16 in 2007 and 2016.
- Moravian will take on host and 10th-ranked Hamilton College, who escaped Penn State Behrend 72-70, on Saturday, March 2 at 7:00 pm. The winner of that second round matchup will move on to the Sweet 16 next Friday, March 8.