RIC Nips Southern Maine in Overtime 81-80

Christian McCue had six three-pointers and 22 points for the Huskies.
Christian McCue had six three-pointers and 22 points for the Huskies.
(Contributions from RIC)

PROVIDENCE, R.I.  -   Sophomore forward Justin Campbell (New Haven, CT) converted a three-point play with just three seconds left on the clock to give the Rhode Island College men's basketball team a thrilling 81-80 overtime victory against Southern Maine in a Little East Conference contest played at The Murray Center on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, RIC gets the season sweep over Southern Maine and improves to 10-12 overall and 4-8 in the conference.  Both games have been decided by a total of four points, with RIC getting the 86-83 win over the Huskies in early January.  Southern Maine falls to 8-15 overall and 3-9 in conference action. 

Freshman guard Chris Donaldson (Bridgeport, Conn.) paced RIC (10-12, 4-8 LEC) with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists. Campbell recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman guard Chris Farrington (Fall River, Mass.) also tallied 16 points in the victory for the Anchormen.  Jovel Beckford added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists as four RIC players reached double figures. 

Southern Maine junior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) led Southern Maine with a game-high 22 points, knocking down six three-pointers. McCue added five rebounds, three assists and a steal.  Senior James Starks III recorded his 13th double-double of the season, and third consecutive, with 16 points and 17 rebounds.  Senior Jacob Littlefield nearly missed a triple double with 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, while classmate Zach Leal (York, Maine) tossed in 11 points, three rebounds and five assists.

Trailing by nine with just over eight minutes in the first half, Southern Maine used a 9-0 run, capped by one of McCue's six three-pointers, to tie the game at 29 with 5:04 left in the half.  RIC bounced back and extended its lead to seven, 38-31, with a 9-2 run highlighted by a Farrington three with 2:27 to play, but USM cut its deficit to a single possession to head into the break down 38-35.

In the second half, both teams exchanged the lead multiple times, and the score was knotted at 56 following a jumper from Starks at the 10:07 mark.  Farrington answered for RIC with a jumper momentarily giving his team the lead, 58-56, before USM rattled off 12-2 run to snag a 68-60 lead.  McCue hit back-to-back threes for Southern Maine to close out the run. 

Trailing 68-60 with 5:36 to go, RIC outscored the Huskies 13-2 over the next five minutes and 10 seconds to go ahead 73-70 with 26 seconds to play.  Donaldson scored eight of his 17 points in the run for the Anchormen.  With time winding down, the Huskies extended the game forcing overtime as Littlefield came up clutch with a three from the top of the arch.

In the overtime both teams exchanged leads, and the Huskies led 80-78 after a the second of two overtime three-pointers from Leal with 22 seconds remaining. With just seconds to play, RIC's Farrington missed on the initial attempt, but Campbell collected the offensive board and stuck the put back with three seconds to play while being fouled. With the score tied at 80, Campbell swished the go-ahead free throw for the win.  USM had a look at the basket for the win, but it fell short.  

Southern Maine returns to action on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) at Plymouth State for a Little East Conference game.  Rhode Island College faces Western Connecticut on Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) in an LEC matchup.

- cac –