Cilley Scores 23 in, 82-78, Win at Western Connecticut

More news about: Rhode Island College

Danbury, Conn.-Freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) racked up 23 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists as the Rhode Island College men's basketball team held off Western Connecticut en route to an 82-78 victory at Feldman Arena on Wednesday night in Little East Conference action.


RIC improves to 11-5 overall with a 5-1 record in LEC play. The Anchormen have won five straight contests and seven of their last eight overall. Western Connecticut drops to 10-4 overall with a 3-3 mark in conference play.


Senior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) finished with 15 points, a team-high seven assists and five rebounds for RIC, who held the Colonials to a paltry 34 percent (23-for-67) shooting effort on the evening. Senior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) totaled 15 points and three assists, while junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) chipped in with 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.


Sophomore guard Jeremiah Washington (Bridgeport, CT) registered a team-high 16 points for Western to go along with nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Freshman guard Kendall Marquez (Willimantic, CT) added 13 points and four rebounds off the bench, while classmate guard Bobby Bynum (New Haven, CT) recorded 12 points, three assists and two steals.


After Western Connecticut jumped out to an early, 7-2, lead with 17:43 on the clock behind five points from sophomore guard Ronnie Underwood (Bridgeport, CT), the Anchormen stormed out to a 26-11 lead over the hosts following a 24-4 run over the next six and a half minutes. RIC hit 10 straight field goals and scored 15 unanswered points to close out the scoring surge, which was capped off by a trey from Cilley with 11:07 left in the half.


The Anchormen, who jumped ahead by as many as 19 points late in the first frame, eventually went into the break with a 41-27 halftime lead. RIC shot at a remarkable 52 percent (15-for-29) clip through the first 20 minutes and outrebounded the Colonials, 23-11, during the first stanza. Cilley tallied 14 first-half points for the visitors, who also shot 88 percent (7-for-8) from the free throw line and 44 percent (4-for-9) from beyond the three-point arc.  


The Colonials opened the second half with a 19-12 scoring run to cut the deficit down to seven, capped off by a pair of free throws from Washington that made it, 53-46, with 10:39 remaining. After RIC bounced back to extend its lead to 14 on several occasions over the next four minutes, Western again rallied to trim the margin to just five following nine unanswered points, including five points from Marquez.


Clinging to a 65-60 lead 6:24 remaining, the Anchormen upped its lead to nine, 74-65, behind a 9-5 scoring run over the next three minutes. The Colonials responded with back-to-back baskets to again cut the deficit to five with 1:32 on the clock and eventually made it a two-point game after a brief scoring flurry was capped off by a three-pointer from junior center Tony Seldon (Bloomfield, CT) with just 19 seconds left to play.


After a single free throw from junior forward Jacob Page (Brookline, MA) on the ensuing possession put the visitors on top, 81-78, with 15 seconds on the clock, Western missed a jumper on the other end, while DeCiantis buried a single free throw with one second left to seal the, 82-78, victory for RIC.


RIC outrebounded Western, 44-37, in the win, but committed a whopping 29 turnovers, as the hosts came up with 19 steals on the night. However, the Anchormen dished out 20 assists on the night, compared to just eight assists for the Colonials, who also committed 18 turnovers of their own.


The Anchormen shot 49 percent (27-for-55) from the field, 50 percent (8-for-16) from beyond the three-point arc, 63 percent (20-for-32) from the free throw line.


 The Colonials connected on 82 percent (27-for-33) of its free throw attempts, but shot just 19 percent (5-for-27) from downtown.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College hosts Eastern Connecticut in Little East Conference action on Saturday, Jan. 25 (3 p.m.).