BOSTON, Mass. - With five different players finishing in double-figures including a team-high 19 from Jeff Lunn, the Owls of Keene State College defeated men's basketball by the final of 93-76 Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium in the Little East Conference opener for the Beacons.
With the loss UMass Boston dropped to 3-4, 0-1 in the conference. For the Owls the victory marked theirs second straight after starting the year off at 0-5. They are also 1-1 in the conference having dropped their first conference game of the year to the University of Southern Maine.
Saturday's contest was an interesting one to the say the least. Combined there were a total of 53 fouls whistled and 75 free throws attempted. Despite the slew of whistles the Owls still managed to shoot over 48% from the floor with Lunn leading the way as she went 8-for-9 with one 3-pointer.
The Beacons were once again led by junior forward Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) as he totaled a game-high 26 points on 7-of-16 shooting with one 3-pointer. At the line he was 11-for-13 to lead all shooters. Fellow forward Jerard Mayes (Boston, Mass.) finished second on the team in points and rebounds with 16 and eight. Gregory Young (Boston, Mass.) was the final Beacon to finish in double-digits as the newcomer recorded 15 points. On the glass the Boston native grabbed a game-high nine boards.
Proving to be the Owls biggest weapon in Saturday's win was their bench. The eight players that were not in the starting line-up for the Owls accounted for 42 points, as compared to the Beacons 15. The two teams were even in the paint each scoring 38.
The first 10 minutes of the opening half was an exciting back-and-forth exchange between the two teams as they both were in the hunt for their first conference win. However a run by the Owls late in the first half gave them a double-figure lead. Trailing by as much as 12 the Beacons knew they needed to get back on track if they were going to have any chance at bouncing back in the second half.
Luckily both teams were in the double bonus so the Beacons did a majority of their scoring at the free throw line. With less than a minute to go Keene's comfortable lead disintegrated to just a three point deficit. The Owls would go on to score the final four points of the half to take a 41-34 lead into the break.
In the second, it did not take long for the whistle to start blowing as the two teams continued to battle up and down the court. This time however the Owls lead was never once threatened as they once again pushed their lead to double-figures.
The Beacons ended the game shooting 39.7% from the field (23-59). Keene State won the battle of the boards as they out-rebounded the Beacon 46-38. The Owls handed out a total of 24 assists, while UMass managed just seven in the loss. Center Nate Howard who had 26 points and 20 rebounds in the win over Colby-Sawyer College managed just seven points and six rebounds, but had a game-high five blocked shots.
Men's Basketball returns to action next Saturday when they travel to Rhode Island College for a 3 p.m. conference game.