LATE HEROICS LIFT RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE PAST MEN'S BASKETBALL, 62-61BOSTON, MA - Senior guard Jake Grimes (Providence, RI) netted the game winning bucket with just 3.7 seconds remaining in regulation and sophomore forward Mason Choice (Newport, RI) scored 16 points, including 11 points over the last 5:17 of the contest to help the Rhode Island College men's basketball team hold on against host University of Massachusetts Boston, 62-61, in a Little East Conference contest this afternoon at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston. With the win the Anchormen improve to 13-6 overall and 7-2 in LEC play, while the loss drops the Beacons to 4-16 and 2-7 on the season.
UMass Boston scored four straight points, capped by freshman guard Jason White's (Roxbury, MA) layup with 28 seconds left to play to knot the score at 60-60, giving Rhode Island College a chance to take the last shot of the contest. The Beacons had other plans as senior forward Ernst Jean (Malden, MA) came up with a clutch steal with only 19 seconds remaining in regulation. Jean fed freshman guard Michael Mitchell Jr. (Boston, MA) who drove to the hoop and drew a foul with 14 ticks remaining. After Mitchell Jr. converted one of two from the line, the Beacons led for the first time since the 7:06 mark of the first half, 61-60.
The Anchormen remained calm, dodging the UMass Boston full court pressure to set the stage for Grimes. After catching the ball on the right wing, the senior created space from his defender before making a strong move the basket and finishing a right handed layup with only 3.7 seconds left in regulation to put RIC on top, 62-61. The Beacons called their final timeout to set up one last look for the win but were only able to get off an errant half court shot as time expired.
Down the stretch, Choice was clutch from the charity stripe connecting on seven free throws to help secure the Little East Conference road win for the Anchormen.
In the first half, UMass Boston jumped ahead 6-0 to open the contest before the Anchormen went on a 9-0 run of their own to go ahead 9-6 with 14:41 left in the half. The action was back and forth throughout the majority of the stanza before Rhode Island College closed out the half on a 10-1 run, fueled by four points from Grimes, giving Rhode Island College a 38-27 lead at the intermission.
For the Beacons, junior forward Pat Joseph (Queens, NY) led all scorers with 18 points on a 9-14 shooting performance in addition to grabbing six rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists. White ended the afternoon with 14 points, a game-high five assists and five rebounds, while junior guard Mo Johnson (Portland, OR) was also in double figures, dropping 13 points to go along with two rebounds and two assists.
For the Anchormen, Choice finished the day shooting 10-12 from the line and his16 points were a team-high. Sophomore forward Steven Roberts (New Haven, CT), junior guard Nick Mason (Bronx. NY) and junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, MA) all chipped in with eight-point efforts in the win. Roberts also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
UMass Boston will be back in league action one week from today on Saturday, February 6 when it hosts Eastern Connecticut State University at 3:00 p.m., Rhode Island College plays next on Tuesday, February 2 at Amherst College at 7:00 p.m.