The Keene State men’s basketball team recorded their fourth straight win in a row. The Owls took on Eastern Connecticut State University in the Spaulding gymnasium on Jan. 25.
This was a crucial win for the Owls, as Eastern is seated in the No. 2 spot in the Little East Conference (LEC). Four of the Owls made it to double digits. Ty Nichols led the Owls with 26 points and nine assists, Matthew Ozzella added 25 points and nine rebounds and Jaquel Edwards sank 23 baskets.
Keene State took an early lead in the beginning of the half. Edwards hit three shots in a row, while Lucas Hammel sank a three-pointer. Edwards drained another three with 15:29 left, giving the Owls a 13-7 lead. The Warriors reacted quickly and outscored Keene 16-10 over the next four minutes to tie the game at 23.
The Warriors sank a pair of threes around another layup, landing their first lead of the game, 34-27. Toward the end of the first half, the Owls came to life going on a 15-3 run with Jimmy Layman’s steal and fast break layup and Hammel sinking a pair of foul shots to even the game at the half with 47 on the scoreboard for both teams.
The Warriors scored the first five points of the second half, but the Owls gave it right back. With their quick scoring, they received a 13-2 run over the next three minutes, giving the Owls the lead 60-54. Ozzella grabbed the ball and ran it up the court, landing his ninth and tenth point of the game for his 1,000-point milestone.
Ozzella didn’t stop there; he kept shooting and landed a three for a 67-59 lead. Eastern’s Tarchee Brown scored seven straight points to get them within three. David Canny also shot at the free throw line with 7:19 left on the clock, giving the Warriors a one-point lead advantage, 77-76, Warriors. Each team managed to find the basket, then the Owls went up 82-81 on Layman’s layup, while Edwards swished a jumper from just the side of the three-point line with just about four minutes left in the game. Ozzella made two more free throws for a 93-84 lead with just 1:25 on the clock. The Warriors weren’t giving in, they had one more run and sank two quickfire three-pointers to make it a three-point game with just 26 seconds left.
First year Jake Collagan made two perfect free throws after Eastern fouled. Dizel Wright broke away for a slam as time end the game. The loss for the Warriors ended their nine-game winning streak. After a win by the Owls, it now only puts them one game behind the Warriors in the LEC standings.
Shelby Iava can be contacted at Siava@kscequinox.com
Cameron Mozzer can be contacted at Cmozzer@kscequinox.com