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RIC’s Tom DeCiantis Scores 16 in 71-60 Win Over UMass Dartmouth

RIC’s Tom DiCiantis scored 16 points in the victory over UMass

RIC’s Tom DiCiantis scored 16 points in the victory over UMass

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Sophomore forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) finished with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals, while junior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) added 16 points off the bench, to lead the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team to a 71-60 victory over UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday night at The Murray Center in Little East Conference action.

“This was not a great defensive effort, but we found a way to win,” said head coach Bob Walsh after the game. “We didn’t have the edge that we normally play with, but DeCiantis bailed us out by making some big shots.”

Rhode Island College (19-3, 10-1 LEC) picks up its 11th victory in its last 12 games and continues to hold onto first place in the Little East Conference standings.

After the Anchormen jumped out to an early 22-15 lead with 9:52 remaining in the first half, UMass Dartmouth (4-18, 1-10 LEC) bounced back with a 12-2 run to retake the lead with 5:32 on the clock. However, after DeCiantis immediately answered back with a three-pointer to tie the game at 27, RIC closed out the half on a 20-8 run to take a 44-35 lead into the break. 

Keyed by a 14-7 run to open the frame, the Corsairs rallied back in the second half to cut the deficit to as few as two after a pair of free throws from sophomore center Alex Rodrigues (Fall River, MA) made it 51-49 with 11:13 to play in the ball game. However, the Anchormen pulled away from the visitors down the stretch, closing out the game with a 20-11 run, enroute to the 11-point victory.

Senior center Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT) posted 16 points to help pace the Anchormen, while junior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) chipped in with nine points off the bench. Senior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) flirted with a triple-double, recording seven points, eight assists and six rebounds on the evening.

In total, RIC shot 36 percent (22-for-61) from the floor; 36 percent (5-for-14) from long range; and 63 percent (22-for-35) from the free throw line. On the other end, UMD shot 41 percent (20-for-49) from the field; 20 percent (3-for-15) from downtown; and 71 percent (17-for-24) from the free throw line.

Rhode Island College forced the Corsairs into a 35 percent (8-for-23) shooting effort in the second half and caused 20 turnovers for the game, while the Anchormen committed just nine turnovers on the offensive end.

Sophomore guard Mike Rotando (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) led the Corsairs with 13 points, while sophomore guard Jake Laga (Northampton, MA) registered nine points. Rodrigues tallied eight points and eight rebounds off the bench, while freshman forward Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, MA) contributed with eight points and six rebounds.

Freshman point guard Jacek Louisville (Worcester, MA) totaled six points, six rebounds and a team-high four assists off the bench. UMass Dartmouth out-rebounded RIC 42-37 but the Anchormen corralled 17 offensive rebounds, compared to just 12 for the Corsairs.

In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at home against Southern Maine on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 3 p.m.