Anchormen clinch outright Little East regular season championship

RIC To host LEC semifinals and finals Feb. 26-27.

RIC 2009-10 men's basketball team
Rhode Island College clinched the outright 2010 Little East Conference Men's Basketball regular season championship with a 92-78 win over UMass Dartmouth at the Tripp Athletic Center on Feb. 16.

RIC, which assured itself of at least share of the regular season title with an 84-53 win at Southern Maine on Feb. 13, raises its overall record to 17-7 and its league mark to 11-2.

It is the third outright regular season title (2010, '09, '07) for the program in four years and its fourth overall ('05-share) in the past six years.

The Murray Center will be the site of the 2010 Little East Conference Men's Basketball Championship semifinal and final rounds on Feb. 26-27. It will be the third time in four years (2009, '07) RIC has hosted the league's final four. The top-seeded Anchormen will receive a bye in the first round and automatically advance to the semifinals.

The win avenges a 91-89 loss to the Corsairs back on Jan. 26. UMass Dartmouth falls to 16-8 overall and 8-5 in league action.

Jake Grimes
Senior guard Jake Grimes (Providence) led all scorers with 26 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Junior guard Antone Gray (Providence) had 14 points and four assists, while sophomore forward Mike Akinrola (Woonsocket) had 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Both Gray and Akinrola did not play in the two team's first meeting. Junior forward Darius Debnam (Dorchester, Mass.) rounded out the RIC contingent in double figures with a 10-point effort.

RIC shot 50 percent (29-for-58) from the field and 56 percent (10-for-18) from three-point range in the win. The Anchormen also held a slight advantage on the boards, 38-34.

Debnam, Gray, junior Nick Manson (Newport) and sophomore Keith Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.) each nailed two trifectas apiece.

UMass Dartmouth senior forward Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, Mass.) had 24 points, while sophomore center Lance Greene (Dorchester, Mass.) posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards.

The Corsairs grabbed an early 9-2 lead, but RIC used a 10-2 run to erase the deficit and take a 12-11 advantage. The Anchormen steadily built their advantage to 10 points and maintained it for the remainder of the first half.

An 11-8 run at the start of the second half allowed UMass Dartmouth to cut the lead to seven points at 55-48. But they could get no closer, and RIC led by as many as 18 points in the second half before the Corsairs staged a late rally that fell short.

The Anchormen close out the regular season at home against Plymouth State on Feb. 20. Grimes will be honored as part of Senior Day prior to the opening tip.