Providence, R.I.-Despite 15 points, 13 rebounds and six assists from
senior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI), the Rhode Island
College men's basketball team fell to cross-city rival Johnson &
Wales, 85-75, at The Murray Center in non-conference action on Saturday
Sophomore guard Quarry Greenaway (Westchester, NY) helped propel Johnson & Wales (6-4) to its fifth straight win with a game-high 24 points, including 15 in the first half, to go along with 14 rebounds and five assists. Senior forward Esaie Touze (Providence, RI) finished with 23 points on 8-of-8 shooting, including 16 in the second half, to go along with a game-high 16 rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
The Wildcats outrebounded the Anchormen, 53-35, and hauled in a whopping 16 offensive rebounds as a team, which led to a grand total of 23 second-chance points for the visitors. JWU also shot 49 percent (29-for-59) from the floor in the win.
"We just aren't prepared for the level of intensity needed to win games," said Head Coach Bob Walsh. "We don't defend and we aren't very tough, and ultimately that's my fault."
Freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) racked up a team-high 18 points to go along with a pair of steals to help guide a short-handed Rhode Island College (6-5) squad. Senior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) registered 14 points and six assists, while junior forward Jacob Page (Brookline, MA) posted seven points and six rebounds.
After Cilley buried a three-pointer in the first 20 seconds of the ballgame to give RIC an early lead, JWU responded with a 23-5 run over the next seven and a half minutes to take a 15-point lead with 12:13 remaining in the frame. However, the Anchormen managed to turn the tables through the remainder of the first half, as they bounced back with a 30-17 run of their own to cut the deficit to just two, 40-38, heading into intermission.
JWU connected on a whopping 58 percent (15-for-26) of its shots in the first half and corralled 23 rebounds as a squad en route to the halftime advantage. Yet, RIC forced the visitors into nine turnovers and sank 14-of-20 (70 percent) first-half free throws to keep things close at the break.
After senior guard Curtis Lucas (Providence, RI) opened the second half with a jumper to put the Wildcats up by four, Page and sophomore center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI) countered with back-to-back baskets to cut into the lead and finally tie the game up, 42-42. Yet, JWU followed with seven unanswered points, keyed by a three-point play from Lucas, to jump ahead by seven, 49-42, with 15:36 on the clock.
Rhode Island College slowly chipped away at the deficit over the next four minutes until a three-pointer from freshman guard Anthony Williams (Waldorf, MD) capped off a 15-8 run for the Anchormen and tied the game, 57-57, with 11:48 remaining. Moments later, Williams followed with a layup in the paint to give RIC a 61-59 lead with 10:35 on the clock, its first lead since the opening minute of the game.
The Wildcats quickly regained the advantage over the next minute of action after a free throw from Lucas and a bucket from senior forward Matt Barboza (Riverside, RI) made it, 62-61, with 9:46 left to play. However, Palumbo answered back with a three-pointer on the other end to give the Anchormen a 64-62 lead with 9:23 on the clock.
That would prove to be the last time the hosts held a lead over JWU, as the visiting Wildcats pulled away from RIC behind a 23-11 run over the final nine minutes of the ballgame, en route to the double-digit victory.
JWU was aided by sophomore guard Robert Lewis (Providence, RI), who finished with 14 points, including 12 in the first half, to go along with 10 rebounds and two assists. Lucas chipped in with 13 points, all in the second half, while Barboza recorded six points, six rebounds, and four blocks.
Williams finished with six points for RIC in his first collegiate contest, while junior forward Victor Smith (Providence, RI) contributed with six points and three rebounds.
Rhode Island College managed to force the Wildcats into 14 turnovers, while finishing with just eight miscues in the loss. JWU also shot just 22 percent (2-for-9) from downtown and 58 percent (25-for-43) from the charity stripe.
On the other end, the Anchormen shot 35 percent (24-for-68) from the field, 33 percent (8-for-24) from beyond the three-point arc, and 73 percent (19-for-26) from the free throw line.