Smith Drops 22 on Owls in, 75-70, Overtime Win

More news about: Rhode Island College

Providence, R.I.-Junior forward Victor Smith (Providence, RI) poured in 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots to help send the Rhode Island College men's basketball team to a 75-70 overtime victory over Keene State on Saturday afternoon at The Murray Center in Little East Conference action.
Rhode Island College (14-7, 8-2 LEC) has won 10 of its last 13 contests and has also won six straight games against Keene State (7-13, 4-6 LEC). The Anchormen remain locked into sole possession of second place in the Little East Conference standings, while the Owls stand in a tie for fifth place with Plymouth State.
"We got outplayed for most of the game, but somehow we found a way to win," said coach Bob Walsh. "Our newcomers continue to step up and make plays, but our approach has got to improve."
Smith went 10-for-15 from the floor and chipped in with a pair of assists in the win for Rhode Island College, while freshman guard Austin Cilley (Westerly, RI) recorded 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Junior guard Eric Alleyne (Watertown, MA) registered 13 points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals, while senior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) netted nine points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) stuffed the stat sheet for RIC, as he contributed with six points, six rebounds, four steals, two blocks and two assists.
Freshman forward Jaquel Edwards (Manchester, CT) paced Keene State with 18 points, 12 rebounds, four steals and two blocks, while junior guard Tom Doyle (Wallingford, CT) finished with 13 points, five steals, three assists and two rebounds. Sophomore center Nate Howard (Cheshire, CT) scored 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds to go along with three steals, while sophomore guard Tre' Tipton (Stamford, CT) totaled nine points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals for the Owls.
Following a tightly contested first half that sent the two teams into halftime knotted at 34, the Anchormen slowly crept ahead of the Owls early in the second stanza behind Smith and Alleyne. After a basket from Alleyne put RIC on top, 41-38, with 17:14 on the clock, Smith followed with another bucket in the paint just moments later to give the Anchormen a five point lead, their largest of the game.
Keene State would answer back and eventually jumped ahead of the hosts by six, 55-49, with 10:05 left to play thanks to a trey from senior guard Jim Hepple (Newington, CT), but watched its lead nearly vanish following a 7-2 run from the Anchormen over the next five minutes. After a three-pointer from Alleyne pulled RIC within one, 59-58, with 5:30 on the clock, Doyle responded with a three-point play on the other end to put KSC up, 62-58, with 5:02 remaining.
After Smith connected on a layup at the 3:45 mark to cut RIC's deficit to two, Cilley went on to bury a pair of free throws and tied the game, 62-62, with just 2:48 on the clock. Smith continued to carry the Anchormen on the offensive end, as his jumper with 2:08 remaining gave the hosts a 64-62 lead. However, Tipton answered back for the Owls with a pair of free throws on the other end to tie the game, 64-64, with 1:38 on the clock.
Following a costly Rhode Island College turnover that gave Keene State the ball with less than 90 seconds remaining, sophomore guard Nick Gagliolo (Peabody, MA) converted a layup opportunity with just 1:18 remaining to give the Owls a 66-64 lead. Yet, Smith followed with a turnaround jumper on the ensuing possession that tied the game, 66-66, at the 1:00 mark and eventually proved to force overtime. 
Cilley scored back-to-back baskets for the Anchormen to open overtime, giving the hosts a 70-66 lead just 40 seconds into the frame. Tipton connected on a layup to pull Keene within two, but Burton responded with a layup on the other end to give RIC a 72-68 lead with 2:31 left to play. Tipton drained a pair of free throws at the 2:09 mark, but those would be the final points of the game for the Owls, while free throws from Cilley and senior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) sealed Keene's fate and gave the Anchormen the, 75-70, victory.
For the game, Rhode Island College shot 39 percent (24-for-61) from the floor, 25 percent (4-for-16) from beyond the three-point arc and 66 percent (23-for-35) from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Keene State shot 38 percent (27-for-71) from the field, 18 percent (3-for-17) from downtown and 68 percent (13-for-19) from the free throw line.
Each team committed a whopping 27 turnovers on Saturday, while the Owls managed to come away with 19 steals as a team in the loss. Keene also held a slight, 46-44, advantage in the rebounding battle.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against Western Connecticut on Tuesday, Feb. 11 (7:30 p.m.).