By Justin McKinney, Staff Writer
The Corsairs men’s basketball season comes to a close following the 85-67 loss in the LEC semifinals against Keene State.
Entering the LEC tournament with the third seed locked down after a 17-10 regular season, the Corsairs swept Rhode Island College off the court, and out of contention in their opening 86-67 victory in the quarterfinals.
Nick Portelance was the Corsairs leading scorer, tallying eighteen points in twenty-five minutes of court action. Portelance also grabbed eight rebounds, dished three assists, and blocked two shots to help lift the Corsairs out of the opening round.
Arinze Obiora assisted Portelance’s effort by contributing fourteen points of his own; as well as grabbing a game high thirteen rebounds. Obiora finished with the games only double-double performance, and stuffed his stat sheet with two blocks, two steals, and an assist.
The combined efforts of Portelance and Obiora provided 32 points and 21 of the teams 47 total rebounds.
Tucker Bouchard provided critical support from the Corsairs bench; sinking three of five three-point shot attempts, Bouchard provided an uplifting thirteen points. Leading the bench with twenty-one minutes on the court, Bouchard did not waste a moment as he also found teammates for three assists, and found a hole to steal possession from Rhode Island College’s offense.
This victory in the quarterfinals prompted the Corsairs advance into the semi-finals against the second seed Keene State Owls. Unfortunately, the same shine that shone for the Corsairs in the opening round did not appear in the semi-finals.
The Corsairs suffered a poor shooting performance against the Owls, matching up 40% to 47% from total shooting from the field.
Senior guard Chris Mendes shook off these shivers, sinking all four of his three-point shot attempts. Mendes led the Corsairs with sixteen points, and only missed one shot attempt through twenty-four minutes of action. Mendes also led the Corsairs offense with four assists before the playoff season would come to a close.
Despite staying close with Keene State on the boards, and in offensive play, the Corsairs could not maintain a consistent shot, nor hang onto possession as they gave up seventeen turnovers to Keene State’s nine. These seventeen turnovers include eight steals by Keene State’s defense; including five that can be accredited to guard Ty Nichols.
Nichols led Keene States offense with twenty-five points, making eight of his nine shots. Nichols also grabbed five rebounds along with his five steals to help lift the Owls to the finals.
Several Corsairs earned season awards for their efforts on the court this season. Senior Jon Robinson and sophomore Nick Portelance landed on the LEC Second Team after the selection announcements made on Tuesday.
Senior Chris Mendes was named to the LEC All Defensive team, leading the Corsairs averaging 2.1 steals per game. Mendes finished with a career high of six steals in the final regular season matchup against Southern Maine.
First-year Mert Sert secured himself a slot on the LEC All Rookie team after leading the conferences rookie class with 6.7 rebounds per game. Sert was the first Corsair rookie to grab twenty or more rebounds in a game following his performance against Western Connecticut.