WARWICK, R.I. – January 23, 2018: The CCRI Knights men's basketball team hosted the Knights from Northern Essex Community College (NECC) of Haverhill, MA on Tuesday evening for their seventh Region XXI game this season. An intense defensive battle eventually saw the CCRI Knights cruise to an 83-64 win. This improves CCRI's record to 9-11 overall and 6-1 in conference.
The CCRI men's basketball team looked to continue winning ways against a difficult opponent in NECC. There was little to separate the teams early with CCRI leading by one point, 17-16, 10 minutes in. Yet in the remaining 10 minutes of the half, CCRI's high energy overcame that of NECC and at halftime the CCRI Knights had the 39-29 lead.
The second half went the way that the first had ended. CCRI never saw their lead shrink below 10 points. CCRI was led by Josh Williams (Atlanta, GA) who had a game high 20 points and four rebounds. J.C. Santos (East Providence, RI) also notched 17 points, four steals and two assists. Danny Grzych (Providence, RI) continued to knock down threes and chipped in 10 points as well. The main story of the day was CCRI's efforts on the defensive side of the ball. The Knights snatched away 17 steals in the contest, eclipsing their average of 7.2 per game. Leading this charge was Kevin Paygai (West Warwick, RI) who stole the ball five times. Paygai also added 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Igor Almeida (Praia, Cape Verde) continued attacking the boards as he secured a game-high 10 rebounds whilst contributing six points and two steals.
The hard work and level of fitness that CCRI brought to the game propelled them past NECC in the end as they were victorious 83-64. This was recognized by CCRI's Head Coach.
Head Coach Rick Harris commented after the victory: "Northern Essex was a tough team tonight. They never let us take a breath and relax. I was proud of our team in that even though we didn't play our 'A' game, we found a way to get the job done. I told the team that it was a sign of a good team, which this group is becoming."
UP NEXT: The Knights will host UConn-Avery Point for a Region XXI game Thursday Jan. 25 at 8 PM.
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The Community College of Rhode Island, New England's largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 16,000 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.