Jimmy Baron scored 20 points, including four crucial free throws in the last 12.6 seconds, as Rhode Island defeated Penn State, 77-72, last night in the third game of the eight-team Philly Hoop Group Classic at the Palestra. Keith Cothran scored 18 points and Kahiem Seawright added 16 for Rhode Island (5-1). Jamelle Cornley contributed 23 points and Talor Battle had 15 for the Nittany Lions (5-1).
Rhode Island took a 72-67 lead on a free throw by Delroy James with 19.8 seconds to go, but Cornley made a layup for Penn State seven seconds later. Baron made two free throws with 12.6 seconds remaining, and after Stanley Pringle missed a 23-footer, Baron ended the game with two more foul shots.
Baron's shooting sparked Rhode Island to a 29-20 lead with 7 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the first half. Penn State answered with an 11-2 run to tie the score, 31-31, but a jumper by Cothran gave the Rams a 33-31 edge at the break.
In earlier action yesterday:
Niagara 71, Monmouth 48 - Rob Garrison scored 18 points and Niagara went on a 34-1 run midway through the first half of its victory.
Demetrius Williamson added 14 points for Niagara (4-1), which hit 23 of 45 shots.
Mike Myers-Keitt and Travis Taylor each had eight points for Monmouth (0-6), off to its worst start since 1998-99, when the Hawks lost their first 19 games.
Monmouth led, 17-14, with 10:54 remaining in the first half before the Purple Eagles scored 34 of the next 35 points, capped by a steal and layup by Garrison with 3:02 remaining before the break.
Niagara held a 41-24 halftime lead, hitting 12 of 26, while the Hawks made only 9 of 27 and committed 11 turnovers.
Hartford 50, NJIT 38 - Joe Zeglinski scored 17 points to lead Hartford past the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
The loss was the 37th straight for NJIT (0-4), which hasn't won since beating Longwood on Feb. 19, 2007. Jaret von Rosenberg scored 12 points for Hartford (2-4), which never trailed.