NORTON, Mass. – Senior Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, R.I.) and freshman Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) combined to score 29 points in Wheaton College's 71-53 loss to No. 24 Rhode Island College Thursday night in non-conference men's basketball action at Emerson Gymnasium. The win moves the Anchormen to 10-1 while the Lyons fall to 6-5.
Rhode Island College outscored the Lyons 36-6 in the paint and finished with four student-athletes in double-figures, led by senior Mike Akinrola's (Woonsocket, R.I./Woonsocket) 18 points. Junior Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, N.Y./Benjamin Banneker) added 11 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two blocks while senior Mason Choice (Newport, R.I./Rogers) and junior Ethan Gaye (Providence, R.I./Mt. Pleasant) each netted 10 points.
The Anchormen raced out to a 13-2 lead four minutes into the contest and carried an 18-point lead into halftime (41-23). Akinrola and Carter each tallied nine points to pace RIC, which connected on 12 of its first 16 field goal attempts and capped the half shooting 56.7 percent (17-of-30). The Anchormen also forced 12 turnovers which led to 21 points. Degnan led Wheaton with nine points while Capstick had eight and senior Bruno Naylor (Santa Monica, Calif./Northfield Mount Hermon School) chipped in with six.
Wheaton clamped down defensively in the second half and held the Anchormen to 36.0 percent shooting, but was unable to overcome the halftime deficit. The Lyons cut the RIC lead to 16 points twice – once on a triple by Capstick at 15:08 and again on a three by Degnan with 9:02 – but could not stop the Anchormen in the paint.
"Rhode Island College is one of the best defensive teams in the country," said Wheaton head coach Brian Walmsley. "We were going to try and run to get some easy baskets before they were able to set, but we didn't get enough stops defensively. When we did run, we turned the ball over too many times. We finished the game with only five two-point field goals and didn't score much in the paint."
The Lyons finished the night shooting 26.0 percent from the floor (13-of-50) and saw their bench score 30 of the team's 53 points. Rhode Island College held a 45-35 edge on the glass while committing 18 turnovers, compared to 17 for the home team. Degnan finished with 16 points while Capstick went for 13.
The Lyons return to action on Saturday when they travel to Cambridge, Mass. to face No. 4 MIT at 2 p.m. The Anchormen host UMass-Boston at 3 p.m.