Providence, R.I. – Host Rhode Island College, the preseason favorite to win the Little East Conference, used a game-sealing 18-4 run midway through the second half to open the season with a convincing 70-52 win over Clark University in non-league men's basketball action on Tuesday evening at the Murray Center.
The Anchormen had four players in double figures led by Mike Arkinola's (Woonsocket, R.I.) game-high 21 points on a sizzling 8-for-11 shooting.
The hosts forced 18 Cougar turnovers and held Clark to just 33 percent shooting, while they in turn shot nearly 50 percent from the floor (29-for-59) and had 20 assists to just ten turnovers.
After trailing 10-2 to start the game, the Cougars clawed back to bring the game to 14-13 on a three-point play from Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass.) with less than nine minutes to play in the opening stanza.
Rhode Island College (1-0) eventually went into the half with a 27-20 lead, but Clark (1-0) made another push to start the second half, going on a 13-6 run keyed by back-to-back baskets by Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) and a three-pointer from Drew Billington (Fairfield, Conn.) to even the score at 33 with 13 minutes left in the game.
Over the next the seven minutes, however, the Cougars made only one basket, and the Anchormen got hot and ran off 18 of the game's next 22 points highlighted by a powerful two-handed dunk by Steven Roberts (New Haven, Conn.) and three-pointers from Tom DiCiantis (North Kingstown, R.I.) and Tahrike Carter (Brooklyn, N.Y.).
Clark never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way as RIC went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the final five minutes.
In addition to Arkinola, Mason Choice (Newport, R.I.) had an excellent floor game with 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. DiCiantis (12) and Carter (11) also were in double figures for the Anchorman, combining to shoot 10-for-14.
Vayda paced the Cougars offense with 18 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Billington added ten points and five assists.
Clark will look to get into the win column on Friday when they take on SUNYIT at the Hamilton College Tournament. Rhode Island College will visit Worcester on Thursday when they take on Becker.