GORHAM, Maine – Dizel Wright scored six of his teams final 10 points in a 10-6 game-closing run to help the Keene State College Owls fight off a competitive University of Southern Maine Huskies squad 77-74 in a Little East Conference men's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Hill Gymnasium.
Surviving the Huskies for its consecutive win, Keene State improves to 14-5 overall and 8-1 in the Little East. Southern Maine falls to 2-17 with the loss and 1-8 in the conference.
Wright was one of three KSC players in double-figures scoring 14 of his 18 points in the second half in the win. Wright was 7-for-10 from the field adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Ty Nichols led the Owls with a team-high 27 points, shooting 8-for-11 from the floor, adding seven rebounds and six assists. James Anozie finished with 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting.
Senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) matched his career-high with 36 points. McCue was 11-for-20 from the field, making 5-of-10 from three-point range for his game-high total. Freshman DJ Anderson (Houston, Texas/Davis) added 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal in another strong performance. Senior Cam Scott (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) had six points on 2-for-3 shooting from three.
Despite trailing KSC from the opening basket, the Huskies scrapped their way to remain in the contest keeping within striking distance at the half, trailing 39-32. Down by nine, 31-22, with 6:15 left in the first half, USM rattled off eight consecutive points to pull to within one, 31-30 with 3:40 to play. McCue started the run with a three, and closed the run with a traditional three-point play on a driving layup and a free throw. KSC asserted itself however in the closing minutes of the half with a 8-2 run led by five points from Nichols.
The Owls remained in front of USM by three possessions in the second half and led 62-53 on an offensive rebound and a put-back from Ben Olson with 9:49 to play, before USM took its first lead of the game on the heels of an 13-3 run that spanned the next four minutes of action. Three different players scored in the run for USM led by seven points from McCue. A pair of free throws from Anderson made it a one-point game, 64-65, before an offensive rebound and a layup gave USM its first lead 66-65 with 5:29 to play.
Both teams exchanged baskets and the lead over the next two possessions, and USM had its last lead of the game, 68-67 on another lay-up from Anderson, before KSC rattled off seven straight points to assume the lead for good. After Anderson's bucket, Wright finished at the rim on an assist from Nichols in back-to-back trips, before Nichols canned a three to give his team a 74-68 lead with 2:31 to play. From there, KSC closed out the game at the free throw line for the final.
Southern Maine returns to action on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) in a non-conference game against Colby College.
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