The CCRI Knights men’s basketball team hosted the Warriors of Massasoit Community College to the Cullen Fieldhouse for their first Region XXI league game on Tuesday. The CCRI Knights turned a close game into a rout in the second half as they outscored the Warriors of Massasoit CC 59-42 in the second stanza to post a convincing 98-82 victory. With the victory the Knights improve to 7-2 overall 4-1 in Region XXI and 1-0 in their league (Division II Region XXI).
The Warriors jumped out to an early lead on the strength of their outside shooting. They hit six three pointers early in the half. But CCRI came back to take a one point lead into the half 39-38. The Knights comeback in the first half was spurred by their reserve big men that came in and did an excellent job stemming the Massasoit offense and also dominating the boards. Leading that charge was Alioune Ndiaye (Dakar, Senegal) and Johnson Weah (Monrovia, Liberia), who combined for 12 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and four assist for the game, many of those stats coming at key moments of the first half helping the Knights to reclaim the lead. In the second half it was all Knights as they easily broke Massasoit's full court pressure to score easy baskets. CCRI came out with a different mindset and were able to move the ball, play disruptive defense and put together a complete team effort.
Leading the way for CCRI was Captain Pat Marchand (Cranston, RI) playing his best game in the Cullen Fieldhouse with a double-double with a career-high 26 points, 22 in the second half, with 11 rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Also having a big night was sophomore center Elijah Okagbare (Atlanta, GA) with 14 points, and seven rebounds and Kevin Marmolejos (Queens, NY) who chipped in with 14 points, two assists and two steals. Rounding out the Knights’ attack was point guard Anthony Jernigan (East Hartford, CT) with 12 points, four assists and five steals and shooting guard Malieke Young (Providence, RI) with eight points including two 3-pointers with six assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
After the game Head Coach Rick Harris commented: "This was another nice team win. Our effort, especially in the second half, on defense and in the half- court offense showed what this team is capable of doing. Also we handled Massasoit's pressure much better in the second half and that led to many easy baskets. The team will have a short break to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families then we get back at it next Monday against a good Lincoln College of New England team."
The next game for the Knights will be Monday the 2nd when they will host the formidable Lincoln College of New England at 6:00pm for a Region XXI non-league game.
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.