Bell registers game-best 30 points of Falcons in non-conference setback
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -The Fitchburg State men's basketball team opened it 2016-17 season this evening, falling 68-66 to Rhode Island College in non-conference action at the Murray Center as sophomore forward Benjamin Vezele hit the game-winning shot for the Anchormen with five second remaining in regulation.
Vezele led the hosts with a double-double effort of 16 points and 14 rebounds, while sophomore guard Jimmy Fritzson had 14 points, four boards and three steals. Senior guard Roosevelt Shider rounded out the scorers in double-figure for the Anchormen with 10 points and three rebounds.
For the Falcons, senior guard Jaleel Bell notched a game-high 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals, while junior forward Josh Bosworth added 10 points with four rebounds in the setback.
Fitchburg State grabbed control of the game early and held a 12-0 lead on a traditional three-point play by Bell with 17:40 left in the first half. The visiting Falcons led by as many as 16 points in the first stanza when a free throw by Bell made the score 31-15 with just over four minutes left.
RIC closed out the stanza on a 14-3 run and trailed by just five, 34-29, heading into the locker room at halftime. Fitchburg State shot an impressive 45.8% (11-of-24) from the field in the first half and forced RIC into 11 turnovers.
The Anchormen continued to chip away at the lead and grabbed their first advantage of the contest when a three-pointer by Fritzson gave RIC a 39-38 lead with 16:14 left in regulation. Fitchburg State responded, however, and built its lead back up to eight when a pair of free throws by Bosworth gave the Falcons the 57-49 lead with 7:54 on the clock.
RIC once again climbed all the way back to tie the game, 66-66, on a layup by Vezele. After a Fitchburg State turnover with just 10 seconds left, Vezele hit a layup in the final seconds and swatted away an shot attempt at the buzzer to secure the thrilling, 68-66, two-point win for RIC.
For the game, Rhode Island College shot 35 percent (25-for-71) from the field, 25 percent (7-for-28) from three-point range and 61 percent (11-for-18) from the charity stripe. Fitchburg State shot 43 percent (23-for-54) from the field, 11 percent (1-for-9) from downtown and 68 percent (19-for-28) from the free throw line. RIC held a slight advantage in rebounding, 45-41.
Fitchburg State (0-1, 0-0 MASCAC) returns to action on Friday as it takes on Regis College at 7 p.m. in first round action of the 2016 Colby College Tip-Off Tournament. Rhode Island College (1-0, 0-0 LEC) will face Clark in opening round action of the Roger Williams Invitational on Friday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Release courtesy of RIC SID office