The CCRI Knights men’s basketball team hosted the New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) Lynx from Concord, New Hampshire, for a non-conference game Saturday afternoon. A tight game from start to finish went the way of the Lynx in the end, 95-93. The Knights drop to 11-12 on the season with a 7-1 record in conference.
The Knights, holding onto a five-game winning streak that got them get back to .500 for the first time since early December, looked to continue their current run of form against the visiting Lynx. The Knights looked to be patient at the perimeter, moving the ball from flank to flank then exposing the lanes.
Leading the both metaphorical and literal charge was Josh Williams (Atlanta, Georgia) who, fresh off his career-high 34 points against Orange County, saw these lanes and took them. In the first half alone, Williams had scored 15 points while also securing five rebounds. J.C. Santos (East Providence, Rhode Island) was not too far behind, contributing 13 points, three rebounds and three steals.
Yet, the Lynx would match every step the Knights took. After 20 minutes of action, the halftime score went in the favor of NHTI, 45-41.
The second half maintained the bravado that the first half provided. High intensity, hard work and creativity continued.
What did change was CCRI’s approach from the perimeter. Now, more willing to shoot from beyond the arc, the Knights would drain eight 3-pointers as opposed to the two that were made in the first half.
Continuing to produce was Williams, who went 9-for-16 from the floor and 3-for-7 from deep, contributing to a career-high 36 points. He added six rebounds and four assists to his tally. Santos led the line in assists, adding nine to his 21 points and five rebounds. Kevin Paygai (West Warwick, Rhode Island) added a double-double, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds, as well as two assists and two steals.
The game would not be decided from behind the arc or even from the floor. This game was decided from the free-throw line. The Knights outscored the Lynx by five points in open play, but NHTI had 30 attempts from the line to CCRI’s 20.
However, in the theme of past games at the Vincent A. Cullen Fieldhouse, there would be excitement down to the end. With just 18 seconds on the clock in a one-point game, advantage to NHTI, and Lynx ball, the Knights needed someone to step up. In comes co-captain Igor Almeida (Praia, Cape Verde), who also managed his second double-double of the year with 13 rebounds and 10 points, drawing an offensive charge, giving CCRI back the ball with a chance to win. Unfortunately, the Knights were unable to work that final piece of magic and the final score saw the Knights fall to NHTI, 93-95.
Head Coach Rick Harris: “Loved the fact our guys had a chance with the ball to win the game today at the end. I credit NHTI for preventing us from executing the final play we drew up. It was a great effort by our guys. They never take a play off and are constantly battling. That is why they have made such a great growth this season. Looking forward to seeing us start a new winning streak next Saturday against Westchester.”
Up next, the Knights will host the Westchester Community College Vikings of Valhalla, New York, Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the Vincent A. Cullen Fieldhouse.