Why do people attend sports games?
Is it for the loud music? The halftime entertainment? The hope that your team will come out victorious? Maybe so, but how about this reason:
The February 15 men’s basketball home contest against the Rhode Island College Anchormen had fans’ hearts jumping into their throats with perhaps the Owls biggest and most intense comeback of the entire season.
Keene State’s women’s basketball team had fallen to Rhode Island College earlier in the day with a final score of 57-42, making the men’s team’s craving for a win even stronger.
Not to mention, a handful of Owl alumni sat courtside to show support for the team they once played for. Needless to say, Keene State wanted a win badly.
Rhode Island College, at the time of the game, was the number three ranked men’s basketball team in Little East Conference, following closely behind Western Connecticut State University in second and UMass-Dartmouth in first. Additionally the players with the two highest points per game averages in the LEC, first-year guard Shion Darby and junior guard Keyshaun Jacobs, play for the Anchormen.
When gameplay started the Anchormen took off quickly, leading 8-0 just 1:44 into the first half. It wasn’t until junior guard Sidi Diallo sank a three-pointer that the Owls made it on the board.
Throughout the game, the Owls trailed the Anchormen by various amounts, not once taking the lead from them.
At eight minutes left in the game, all hope was almost lost as the Owls trailed the Anchormen by 16 points. However, unbenounced to anyone, that minute marked the beginning of a strong comeback.
First-year forward Jeff Hunter made a layup. Hunter followed that with a dunk.
Diallo went in for a layup and made it, followed by another layup, this time made by senior center Ben Olson.
First-year forward Nick Redden got in on the action by sinking a three-pointer, only to have junior guard DeVon Beasley make his own three-pointer 40 seconds later.
Diallo made two free-throw shots and then Redden made a layup.
Hunter made a two-point jump shot and suddenly, with a three-pointer from Beasley, the game tied with 1:04 left.
The Owls took full advantage of the last minute, ultimately winning the game off of four free-throw baskets made equally by Diallo and Hunter.
Some notable performances in the game included Hunter, who hit a career high of 29 points (see this week’s Editor’s Picks for more), Diallo, who raked in 13 points during the game, and newcomer junior guard Jaylen Franklin, who brought in 12 points.
Keene State’s men’s basketball team hits the court again on February 19 against Eastern Connecticut State University on the Warriors’ home court. The last time the Owls took on the Warriors, EastConn won in overtime with a final score of 68-65. The showdown before that was the 2019 Little East Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, which the Owls won and were named the LEC Champs.
Claire Boughton can be contacted