Warwick, R.I. – January 16, 2018: The CCRI Knights men's basketball team hosted the Lions from Nassau Community College from Garden City, NY for their first game of the 2018 CCRI Invitational Tournament. The Knights lost a hard fought overtime battle with the Lions 112-109. With the loss the Knights record is now 6-10 overall and 4-1 in conference.
The Knights led for most of the game and after Nassau enjoyed a short time on top the game went into overtime. The Lions went on to win in OT 112-109. CCRI held their first home game of the 2018 calendar year in a high scoring affair. The Knights continued to use their high pace four-guard system that had seen success in past games. By spreading the ball, the Knights' offense opened up lanes to either be taken on the dribble or by a direct pass into the lane. Isolating defenders and winning the one-on-one battles saw the Knights enjoy as much as a 10-point lead in the first half. On the defensive side of the ball, the Knights won the majority of the rebounds with a team total of 21 with 16 coming on the defensive end. Kevin Paygai (West Warwick, RI) had six of his game-high 12 rebounds by halftime. Oscar Iteji (Schenectady, NY) also contributed on the defensive end by recording three blocked in the first half.
To begin the second half, the Knights had the 51-40 lead over the Lions. A new half saw the same fast paced offense as the Knights jumped out to a 20 point lead just three minutes into the action. The Knights explosiveness was led by Josh Williams (Atlanta, GA) who had a team-high 32 points with eight rebounds and six assists, Kevin Paygai who charted a double-double in his second game back in action for the Knights with 27 points, 12 rebounds while adding three assists. Rounding out the Knights' offensive outburst was J.C. Santos (East Providence, RI) who scored a career-high 25 points with three rebounds and three assists. Though the Knights kept scoring they could not get important stops and the Lions could not be held at bay for much longer. Nassau would chip away at the Knights' lead until the tables turned. In dramatic fashion, the Lions stole the lead 98-97 with just 43.9 seconds left on the clock. With just 9.4 remaining in regulation and the Knights trailing by two points, Kevin Paygai swiped a crucial steal on the Nassau's inbound play and immediately called for a timeout so Head Coach Rick Harris could draw up a play to tie the game with the score 101-99 Nassau. Wouldn't you know it the ball found Paygai again whose heroics continued scoring the game-tying basket with less than three seconds on the clock his layup to send the game into overtime. The overtime period was not kind to CCRI as they we outscored 11-8 to fall by the final count of 112-109.
The Knights will host the Cougars of Genesee Community College from Batavia, NY Sunday at 1pm in their final game of the 2018 CCRI Invitational.
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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.