Burton and Page Pace RIC in 78-65 Win Over Elms
Providence, R.I. – Junior forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) racked up 14 points and 15 rebounds to go along with four assists, four blocks and two steals to lead the Rhode Island College men’s basketball team to a 78-65 victory over Elms in nonconference action on Thursday night played at The Murray Center.
Junior guard Eric Alleyne (Watertown, Mass.) registered a team-high 15 points for Rhode Island College (4-3), which included 11 in the second half, while junior forward Jacob Page (Brookline, Mass.) came off the bench to tie his career-high in scoring with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
After struggling throughout much of the first half, RIC outscored the visiting Blazers, 42-26, in the second half and held Elms College (1-6) to a paltry 23 percent (6-for-26) shooting effort through the final 20 minutes en route to the victory. Elms went 14 minutes in the second half without making a field goal, with its only points during that stretch coming from the free throw line.
“We continue to play at a level of toughness that is unacceptable,” said Head Coach Bob Walsh. “We were fortunate to find a way to win.”
Senior forward Isaiah Odunlami (Providence, R.I.) poured in a game-high 27 points for Elms in a losing effort to go along with seven rebounds, two steals and two assists, while freshman forward Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) recorded nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Although the Anchormen took a two-point lead, 10-8, over the Blazers on a three-pointer from senior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, R.I.) with 14:29 remaining in the first half, Elms went on a 10-1 run over the next five minutes to jumped ahead of the hosts by seven, 18-11. Keyed by the play of both Odunlami, who exploded for 20 first-half points, the Blazers held a steady lead over Anchormen throughout the remainder of the first frame and went into the intermission with a three-point lead, 39-36.
Odunlami went 5-for-7 from the floor and 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the first half for Elms, while the Blazers as a team shot 42 percent (13-for-31) from the field and 86 percent (12-for-14) from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, the Anchormen were ice cold in the first half, hitting just 34 percent (13-for-38) of their shots from the field and 24 percent (5-for-21) of their three-pointers.
The second half proved to be a much different story for Rhode Island College, as the hosts stormed out of the break with back-to-back baskets to take a 40-39 lead in the opening minute of the frame. After several minutes of back and forth action in which the hosts held on to a slight lead, Page blew the game open with eight straight points, including a pair of treys, to give the Anchormen a 57-47 lead with 10:39 left to play.
Spearheaded by a pesky defensive effort that resulted in 13 second-half turnovers, RIC stymied the Blazers through the remainder of the ballgame and extended their lead to as many as 14 through the final 10 minutes of action en route to the eventual 13-point victory. Not only did the Anchormen shut down the Blazers offense in the second frame, but they also shot at a cool 45 percent (13-for-29) clip throughout the second half, including a 40 percent (4-for-10) shooting effort from downtown.
Senior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, R.I.) added 10 points and two assists in the win, while classmate guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, R.I.) finished with five points, six assist, and four rebounds. Freshman forward Terrance Tribble (White Plains, N.Y.) chipped in with five points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals, while junior forward Victor Smith (Providence, R.I.) contributed with six points, four assists and four rebounds.
Sophomore guard Derek Murphy (Columbia, Md.) aided Elms with 10 points, four steals and four rebounds off the bench, while junior forward Kenny Lockett (Atlanta, Ga.) notched seven points and nine rebounds.
Sophomore guard Jerry Buchanon (Windsor, Conn.), the Blazers leading scorer heading into Thursday’s contest, was limited to just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
In total, Rhode Island College shot 39 percent (26-for-67) from the floor, 29 percent (9-for-31) from beyond the arc and 65 percent (17-for-26) from the free throw line.
On the other end, Elms shot 33 percent (19-for-57) from the floor, 24 percent (4-for-17) from downtown and 70 percent (23-for-33) from the charity stripe.
The Blazers outrebounded the Anchormen, 46-42, but lost the turnover battle, 21-15.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will open Little East Conference play at Eastern Connecticut on Saturday, Dec. 7 (4 p.m.).