Sanders Scores 25 in, 76-68, Win at Bridgewater State

More news about: Rhode Island College

Bridgewater, Mass.-Senior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) poured in 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting to lead the Rhode Island College men's basketball team to a 75-68 win over Bridgewater State on Tuesday night at the Tinsley Center in non-conference action.


Sanders added three assists and three rebounds to help lead the Anchormen (3-2) to their second consecutive victory. Senior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) netted 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, while junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) chipped in with 10 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.


Senior guard Brendan Monteiro (Brockton, MA) led Bridgewater State (1-3) with 17 points, including 14 in the first half, to go along with four assists, while junior forward Michael Lofton (Mansfield, MA) filled up the stat-sheet with 15 points, 13 rebounds, and five steals. Junior forward Kyle Gibson (Franklin, MA) added 13 points and two steals.


Bridgewater jumped out to a 9-0 lead with Lofton connecting for back-to-back layups to cap off the game-opening run.  The Bears still led by nine, 18-9, as the clocked ticked under 13 minutes when RIC went on a 8-1 run to pull to within two, capped off by a DeCiantis layup at the 9:42 mark.


The Bears would get up by as many as seven points over the next five minutes and held a 33-26 advantage at the four-minute mark of the opening stanza. Eight unanswered points by the Anchormen nearly closed out the half with Sanders giving the visitors their first lead of the night, 34-33, on a layup with 36 seconds remaining. Junior guard Barrett Murphy (Marshfield, MA), however, reclaimed the lead for the Bears as he buried a three-pointer with just six seconds left to send the hosts to the locker-room on top, 36-34.


The teams would exchange points over the first couple of minutes of the second half. After Monteiro tied the game at 41 with a three-pointer at the 17:09 mark, both teams went cold over the next six minutes combining for just four points.


Leading, 49-48, with eight and a half minutes left to play, the Anchormen used an 8-2 spurt over the next two minutes on six free throws and a Sanders layup to pull ahead, 57-50. 


The Bears would get as close as three points on three occasions the rest of the way but could not get any closer. A short jumper by Gibson cut the deficit to three with 1:31 remaining, but DeCiantis answered with an uncontested layup to up the lead to five. Bridgewater State went to the foul line on their next two possessions, sandwiched around a Burton layup, but missed the front end of a pair of two shot fouls on both trips.


Down, 71-66, with 26 seconds left and coming out of a timeout, the Bears forced a turnover but could not capitalize despite two chances to cut into the deficit. The Anchormen would make five of six free throws in the final 19 seconds to secure the victory. 


Freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) helped pace the Anchormen with seven points, seven assists, three rebounds and three steals in the win. Sophomore center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI) finished with eight points and five rebounds for RIC, while junior forward Victor Smith (Providence, RI) added seven points and five boards as well.


RIC shot 49 percent (26-for-53) from the floor and connected on 78 percent (21-for-28) of its free throw attempts. Bridgewater State shot 42 percent (27-for-65) for the game and made just 53 percent (8-for-15) of its free throw attempts.


The Anchormen out-rebounded the Bears, 40-35, but lost the turnover battle, 17-15, as the hosts racked up 11 steals in the loss.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will travel to MIT on Saturday, Nov. 30 (1 p.m.).