Second-Half Leads Keene State Past Men's Basketball In LEC Play

Second-Half Leads Keene State Past Men's Basketball In LEC Play

Keene, N.H.—#19 Keene State College erupted for 62 second-half points to avoid becoming UMass Boston men's basketball second upset victim this week, Saturday afternoon at Spaulding Gymnasium.

THE BASICS

#19 Keene State College 90, UMass Boston 8-0

(UMass Boston 6-3)

(Keene State College 6-2)

HOW IT HAPPENED

After the Beacons led by as many as 13 and took a five-point lead into the break, the Owls knocked 59.4 percent of their shots after the break, including six 3-pointers, to snap a pair of streaks.

With the win, Keene State snapped a two-game losing streak, while the loss ended UMass Boston's three-game road winning streak, that included three wins in six days.

Keene State senior forward Jacquel Edwards erupted for a career-best 24 points to lead five Owls in double-figures. Edwards knocked down three 3-pointers and five of his six free throw attempts.

Ty Nichols added 18 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the hosts, Matt Ozzella chipped in with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

For the Beacons, Dan Powers (Westwood, Mass.) led a balanced attack that saw five of the eight Beacons who saw time finish in double-digits. Power poured in a team-high 17 points and added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of his senior campaign.

Seniors Sam Freeman (Boston, Mass.) Careem Kirksey (Dorchester, Mass.) and Neil Cesar (Randolph, Mass.) tacked on 15, 14 and 10 points respectively. Freshman Ty Lee (Boston, Mass.) returned after a three-game absence, to finish with 10 points, seven assists and three assists.

UMass Boston couldn't make up for a relatively poor shooting afternoon, at least compared to the red-hot Owls. The Beacons shot 39.1 percent (27-of-69) from the field and 29.4 percent (5-of-14) from distance. On the other side, Keene finished the game shooting 50.8 percent (30-of-59) and 10-of-21 (47.6 percent) from behind the arc.

After an even first five minutes (10-10), UMass Boston went on a 13-1 run to grab a 23-11 lead with 6:57 to play in the first half. Six different Beacons scored during the stretch, with Cesar capping it of with a 3-pointer.

The Beacons would stretch the advantage to 33-20 with 2:14 left, but Keene State would close the half out with an 8-0 run thanks to a pair of 3-pointers.

Keene State grabbed their first lead of the second half 2:14 into the stanza, when Ty Nichols' 3-pointer made it 38-37. UMass Boston would grab the lead right back at 39-38 and 41-40, but the Owls would control the lead and the game for the final 17 minutes.

Despite the Owls leading by up to eight points for much of the second half, UMass Boston wouldn't go away, as they kept threatening to cut into the advantage. The Beacons got as close as 72-68 with 5:55 to play, but Keene hit 13 of 14 free throws down the stretch.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • UMass Boston hit a season-high 21 free throws and shot their second-best percentage of the season from the line (80.8 percent). On the other side, Keene State finished 20-of-26 (76.9 percent).
  • The Beacons earned a 43-36 advantage on the glass and converted that into an 18-6 edge in second-chance points.
  • Both teams only used eight players in the key Little East Conference matchup.
  • With the loss, UMass Boston fell to 37-13 all-time against the Owls.

WHO'S NEXT

UMass Boston will look to close out first semester with a win, when they host Suffolk University on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.