PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Senior guard Tarchee Brown (Rockville) led all players with 27 points, nine rebounds and six assists as four-time defending Little East Conference regular-season men's basketball champion Eastern Connecticut State University blasted Rhode Island College, 86-61, in the LEC opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at the Murray Center.
Ranked No. 24 nationally, Eastern is off to its first 6-0 start in 24 years after defeating Rhode Island (2-6) for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
After RIC cut a 15-point halftime deficit to nine in the second half, Eastern held RIC without a field goal and to just four points over seven minutes in a 20-4 run that pushed the lead to 25 with two minutes left.
The Warriors never trailed after giving up a three-point field goal to open the game, getting four consecutive inside buckets from Brown, a three-point from freshman guard Cory Muckle (Westbrook) and consecutive jumpers from sophomore guard Carlos Gonzalez (Springfield, MA) in a 15-2 spurt that opened up a 15-5 lead 5:30 into the game.
Brown was 9-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-12 from the foul line and complemented his game-high scoring total by also recording game-highs of nine rebounds and six assists. He also had three steals and two blocks.
At right: Collin Jordan leaps to tip the ball away from from CJ Donaldson with four minutes left in the first half of Saturday's 86-61 Little East Conference win over Rhode Island College at The Murray Center. Eastern converted a breakaway layup at the other end of the floor to give the Warriors a 35-20 lead.
Gonzalez and Muckle followed with 16 points each, both scoring all of their points from the floor. Gonzalez was 8-of-12 with five rebounds, four assists and four steals and Muckle 4-of-9 from three-point range and five rebounds.
In holding the Anchormen seven points below their defensive average, the Warriors kept two RIC starters off the board. Freshman guard Adham Floyd led the hosts with 18 points and five rebounds and senior guard Roosevelt Shider came off the bench for 19 points, nine of his points coming from the foul line.
Eastern opens its home season Tuesday against Manhattanville College at 7 p.m. at Geissler Gym.