After a hot start to the their campaign in the 2014-2015 season, which saw the Keene State College men’s basketball team start off 9-1, the team is off to a 2-0 start to open up the season this year.

The Owls took care of business on Saturday night against Green Mountain College and against Endicott College on Sunday afternoon to win the Keene State College Tip-Off Tournament.

Championship Game:

The Owls were able to survive a vicious run by Endicott in the championship game Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Gulls 100-88. The Owls let a 55-38 lead at halftime slip away in the second half.

Luke Stergiou / Equinox Staff

Luke Stergiou / Equinox Staff

The Gulls used a 25 to five run early in the second half to take a 72-70 lead over the Owls. Keene State was able to settle down however and take a 76-74 lead and after that they did not look back.

Owls Interim Head Coach Ryan Cain said his team “did a great job responding.” Cain continued, “We allowed them back in but we plugged away and plugged through and the guys really made plays when it mattered the most.”

Junior guard/forward Jaquel Edwards, who contributed 12 points off the bench, said defense was the key to stopping the run. “We just had to play defense and get stops. That’s all we talk about is getting stops and play hard so that’s what we had to do,” Edwards said.

The Owls were led offensively once again by Nate Stitchell, who finished with 22 points. Stitchell’s contributions led to him receiving the tournament MVP award. Kamahl Walker of Endicott finished with 47 points to lead all scorers for both sides and led the Gulls offensive attack. Walker and junior Max Motroni were given the honors of being on the All-Tournament Team. For the Owls, Wright received the honor as well.

On that day the Owls shot 58 percent from the field and the Gulls shot 39 percent from the field.

Keene State returns to the court Thursday night November 19, at 7 p.m., when they take on Lasell College at Spaulding Gymnasium.

Opening Night:

The Owls opened up their season with a 108-104 victory against the Eagles of Green Mountain College on Saturday night at Spaulding Gym. Senior guard Nate Stitchell went off for 32 points leading Keene State’s scorers and setting a new career high. The Owls shot the ball well as a team that night, shooting 46 percent from the field. In addition, they converted 39 out of 55 foul shots for a 71 percent clip.

Another contributor for the Owls was senior center Nate Howard who finished with 12 boards. First-year Ty Nichols made a great first impression scoring 18 points and sophomore Dizel Wright scored 19 points in the victory.

The two leading scorers for the Eagles were Jared Carithers and Cameron Anderson, who both finished with over 20 points and each had double digit rebound totals.

It was a close game for most of the contest as Keene State’s largest lead at one point was just 13 points. The Owls led 47-41 at halftime and the Eagles outscored the Owls in the second half by two points.

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