Behind Garrow, Warriors dump No. 14 Anchormen for first LEC victory
PROVIDENCE, R.I.-- Senior guard Joe Ives (Avon) scored 12 of his 14 points as the Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team shot 67 percent from the field in the first half on the way to a 76-68 Little East Conference victory over No. 14 nationally-ranked Rhode Island College Saturday afternoon at the Murray Center.
At left: Mike Garrow
The win is the third in a row for Eastern (6-2, 1-1 LEC) and third in the last four games against Rhode Island (7-2, 1-1 LEC), which has lost its last two after claiming its first seven. Among its wins was a 68-44 triumph Nov. 29 over MIT, ranked No. 1 nationally at the time. Eastern defeated RIC 82-60 in the championship game of last year's Little East tournament.
Senior forward Mike Garrow (Terryville) led the Warriors with 22 points and five rebounds, while Ives and freshman guard Trachone Preston (Enfield) totaled 14 points each. Sophomore guard BrandonYarborough (Stamford) contributed ten points and a team-high eight rebounds to go along with two blocks and two steals, while senior forward Chris Robitaille (Canton) dished out a team-high five assists to go along with seven points and six boards.
Senior guard Tahrike Carter finished with a career-high 22 points for the hosts, sinking eight of 16 field field goals, but the other four starters managed just 2-for-20 from the floor and were guilty of more turnovers (7) than points (6).
"Eastern Connecticut played with an intensity edge that we just couldn't match," RIC Head Coach Bob Walsh said. "Give them credit. They were prepared for the level you need to play at to win Little East games and we were not."
Eastern jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the 16:19 mark of the first half, capped by a three-pointer from Preston. The Warriors built on the momentum by outscoring the hosts, 10-6 over the next 3:30 to increase their advantage to 20-10 with 12:49 remaining.
With RIC down by seven points, 24-17, at 7:24, Carter started the Anchormen on the comeback trail with a layup that keyed an 8-0 run. Back-to-back three-pointers by junior guard Mike Palumbo gave the Anchormen a 28-24 lead at 4:38.
Ives drained a clutch longball, which was followed by a Robitaille layup and a free throw by Yarborough to put the Warriors up by a pair, 32-30, at 2:00. Free throws by RIC senior center Steven Robert briefly tied the game, but Ives made a pair from the charity stripe with four seconds left to send the visitors into the half up by two, 34-32.
Eastern scored the first six points of the second half to push a two-point halftime lead to eight two minutes into action. The Anchormen chipped away at their deficit to climb within five points, 42-37, at 14:38. Eastern stormed back with a 9-2 surge, keyed by five points by Garrow, to go up by 12, 51-39, with 10:20 left.
Trailing by double figures, the Anchormen managed to cut the deficit to seven points on several occasions down the stretch, but seemingly could not pull any closer. With 2:30 on the clock, sophomore forward Chris Burton buried a three-pointer to make it, 64-60. After a steal by Roberts on the ensuing inbound, Burton knocked down a layup with just 2:13 left to play to cut the deficit to just two.
However, after Robitaille hit one of two free throws for the Warriors to make it a three-point game, Yarborough was fouled while converting a clutch layup with just 1:17 on the clock. His three-point play gave Eastern a 68-62 lead and essentially sealed the victory for the Warriors, as the Anchormen couldn't muster a comeback in the final minute of the game, despite pulling within five points on two separate occasions.
Eastern shot 55 percent (22-for-40) from the floor, 56 percent (5-for-6) from downtown and 79 percent (27-for-34) from the free throw line. Rhode Island College shot just 40 percent (27-for-68) from the field, 30 percent (6-for-20) from downtown and 47 percent (8-for-17) from the free throw line.
While the Warriors outshot the hosts by a wide margin (percentage-wise), RIC actually outscored Eastern by 11 from the floor but Eastern forced the Anchormen into 25 fouls and outscored them by 19 from the stripe Garrow was 9-for-13 and Ives and Preston were both perfect on four tries each. With the exception of Garrow, no Eastern player missed more than one freebie, leading to a 79.4 percent marksmanship from the line.
Despite being outrebounded by the Warriors, 34-32, the Anchormen corralled 15 rebounds as a team. Carter led the hosts with a team-high eight board, including four offensive boards, to go along with four assists and two steals.
Rhode Island also forced 25 turnovers, while committing just 13 turnovers on the offensive end. Burton finished with a game-high six steals and also added 17 points and four boards for the Anchormen. Roberts chipped in with 12 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals, while Palumbo finished with nine points off the bench.
With his second straight 20+ point game, Garrow took over the team scoring lead with an average of 16.6
Eastern competes at the Adidas Holiday Slam Dec. 21-22 in Miami. The Warriors face Buffalo State College at 3 p.m. Dec. 21 and Messiah College at 5 p.m. Dec. 22.
Rhode Island College Sports Information contributed to this game account.