Hoop star Barnes excels for Le Moyne

(Manchester, New Hampshire) Junior forward Laurence Ekperigin (Cortlandt Manor, NY/Walter Panas) and senior swingman Phil Barnes (Georgetown, Cayman Islands/Clinton CC) each recorded a double-double to lead the Le Moyne College men’s basketball team to a 66-59 victory over Saint Anselm last Saturday at Stoutenburgh Gym.

Ekperigin registered a game-high 23 points and career-best 19 rebounds for his 13th double-double and ninth 20-point, 10-rebound performance of the season.

Barnes, making his second consecutive start, registered career-bests of 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Kevin Roth (Lake View, NY/St Francis) joined Ekperigin and Barnes in posting a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

John Tello led the Hawks with 16 points, while Pat Luptowski added 13 and Greg Vetrano chipped in with 11. Branimir Zeko registered a team-best 12 rebounds.

Tello drilled a pair of three-pointers and Vetrano hit one of his own over the first 2:20 of the second half to give the Hawks a 40-35 lead with 17:40 remaining in the contest.

Ekperigin hit a free throw and freshman guard James Cormier (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull/Proctor Academy) connected on consecutive shots from three-point range as Le Moyne regained the lead with 14:41 left.

After Luptowski hit a jumper and Vetrano converted 1-of-2 foul shots to give Saint Anselm its final lead of the game, freshman guard Chris Johnson (Lindenhurst, NY/Lindenhurst) made a jump shot to put the Dolphins ahead for good.

The Dolphins used a 10-1 run over four minutes to push out to a team-high eight-point advantage, capped by a three-pointer from Barnes.

The Hawks were able to cut their deficit to four points on four occasions with less than six minutes remaining, but could not get any closer.

Barnes, Ekperigin, Roth and junior guard Durett Miles (Schenectady, NY/Schenectady) each knocked down free throws in the final minute to close out the contest.

Following an 11-10 Le Moyne lead at the 13:45 mark of the first half, Saint Anselm scored seven straight points and 12 of the game’s next 13 to take a game-high 10-point lead with 7:46 remaining in the half.

Luptowski jump started the run with five straight points and Tello added a pair of foul shots to cap the spurt. The Dolphins answered back with a 19-7 outburst over the final 7:27 of the half to take their first lead since the opening minutes of the game.

The combination of Ekperigin (9), Barnes (8) and Roth (2) accounted for all 19 points as the Dolphins took a 31-29 lead at halftime. Le Moyne (8-9, NE-10 5-8) snapped a four-game losing streak and picked up its first conference victory on the road.

On Monday Le Moyne would grind out a 71-64 non-conference win over Felician. Barnes would be on target again, netting a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

In addition Barnes nabbed eight offensive rebounds and sank a pair of three-point shots.

Barnes would play a star role in the waning minutes of the game, nailing a clutch three and getting a three-point play.

Lemoyne returns to action this Saturday against Assumption in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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