Men's hoops drops nailbiter to RIC in season opener, 48-46

Youri Dascy '14 (photo by SportsPix)
Youri Dascy '14 (photo by SportsPix)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (courtesy Rhode Island College) -Senior guard Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, NY) tallied a game-high 13 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists, while sophomore forward Chris Burton (New Rochelle, NY) added 10 points, six rebounds, four blocks and three steals, as the Rhode Island College men's basketball team knocked off Brandeis University, 48-46, in non-conference action on Saturday afternoon at The Murray Center.

In what proved to be a low-scoring, defensive-minded affair, both squads went back and forth throughout a first half that featured three ties and four lead changes. After Rhode Island College (2-0) took a 22-20 lead into halftime, the Anchormen stormed out of the break to go ahead by seven, spearheaded by a three-pointer from junior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) at the 17:17 mark.

Brandeis (0-1) rallied back on several occasions in the early stages of the second half to cut the deficit to as little as three, but RIC again surged ahead of the Judges to take an 11-point lead on a deep trey from junior guard Michael Palumbo (Providence, RI) with 9:26 left to play. Moments later, the Anchormen took a 12-point lead, their largest of the game, thanks to a three-pointer from Carter with 8:29 on the clock that made it, 40-28.

Despite trailing by double-digits with five minutes remaining in the game, Brandeis continued to chip away at the deficit and eventually cut the margin to four after junior guard Ben Bartoldus (Hillsborough, N.H./Proctor Acad.) converted a layup attempt with 1:15 left to play. Following a costly RIC turnover, the Judges cut the deficit to two with just 44 seconds on the clock after a basket in the paint from junior forward Alex Stoyle (Goffstown, N.H./Tilton School).

With his team clinging to a two-point lead, Carter converted a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left to give RIC a 47-43 lead. However, junior guard Derek Retos (North Attleboro, Mass./Brimmer and May School) nailed an acrobatic, fade-away three-pointer from the baseline with just five seconds left to pull the Judges within one.

Brandeis quickly fouled junior guard Nyheem Sanders (Pawtucket, RI) on the ensuing inbound, sending him to the free throw line with 2.7 seconds left on the clock. Sanders drained the first shot but missed the second one, giving the Judges one last chance for a half-court heave after they corralled the rebound and immediately called a timeout.

Trailing by two with just two seconds on the clock, Brandeis junior guard Gabriel Moton (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg) - a transfer from Boston College - gathered the inbound pass, dribbled past half-court, and fired a long, two-handed shot that caromed off the rim and narrowly missed giving Brandeis a miraculous victory.

DeCiantis chipped in with eight points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals to help lead the Anchormen to victory, while Sanders and freshman center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI) recorded six points apiece.

Junior center Youri Dascy (Fall River, Mass./St. Andrews, R.I.) led Brandeis with nine points, three assists and three steals, while Retos added eight points, five boards, two assists and two steals. Bartoldus registered eight points and three rebounds, while Moton corralled a game-high eight rebounds to go along with five points, six assists and a pair of steals.

Brandeis shot 41 percent from the field (17-for-42) and 33 percent (5-for-15) from beyond the arc, while Rhode Island College shot just 30 percent from the floor (16-for-53) and 22 percent from downtown (5-for-23). However, the Anchormen owned the turnover battle on Saturday, as the Judges coughed up the ball 22 times, compared to just 13 turnovers for RIC.

In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will host Bridgewater State on Tuesday, Nov. 20 (7:30 p.m.).