Ryan Glavey

Sports Editor


Both the Keene State College men’s and women’s basketball teams were eliminated from their Little East Conference tournament in the semifinal rounds.

The men’s team went on a nine game winning streak at one point, and ranked among the top 25 Division III teams.

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The run was highlighted by KSC’s victory over, at the time, number one ranked Middlebury College in a 77-76 upset.

“Not only was the Middlebury hugefor our program, but it was huge for the institution,” KSC Men’s Basketball  Coach Rob Colbert said. “When the students rushed the court, that’s one of my favorite memories of my time here [at KSC].”

However, the Owls struggled late, losing their last three regular season games to Western Connecticut State, Eastern Connecticut State, and Rhode Island College.

“You have to look at who they played,” KSC Athletic Director John Ratliff said. “The men played the three top teams in the conference, so they could have won or lost any of those games and it wouldn’t have been a surprise.”

The men’s team fell to the fourth seed in the LEC.

They were able to defeat UMass-Dartmouth 75-64 at home in the first round of the LEC tournament, but lost again to Eastern Connecticut State in a 81-76 double-overtime game in the tournament semifinals.

The Owls finished the year with a 19-8 record, and Colbert said due to the selection process KSC never really got a chance to be compared with the country to make the NCAA tournament.

Colbert said he felt good about KSC’s chances, and it was just unfortunate how things played out.

Colbert also said the team made the decision that this year was NCAA or bust, and they would not compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament if they didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament.

Ratliff said the LEC is simply an incredibly tough conference, making it hard for any team to advance to the NCAA tournament.

“The Little East Conference is very competitive, so its very difficult to get out of,” Ratliff said. “If either the men’s or women’s teams get into the [NCAA] tournament, they could win a game or two.”

The KSC women’s basketball team went on a similar mid-season run with  a seven game winning streak.

“Like we had done all year, we played great defense and rebounded well,” Women’s Head Coach Keith Boucher said. “But we also made great shots when we had to.”

Just like the men’s team, Western Connecticut State ended the Lady Owls’ streak in a 55-53 overtime loss for KSC. Boucher said earlier in the year they were beating teams despite the team’s poor field goal percentage, and he said he knew that would catch up with the team eventually.

“You can’t come down the court against great teams five, six, seven times in a row and not put the ball in the net,” Boucher said.

The team continued to struggle late in the year with losses to the remainder of their LEC competition, with only 58-27 victory over non-conference foe, Lasell College, to help pick them up before the conference tournament.

The women’s team entered the LEC tournament as the three seed, and were able to best sixth-seeded UMass-Boston in the first round.

However, the team also fell in the semifinals in a 60-52 loss to Southern Maine to end their season. Boucher said he likes to look at whether his team came to play versus if they came to compete, and he said he was impressed to see the team came to compete most of the time.

The women’s team will play Regis College in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 29.

Despite KSC’s far superior strength of schedule versus the other teams competing for bids in the ECAC tournament, he’s worried the selection might overlook that fact in favor simply of teams with more wins.

Both the men’s and women’s teams played very tough schedules that included multiple ranked teams.


Ryan Glavey can be contacted at rglavey@keene-equinox.com

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