CHICOPEE, Mass. – Rhode Island College used a furious second-half rally to spoil the Elms College men's basketball team's season-opener on Saturday afternoon, leaving Picknelly Arena with a 71-58 win.
The Blazer (0-1) led 33-29 at halftime but the Anchormen (2-0) out-scored Elms 42-25 in the final 20 minutes to pick up the win.
Pablo Ortiz (Newington, Conn.) led Elms with 12 points off the bench on 5-of-9 shooting, missing just once from inside the arc. Andre Peguero (Boynton Beach, Fla.) finished just one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 10 points to go with nine boards. Justin Feliciano (Springfield, Mass.) added nine points and four rebounds for Elms.
Benjamin Vezele (Providence, R.I.) stuffed the stat sheet for the Anchormen. He hit 8-of-16 shots, including his only 3-point attempt, to score 21 points and added 15 rebounds and six blocks. Adham Floyd (Worcester, Mass.) went 8-of-17 from the field and hit five 3s to finish with a game-high 24 points. Floyd added eight boards and four steals for RIC.
The Blazers shot 34.2 percent from the field for the game and did not help themselves behind the arc, going just 3-of-23 (13.0 percent). RIC, meanwhile, hit 40 percent of its shots including 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from 3-point range. The Anchormen edged the Blazers on the glass, 50-48. Each team committed 15 turnovers in the game.
Trailing by four heading into the second half, RIC took the lead with a 5-0 run in the first 34 seconds of the second half. Elms got a bucket to regain a brief 34-33 advantage, but the Anchormen extended their run to 14-2 overall to take a 43-35 lead. The Blazers got back within a bucket but never regained the advantage.
Elms will return to action with two games at the Rutgers-Newark Tournament Nov. 16 and 17, beginning with a showdown with host Rutgers-Newark. RIC will visit cross-town rival Johnson & Wales on Nov. 14.