KEENE, NH - Senior forward Rashard Rodriguez (Trumbull, CT) and junior center Fenton Bradley, Jr. (Mansfield, CT) scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, but the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team fell to host Keene State College, 107-80, in the Little East Conference Tournament semifinals at Spaulding Gym on Friday night.
The Colonials, the tournament's fourth seed, close out the season, their first under head coach Guy Rancourt, with a 17-10 record. Keene State, LEC's co-regular-season champion and number one seed, improves to 19-7 on the year and will face either #2 Eastern Connecticut State University or #3 University of Massachusetts Dartmouth tomorrow at 5:30 pm for the conference title and an automatic berth into the NCAA Championship.
The Owls were led by Ty Nichols' 27 points while James Anozie and Edwin Ezedonmwen contributed 22 and 15 points, respectively. Sidi Diallo finished with 10 points as KSC finished with four players in double figures in the scoring column.
Nichols and Anozie controlled the boards as well on Friday, collecting 12 and 11 rebounds, respectively, nearly out rebounding the Colonials which collected 27 caroms as a team.
Senior guard Aaron Samuel (Stratford, CT), who has led WestConn during its last half of the season, was held to just seven points in the loss, more than half of his team-leading 14.7 scoring average. He wrapped up his collegiate career with a team-high five rebounds.
Keene State led from the tip and built its lead to 52-25 as both teams went into intermission. Its largest lead of the game, 40 points at 82-42, came with 10:31 remaining in the second stanza following a free throw by Anozie.
WestConn would not roll over down the stretch and outscored the Owls, 38-25 over the final 10:25 of the game.
Offense was prominent in the second half for both the Colonials and Owls as both scored 55 points over the final 20 minutes.