KEENE, N.H. – A 3-pointer from Tre' Tipton with less than a minute to play would be the deciding basket as the Owls of Keene State College (4-3, 2-0 Little East) overcame a double-figure deficit to defeat men's basketball (5-4, 1-1 Little East) by the final of 80-76 Saturday afternoon in Spaulding Gymnasium in a Little East Conference game.
Following a full timeout the Owls stepped back onto the court and inbounded the ball. They quickly moved it up the floor and found a wide-open Tipton in the far right corner. The guard would then put-up the deep three, which hit nothing but net to push the Owls out in front.
After a UMB 30-second timeout the Beacons would put-up a pair of 3-point attempts with both falling just short of tying the contest. Tipton grabbed the defensive board on the second Beacons shot and was immediately fouled. He would then nail both free throws making it a two-possession game with 13 seconds left on the clock.
Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.), who was red hot in the first half, missed his final 3-pointer of the day, with the Owls once again collecting the rebound. Another foul by the Beacons sent Tom Doyle to the line where he clinched the victory as he went 2-for-2 at the charity strip.
UMass did score the final basket of the day, when Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.) hit a very long three to make it the four-point deficit.
Proving to be the biggest factor in Saturday's contest was a 15-2 run by the Owls late in the second half, which completely shifted the momentum. Back on their heels, UMass tried to make one last push in the form of four points from Rahshjeem Benson (Boston, Mass.), but their efforts were ultimately countered by Tipton's game-changing three.
In the first half the Beacons used the long range shooting of DeLucia to help them get out in front of the Owls. The sophomore posted 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first 20 minutes of play. Both teams would close out the opening half, shooting over 48% with UMB holding a slight advantage, and the score tied at 42-42.
After the break, the Beacons continued to build-off of their first half success and pushed their lead to six in the first three minutes of play, with baskets from Joseph, DeLucia, and Brian Clarke (Miramar, Fla.). Keene would continue to chip at the Beacons lead, but they would never really gain control of the scoreboard.
The Beacons biggest run of the half came at the midway point when they went on a quick 5-0 run to make it 63-54. William Rosary III (Fontana, Calif.) pushed UMB's lead to double-figures on a lay-up, and with a jumper from Benson the Beacons led 67-54. Unfortunately that huge shift in momentum did not last as the Owls clawed their way back to take the victory.
Both teams would have four players finish in double-figures in Saturday's contest. After DeLucia, Benson managed 16 points and eight boards off the bench, while Joseph and Joshua Mojica (Loiza, Puerto Rico) each finished with 10 points.
For the Owls, they were led by Ryan Martin's 19 points, two assists and two blocks. Martin's game-high 19 also put him over the 1,000 point plateau which he reached in less than three seasons. Tipton finished with 14 points, followed by Eric Fazio with 13 and Doyle with 11. Doyle also finished with the games only double-double as he pulled down 10 boards.
Men's Basketball returns to action on Thursday when they host Framingham State University at 7 p.m. in the Clark Gym.