Jeff Hunter, Jeric Cichon and James Anozie all recorded double-doubles, combining to account for 49 points and 37 rebounds, as the Keene State men’s basketball team took down Eastern Connecticut State, 85-75, on Wednesday night at Spaulding Gym.
Keene State (3-0) trailed by four nearly six minutes into the game, but the home team roared to life from there, embarking on a 16-0 run while holding Eastern scoreless for well over seven minutes to build a 31-19 lead with 6:38 left in the opening half.
That surge proved to be enough in the end, as Keene State’s advantage remained in double-figures for most of the rest of the way, but the second half was not without some question.
The Owls turned ice cold from long range and watched the Warriors chip the lead into single-digits three times. However, KSC answered, as layups from Anozie and Cichon pushed the lead back to 11 with a little over two minutes left.
The game was a track meet early, as Cichon’s coast-to-coast drive not even three minutes in had the Owls ahead 11-6, but mostly thanks to Woods, the Warriors edged out in front for the first time following a 13-4 surge over the next three minutes. Keene State utilized Anozie to get going again, as he scored six consecutive points to put his team in front 22-19.
Consecutive triples by DeVon Beasley and Hunter, who was 3-for-3 from long range on the evening, in the ensuing minutes ballooned the lead to 12. KSC remained in command over the remainder of the half, as a deep shot by Tyler Dill at the 5:27 mark made it 38-23 and four points from Mason Jean Baptiste in the final 35 seconds had the Owls up 48-31 at the break.
The opening minutes of the second half were more of the same, as Nate Siow’s steal and bucket 10 seconds in was the beginning of a 9-0 run — with every point scored by a freshman — that took less than two minutes, putting KSC ahead by a game-high 26 points with 18:11 left.Hunter has had a stellar start to his 2020-2021 campaign, scoring 56 points on 69 percent shooting in the first three games following a 23-point effort on 10-of-12 shooting Wednesday to go along with his 15 rebounds.
Cichon (14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists) and Anozie (12 points, 12 rebounds) also recorded double-doubles. Jean Baptiste chipped in 14 points.
KSC has a true home-and-home weekend set against UMass-Dartmouth (4-0, 4-0 LEC). The Owls will first visit North Dartmouth to take on the Corsairs on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.