Rhode Island College news release...
Providence, R.I.-Junior forward Victor Smith (Providence, RI) exploded for 19 points, while freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) added 15 points, to help lead the Rhode Island College men's basketball team to a 72-66 victory over UMass Dartmouth in Little East Conference action on Tuesday night at The Murray Center.
Winners in eight of its last 10 contests, Rhode Island College improves to 12-6 overall with a 6-2 record in league play. The Anchormen move into sole possession of second place in the Little East, while UMass Dartmouth (12-6, 5-3 LEC) slips to third in the conference.
Smith grabbed five rebounds and two steals in the win and Cilley buried five three-pointers for RIC, while junior guard Eric Alleyne (Watertown, MA) finished with 12 points, a game-high seven assists and five rebounds.
Freshman guard John Gause (Mount Vernon, NY) added seven points off the bench, while junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) posted six points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Senior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) registered five points, five rebounds and four assists.
"We found a way to get a result without playing our best and I'm proud of that," said Head Coach Bob Walsh. "Gause and Alleyne really stepped up. They gave us great energy and made the plays we needed to win."
Freshman guard Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, MA) compiled a game-high 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Corsairs, while senior forward Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA) posted 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting to go along with eight rebounds in the loss. Junior guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA) contributed with 13 points and three steals.
Sophomore center Wale Abraham (Lynn, MA) hauled in a team-high nine rebounds to go along with three points, three blocks and three assists for UMD, while sophomore forward Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, MA) stuffed the box score with five points, four rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals. Freshman guard Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, MA) added seven points, four assists and two steals.
After the two teams traded baskets through the opening minutes, UMD pulled ahead of the hosts, 8-5, at the 16:20 mark on a basket from Laga and followed with a 14-7 run, capped off by a trey from Laga, to take a 22-12 lead over RIC with 8:08 left to play in the half. However, the Anchormen responded with a 19-9 run of their own to close out the frame, highlighted by Cilley's buzzer-beating three-pointer that sent the two teams into intermission tied, 31-31.
The two squads again exchanged buckets to kick off the second half, but this time it was the hosts who pulled ahead early. After a jumper from Laga cut UMD's deficit to one, 38-37, with 15:36 on the clock, Gause and sophomore center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI) responded with back-to-back layups to extend RIC's lead to five, 42-37, with 13:56 left to play.
The Anchormen jumped ahead by as many as six over the next few minutes, keyed by a three-pointer from Sanders at the 11:27 mark that made it, 49-43. However, UMD answered back with an 8-0 run to take a 52-49 lead with 9:12 on the clock, capped off by a layup from Bouchard.
Following a pair of quick layups from Smith and sophomore guard Jacek Louisville (Worcester, MA) that made it, 54-51, with 8:33 remaining, RIC surged ahead of the Corsairs thanks to eight unanswered points, including four from Gause, to put the hosts up, 59-54, at the 6:47 mark.
Rhode Island College would fend off UMass Dartmouth from there, as the visitors cut the deficit to two on several occasions but couldn't tie the game or take the lead. Alleyne scored six points over the final five minutes, including four free throws in the final 60 seconds, to help propel the Anchormen to the six-point victory.
The Anchormen shot 43 percent (29-for-68) from the floor, 38 percent (6-for-16) from beyond the three-point arc and 57 percent (8-for-14) from the charity stripe.
The Corsairs shot 44 percent (27-for-62) from the field, 29 percent (6-for-21) from downtown and 60 percent (6-for-10) from the free throw line.
Although RIC was outrebounded by UMD, 41-39, the Anchormen forced the visitors into 20 turnovers and committed just 14 turnovers of their own.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will travel to Amherst on Wednesday, Jan. 29 (7 p.m.).