Keene State Downs Southern Maine 92-57

Sophomore Brandon Tomah led the Huskies with 16 points.
Sophomore Brandon Tomah led the Huskies with 16 points.
Courtesy of KSC Sports Information
KEENE, N.H. – The Keene State men's basketball team extended its winning streak to eight games, its longest victory streak since the 2007-08 season, with a 92-57 win over the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference game played at before a near-capacity crowd of 1,600 fans at Spaulding Gym on Saturday.

With the win, Keene State (17-4, 9-1 LEC) strengthens its grip on first place in the LEC standings.  Southern Maine (9-11, 2-8 LEC) saw its two-game winning streak come to an end.

Unlike Thursday's game when they had to come back from an 18 point second half deficit, the Owls showed a lot of energy from the start of the game.  "It's another league win.  We only have a few games left, so we have to come out and attack, "said senior Ollie Hunter (Bedford, N.H.), who finished with a team 15 points.  "Southern Maine played us pretty close last time, so coach (Rob Colbert) emphasized don't take them lightly.  So it was important we came out and showed a lot of energy."Junior Ryan Martin (Wayne, Me.)  also scored in double figures with 14 points.

The Owls used a 14-3 run over the final 4:39 first half to pull away from the Huskies and take a 41-30 halftime lead.  The uprising began with a transition three-pointer by Martin.  Junior Rashad Wright (Agawam, Mass.) tracked down a length long pass from Martin and went in for a finger roll lay-up to make it 38-28.    

Hunter had 13 points and Martin scored 12 points as KSC shot a scotching 61% (17-28) from the field in the first half.

The Owls continued their up-tempo game in the second half, going on a 15-5 run out of the break. After making a block, Wright found a streaking Hunter who went in for the slam to give KSC a 47-33 lead. Back-to-back three-pointers by juniors Eric Fazio (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) and Anthony Mariano (Naugatuck, Conn.) gave the Owls a commanding 56-35 lead at the 15:08 mark.

Later in the half, sophomore Jim Hepple (Newington, Conn.) knocked down a three ball from the corner to extend the Owls' lead to 25 points (65-40) with 11:30 to play.

Sophomore Brandon Tomah (Princeton, Me.) scored 16 points and had three assists and senior Chris Pagentine (Lexington, N.C.) added 11 points and a team-high five assists for Southern Maine.  Junior guard Alex Kee (Bath, Maine/Morse) chipped in with eight points, two assists and two steals.

The Owls had a good shooting day, connecting on 35-64 shots (55%) from the field and going 7-15 (47%) from behind the arc.  KSC also controlled the board 51-24.

         Southern Maine hosts UMass Boston on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.).  Keene State travels to Plymouth State on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.).