Warwick, R.I. – February 10, 2018: The CCRI Knights men's basketball team hosted the Westchester Community College (WCC) Vikings from Valhalla, NY Saturday afternoon for a non-conference contest at the Vincent A. Cullen Fieldhouse. After a stalemate first half, the Vikings pulled away to an 82-59 victory over the Knights. This loss drops CCRI to a 11-13 record on the season and 7-1 in conference.
After dropping a close decision to New Hampshire Tech the previous weekend, the Knights looked to come out and get back to winning ways. The opposition for this task is a strong Westchester team holding a 13-game winning streak. The Knights came out hot, jumping to a 13-4 lead after just under four minutes. CCRI started off defensively with a hard line at the arc. WCC would move the ball flank to flank with no alleys for penetration. The Knights would then either grab the rebound or wayward pass and counter attack to great effect. CCRI would maintain the lead past the halfway part of the first half, leading 21-15 with 11:37 left on the clock. Yet, the remainder of the half saw several lead changes with neither team's lead never surpassing four points. After the first 20 minutes expired the score was tied at 36-36. Leading all scoring at the halfway point was Josh Williams (Atlanta, GA) with 16 points and three rebounds. J.C. Santos (East Providence, RI) chipped in five points, two assists and 2 rebounds.
The second half saw a change of fortune for the Knights. The perimeter defense that had held the Vikings at bay during the first half began to falter. WCC drove the lane to better effect and their perimeter shooting sharpened. The Knights began to force the ball into areas resulting in several turnovers. Using this, WCC jumped out to a 45-38 lead less than four minutes into the second half. CCRI kept pushing however. Josh Williams had a team high 24 points with five rebounds. Dan Grzych (Providence, RI) came off the bench and knocked down two late 3-pointers. Kevin Paygai (West Warwick, RI) led the team in rebounds with seven, he also added seven points and two assists. Unfortunately, the late effort would prove too little too late as the Vikings would go on to win 82-59.
Head Coach Rick Harris: "Tale of two halves today. Saw a lot of nice things today against Westchester early in the game. Guys played at a nice pace and played team defense. Some nice talking/communication by our guys. This is the type of opponent we will see in the Districts later this month. Second half though Westchester stepped it up and we did not match that intensity. We also reverted to some quick shots which fed into the pace Westchester began establishing. We never recovered. Good learning experience and we need to have a short memory. Important Region XXI game Monday that we now have to focus on. Looking forward to seeing the guys bounce back."
UP NEXT: The Knights will travel to Charlestown, MA to face the Bulldogs of Bunker Hill Community College at 7 p.m. on Monday February 12.
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The Community College of Rhode Island, New England's largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 15,000 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.