Williams leads Knights past Colts

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The CCRI Knights men’s basketball team hosted the Colts of Orange County Community College form Middletown, New York for a basketball game on Saturday afternoon. The Knights outlasted the Colts in a back-and-forth, high-scoring matchup, 100-89. With the victory, the Knights are now back to .500 at 11-11 for the season.

If you like high-scoring games, this was the game to see. Both the Knights and Colts unleashed their high-octane, exciting brand of basketball, which was a great way to kick off the big day of hoops at the Cullen Fieldhouse. As the game began, you could see that both teams had many ways to get to the basket to score, and they utilized all those avenues to pour in point after point. 

The first half saw the Colts take advantage of the their slight height advantage inside, as Bobby Olsen was able to use a myriad of inside moves and also put back other missed shot attempts for the Colts as he scored 13 first-half points. The Colts were also aided by sharpshooter Josh Mitchell, who scored 12 of his team-high 27 points in the first half. 

But, the Knights had their own one-two punch and then some , as their leading scorer, Josh Williams (Atlanta, Georgia), went to work. Williams poured in a career-high 34 points. He scored 17 first-half points, as he was able to break down defenders at will and score at the basket. On the defensive side, the Knights had Kevin Paygai (West Warwick, Rhode Island), who had a team-high five steals while also scoring 13 first-half points, which helped CCRI to a 49-41 lead going into the halftime break. 

In the second half, Orange County began finding its long-range shooting eye to sink 11 3-pointers and keep the Knights on their heels, led by Mitchell, who sank five deep 3s in the second half. In fact, in the game, the Colts scored more 3-pointers (17) than 2-pointers (15). The Colts also got five additional 3s from the pair of Erick Block and Kierre Davis, which gave CCRI a formidable challenge. However, Williams was there to answer the call, pouring in 17 more second-half points while breaking down defender after defender to convert acrobatic layup after acrobatic layup. 

In the second half, Williams was assisted by JC Santos (East Providence, Rhode Island), who scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half, including two 3-pointers. Also helping CCRI in the second half was the frontcourt duo of co-captain Chris Garcia (Bronx, New York) and freshman Oscar Iteji (Schenectady, New York), which quieted the efforts of the Colts’ low-post threat Bobby Olsen by ripping down a combined 13 rebounds and scoring 15 points between them.

Leading the way for the Knights was Williams with a career-high 34 points with five assists, four rebounds and a steal. Williams has been a force for the Knights, as he is ranked No. 26 by the NJCAA in scoring with 20 points per game. Williams also leads CCRI with 5.6 assists per game while being ranked seventh in total assists in the NJCAA with 123 on the season. Also having a big impact in the Knights’ victory was Santos, scoring 23 points, including four 3-pointers and three assists. Rounding out the Knights’ top performers was Paygai with 16 points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds, while Garcia and Iteji had 15 points and 13 boards.                         

CCRI Head Coach Rick Harris commented after the big victory: “Fun day with our 11th win of the season and the CCRI High School shootout. Real pleasing for me to watch our young guys come together here down the stretch. Very rewarding team basketball for me to watch and coach. Josh Williams and JC Santos put on a show and everyone did their job.”

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