BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Freshman guard Shion Darby (Peekskill, N.Y.) scored a game-high 35 points as the visiting Rhode Island College men's basketball team held off Bridgewater State University, 86-82, on Tuesday night at the Tinsley Center.
The Anchormen improve to 5-1 on the season, while the Bears fall to 0-5. RIC holds a slight 18-17 edge in the all-time series which dates back to 1985.
Darby connected on 11 of 21 field goal attempts including 4-for-7 from behind the arc. He also added six rebounds, four assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shots.
RIC senior forward Benjamin Vezele (Providence, R.I.) checked in with double-double totals of 16 points and a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with three blocks and two steals, while junior guard Keyshaun Jacobs (Lynn, Mass.) registered 11 points, three boards, and three assists, and sophomore guard Deyshawn Tengbeh (East Providence, R.I.) added ten points and five boards in 22 minutes off the bench.
Senior forward Rayshon Ward (Fayetteville. N.C.) paced the Bears with 22 points and equaled his career-high with 21 rebounds (six offensive). Ward, who notched his second double-double of the season, added four assists, two steals and two blocks.
BSU senior forward Dimitri St. Louis (Brockton, Mass.) recorded his second straight double-double as he tallied a season-high 21 points to go along with a career-best 15 rebounds (seven offensive). Senior guard Ryan Carney (Easton, Mass.) added a season-high 24 points for the Bears as well as four rebounds and five assists.
RIC trailed 13-11 six minutes into the game, but used a 10-0 run to take control of the first half. Darby knocked down a pair of three-pointers during the spurt as the Anchormen jumped ahead 21-13 with 10 ½ minutes remaining in the opening stanza. The Bears pulled to within four, 24-20, following back-to-back buckets by St. Louis with 8:55 showing on the scoreboard, but the visitors answered with eight straight points, including four from Darby, to open up a double-digit advantage (32-20) as the clock ticked under five minutes. RIC would ultimately take a 39-29 lead into the break.
Darby and St. Louis each scored 15 points in the first half to lead their respective teams. The Anchormen shot 44% (15-34) in the opening stanza including 6-for-17 (35%) from behind the arc. The Bears connected on 38% (13-34) of their first half field goal attempts and went 3-for-10 (30%) from long range.
An 8-2 run to open the second half, led by four points from St. Louis, pulled the Bears to within four. Bridgewater had multiple opportunities to cut it to two, but could not convert. A long three-pointer by Jacobs jumpstarted a 12-4 RIC spurt as the Anchormen pushed the lead back to 12, 53-41, with 13:31 remaining.
Trailing by nine (56-47) later in the period, the Bears reeled off six straight points, highlighted by a Ward trifecta, to make it a three-point game (56-53) with under nine minutes left to play. The Anchormen answered with a 12-2 run over the next two minutes to go back up by double digits, 68-55. Darby scored four points during the run which also featured a pair of three-pointers from Tengbeh and freshman guard Jahden Erold (Boston, Mass.).
RIC maintained the double-digit advantage and got up by as many as 16 points (76-60) before a late 9-0 BSU run cut the deficit to seven, 76-69, as the clock ticked under two minutes. Carney highlighted the run with five points including a three-pointer.
After a Vezele tip-in pushed the Anchormen lead back up to nine with 1:49 remaining, Ward answered with a pair of free throws at the other end of the floor. RIC missed the front end of a one-on-one and Ward came down with a clutch offensive board and knocked down two more free throws to make it a five-point game, 78-73, with 1:16 showing on the scoreboard. Darby made two from the line and Vezele blocked a driving layup to give the visitors an 80-73 lead and the ball with under a minute to left to play.
RIC went just 6-for-11 from the free throw line in the final minute to keep the door ajar. The Bears scored eight points during that span including a three-pointer by sophomore guard Jose Monteiro Jr. (Brockton, Mass.) with 9.3 seconds remaining to make it a four-point game (86-82). The Anchormen missed both free throws, but a BSU three-pointer came up short and the buzzer sounded ending the Bears' comeback bid.
Rhode Island College shot 43% (30-70) for the game including 11-for-31 (35.5%) from behind the arc. The Anchormen also went 15-for-23 (65%) at the stripe.
The Bears finished with shooting percentages of 39.5% (30-76) from the floor, 25% (6-24) from three-point range and 76% (16-21) at the line.
In upcoming action, the Bears travel to UMass Dartmouth on Monday (Dec. 2) evening for a seven o'c lock game with the Corsairs. The Anchormen entertain Regis College on Sunday (Dec. 1) evening at five.