KEENE, N.H. - The Keene State College men's basketball team scored 10 consecutive points after giving up the opening basket and never trailed again while steadily pulling away to an 89-64 season-opening victory over Salem State University on Saturday evening at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 1-0
- Salem State: 0-1
How It Happened
Preseason All-American Ty Nichols led the Owls with 22 points, including an 11-of-11 showing from the free throw line, while adding a team-high seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. James Anozie chipped in 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while DeVon Beasley (4-7 from the field, 2-of-3 from deep) and Miguel Prieto each had 12 points for KSC, which made 8-of-17 from long range and had 18 assists on 32 field goals. Salem State was led by Sean Bryan's 22 points.
The Vikings scored the opening basket of the game, but the Owls caught fire after that, as Prieto and Beasley each had treys in a 10-0 run. Paul Mahon's first collegiate points, a three, made it 13-4 Keene State and, later, Sidi Diallo's jumper made it a 10-point advantage (17-7). KSC continued to keep SSU at arm's length as the half progressed, and layups from Anozie and Prieto had the Owls up 27-15 with a little over nine minutes remaining until the break. The Keene State offense slowed some from there, as Salem State drew within 31-25 on two Bryan free throws at the 3:49 mark. However, two Nichols free throws and an Anozie bucket quickly put the Owls back-up double-digits. KSC took a 39-29 lead into the locker room.
The Owls shot 42% from the field and made 5-of-10 from long range to pull away in the second half. Salem State scored the initial four points to draw within six, but never got any closer than that, as Nichols scored four points in a row for a 43-33 advantage with 17:49 left. The teams traded baskets from there, as two Viking threes sandwiched around one from Beasley made it 50-43 at the 14:18 mark. It was all Owls from there, though, as they scored 11 consecutive points in less than two minutes to go up 61-43. Nichols had a two different three-point plays and Diallo made a triple of his own during the surge. Keene State was never threatened after that and expanded the lead to as many as 25 late in the contest. Nichols scored 14 of his 22 points after halftime to help KSC to the runaway victory. Beasley added nine.
Inside the Paint
- It was the first meeting between the two programs since December 29, 2007. Keene State has won 3 of 4 in the all-time series, including one victory in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. It was Salem State's first ever game at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Nichols, who started the season fourth on KSC's all-time scoring list, currently has 1,570 career points. Tyler Kathan '09 is in third with 1,799.
- Keene State, which outrebounded Salem State 53-50, got at least four rebounds from eight different people.
- The game marked the collegiate debuts of Owl freshmen Mahon, Nyzair Rountree, Tony Harris, and Edwin Ezedonmwen.
- Keene State remains home to host preseason-No. 7 Springfield College on Tuesday, November 13 at 7:30 pm.
- Salem State takes on another Little East foe, as they travel to play UMass Dartmouth on the same day and time.