Hartford, Conn. - Senior captain forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds as the Trinity College men's basketball team defeated the Keene State Owls, 83-65, on Monday night to win their fifth straight game and remain a perfect 8-0 at home. The Bantams improve to 12-4 overall while Keene State falls to 9-6.
Keene State started the game a perfect 5-5 from the field, including two three-pointers, as they jumped out to a 14-7 lead. The Bantams answered with a 17-7 run as they took the lead on an old-fashioned three-point play from senior captain guard Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) to make it 24-21 in favor of Trinity. The Bantams stout defense was in full force in the first half as junior center Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) recorded monstrous blocks on back to back Keene State possessions, followed by a steal from senior captain guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) who found Ajayi in transition to put the Bantams up by six. The Owls reclaimed a one-point lead after a layup by Jaquel Edwards (Manchester, Conn.), however Starks returned the favor with a three pointer for his eighth points of the first half. Trinity took a 42-36 lead into halftime as the Bantams finished the half on a 7-1 run. Ogundeko led the team with 13 points at the break followed by Starks with 10. For Keene State, senior Nate Stitchell (Coventry, R.I.) led the Owls with 18 points at halftime, highlighted by four-of-five makes from three-point land.
Ajayi doubled his first half total of six points less than five minutes into the second half as Trinity maintained their six point lead. Back-to-back three-pointers by Hurd and junior Chris Turnbull (Ridgewood, N.J.) opened up a 12-point lead for the Bantams but a resilient Owls team cut the deficit to single digits shortly thereafter. The Bantams went on an 8-2 run with a little over eight minutes to play to take their largest lead of the game, 77-61. Trinity kept the distance for the remainder of the game as they held the Owls scoreless for the final 2:47 to seal the victory.
Ajayi finished with 19 points, tying his season high for the fourth time this year, while Ogundeko and Starks both totaled 15 points each. Turnbull and sophomore Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.) added nine points a piece off the bench and Hurd finished with eight points. For Keene State, Stitchell tallied a game-high 21 points followed by Edwards who finished with 13 points and six boards. Trinity out-rebounded the Owls 41-35 and recorded eight blocks.
The Bantams return to action on Friday, January 22, when they travel to Maine to take on Colby in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) matchup at 7:00 p.m.