More unselfish basketball from the Keene State men’s team propelled the team to a 93-57 win over Springfield College Saturday night at Spaulding Gym.
The Owls came out with intense defensive energy, forcing five turnovers in the first four minutes. Sophomore Jordan Santos — making his first start of the season — had a steal early on to set the tone defensively and get the Spaulding Gym crowd on its feet.
“I thought our guys approached it the right way,” said head coach Ryan Cain. “And played relatively well and set the tone — for the most part — early on in that game.
“We were able to sustain that energy throughout the game,” Cain continued. “Last weekend there was a bit of dip in that energy and I think we did a better job today playing the way we want to play for an extended amount of time.”
Keene State got out to a 9-2 lead before Springfield climbed back to make it a 9-8 game with a 6-0 run.
The Owls responded with a 16-0 run of their own — including back-to-back three pointers from freshman Octavio Brito — to balloon their lead to 25-8 with eight minutes to play in the first half.
By the break, Keene State led 50-24 and they never looked back.
The offensive barrage continued in the second half, and by the last 10 minutes of the game, Keene State had just about emptied their bench.
“We’re fortunate to get them in,” Cain said. “That’s just so important. There’s nothing like playing in a game. Game day is still game day, so we’re so fortunate to have a couple games early in our year where those guys have seen the floor. And they’re getting better every day.”
The Owls finished with five players with double-digit points, and nobody played more than 27 minutes.
“There’s no doubt that part of our identity so far has been the unselfish basketball that we’ve been playing,” Cain said. “We’re passing up some pretty good shots at time to ultimately come up with an even better shot. It’s one of those things that we’ve been able to establish at this point of the year as our identity.”
Junior Jeff Hunter led the way offensively with a game-high 19 points in just 23 minutes off the bench. He also had a game-high eight rebounds.
Sophomores Mason Jean-Baptiste and Nate Siow each contributed with 15 points.
Brito had 12 points and senior Jeric Cichon had 10.
Freshman Ryan Donahue scored an efficient seven points in nine minutes on the floor.
As a team, the Owls shot 51 percent from the floor and 42 percent from beyond the arc. Springfield shot 36 percent from the floor and 19 percent from three.
For Springfield, Zeke Blauner and Tre Hodge both finished with 15 points.
In addition to a different starting lineup that saw Hunter come off the bench and Santos make his first start of the season, junior Max Bonney-Liles and senior James Anozie were noticeably missing from the lineup Saturday.
“There are some different factors with everything going on that go into these decisions,” Cain said. “Just another one of our days where some guys are out, some guys are in, some guys start, some guys come off the bench. It’s kind of been a theme so far over our first four games.”
Cain said Bonney-Liles could see a return to the court against Albertus-Magnus on Tuesday. And if not, right after Thanksgiving.
Anozie will be back after the holiday, Cain said.
Keene State (4-0) visits Albertus Magnus Tuesday at 7 p.m.