GORHAM, Maine – Junior Jovel Beckford (Providence, R.I./Mt. Pleasant) and sophomores Justin Campbell (New Haven, Conn./Hill Regional) and Benjamin Vezele (Providence, R.I./Wibraham & Monson) each scored four points as part of a pivotal 12-3 run late in the second half to lead the Rhode Island College Anchormen to an 86-83 win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies Wednesday night in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game.
With the win, Rhode Island College evens its overall record to 7-7 and picks up its first conference victory of the season to stand at 1-3. USM drops to 5-9 overall and 0-4 in the LEC with its second straight loss.
Campbell led four RIC players in double-figures with 16 points and seven rebounds off of the bench, while Beckford added 15 points. Junior Malcolm Smith (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/St. Andrews) added 15 points, while freshman Jonatan Batista (Providence, R.I./Classical added 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. Vezele finished with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Senior Zach Leal (York, Maine) led all scorers with a career-high 32 points, adding four assists, four rebounds and three steals. Leal was 12-for-20 from the field with four three-pointers in the loss. Senior James Starks III (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) added 16 points and nine rebounds, while senior Jacob Littlefield (Mechanic Falls, Maine/Poland Regional) and junior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) each scored 13 points.
Ahead 69-67 after a Leal steal and a breakaway layup with 6:45 to play, Beckford hit both ends of a one-and-one to tie the score up at 69 for RIC. The Anchormen retained possession on a technical foul, and Campbell converted an assist from Vezele for the go-ahead basket. Beckford scored the sixth unanswered point for RIC on a layup after a defensive stop to put RIC ahead 73-69 with 5:12 remaining. McCue halted the Anchormen run with a three with 4:32 to play as USM trailed 73-72, but RIC responded with six straight points to snag a 79-72 advantage with 3:12 to play, including four points from Vezele and a layup from Campbell.
USM bounced back with a jumper from McCue and two free throws from Leal to make it a two-possession game, and trailed by a basket, 83-81, with 23 seconds in regulation, but RIC closed the game out on the line for the win.