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Shion Darby and Ousmane Kourouma lead Anchormen basketball through week one

Jamila Coleman

Anchor Staff Writer

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As it enters late fall and eventually transitions into winter, basketball seasons for schools all around the country are starting up. For the Rhode Island College’s men's team, this week has been an eventful one.

Their first game was on Nov. 8, which saw the Anchormen face Rivier University in head-to-head action.

Big man Ousmane Kourouma, from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, led RIC with 24 rebounds. Alongside Kourouma, teammates Shion Darby, from Peekskill, New York, and Xavier Landers, from Westwood, New Jersey, lead the Anchormen in points. Darby scored 24 points, which was the most out of the whole team, and Landers scored 16, a career-high for him. In fact, Landers also grabbed 18 rebounds, giving him a double-double.

The match between RIC and Rivier was an intense one, as the competitive level between both teams seemed relatively even. RIC started out incredibly strong, with freshman Nathaniel Maldonado, from Bronx, New York, hitting a three early on, pushing the Anchormen’s lead over Rivier from 7-2 to 10-2. Towards the end of the half however, Rivier began to chop down on the lead. As the game time went down to six minutes left, Rivier graduate, Pharaoh Davis, from Plainville, Massachusetts, sinked a three, bringing the deficit to 26-23. Several minutes later, right before halftime, Landers landed a jump shot, breaking the 34-34 tie and giving RIC a two-point lead into the second half.

Rivier took a lead, their first in the game, as 15 minutes remained in the second half. Colin Boucher, from Reading, Massachusetts, sinked a quick layup, which gave Rivier the lead by one point. Five minutes later, as the game tied up, both teams having 48 points, the Anchormen went on a 9-0 run, led by Landers, Maldonado, and Darby. Rivier just couldn’t take a lead during the remainder of the game. After the final buzzer hit, RIC secured their season opener over Rivier with a 73-69 win.

The second game, which took place on Thursday, was against MIT. It was evident that like Rivier, MIT was pretty evenly matched with RIC. The teams had very different, though both efficient, scoring approaches. As MIT was more of a “catch and shoot” squad, the Anchormen took their time with surveying their spots and working together to make plays.

RIC had many shots at the free throw line in game two of their season. Kourouma’s aggression when playing brought him to the line the most. He would end the game having his second career double-double: 19 points and 20 rebounds. Darby, who so far this season leads the team in points, scored a team-high 19 points.

The game was very close throughout. The lead on either side never exceeded 10. As there were only three minutes left in the first half and RIC were up 36-30, MIT went on a scoring spree, taking a one-point lead before halftime. The Anchormen quickly recomposed in the second half, but lost their lead around the 12-minute mark. A few minutes later, Darby helped RIC bring MIT’s lead down to a tied game, 65-65, after scoring a free throw. But after that, RIC never capitalized to take back a lead. They lost to MIT by a score of 67-74.

By the third game, which took place on Saturday, it became evident that Darby and Kourouma were forces to be reckoned with. Though RIC lost to Brandeis University by a score of 90-62, Darby had an impressive 21 points while Kourouma had eight rebounds. Alongside Kourouma, teammate Mitchel Noresca, from East Providence, Rhode Island, had a game-high nine rebounds.

In both halves against Brandeis, it seemed that RIC was overpowered in scoring. That isn’t to say that they didn’t put up good numbers as a team. The Anchormen had a combined five steals, seven blocks and 38 assists, which further shows how RIC does an effective job of sharing the ball and thinking critically when making offensive plays.

Though their weekend ended with a 1-2 record, the energy is there, on-court chemistry is clear and the talent is without a doubt present. Their next game will be on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at home against Fitchburg State College at 7 p.m.


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