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Rich East turns up ‘D’ after break, downs Providence

12/11/2012, 9:42pm CST
By Steve Millar

Ronald Lawton led the way with 23 points and six rebounds as Rich East limited Providence to 17 second-half points Tuesday in a 63-59 victory in New Lenox.

After holding Crete-Monee scoreless for over eight minutes in the second half of Friday’s win, the Rockets held Providence without a field goal for nearly seven minutes Tuesday.

Rich East limited the Celtics, who were red-hot in putting up 42 first-half points, to 17 after the break in a 63-59 victory in New Lenox.

“Providence hit everything in the first half,” Rich East coach George Leonard said. “In the second half, we picked up our intensity and we did a great job on the boards.”

Ronald Lawton (23 points, six rebounds) and Don Henderson (14 points, 10 rebounds) led the Rockets (3-1).

Kevin Kozan had 14 points to lead the Celtics (4-4), while Miles Boykin (12 points, nine rebounds) kept the hosts afloat with eight fourth-quarter points.

Rich East, which trailed by as many as eight points, took the lead for good, 53-52, on a three-point play from Washawn Watson with 4:22 to go.

Watson had seven of his nine points in the final quarter and went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 33 seconds to seal the victory.

Lawton, who scored 15 first-half points, added four big points in the final minutes.

“We weren’t running like we usually do in the first half and we had to do that,” he said.

Kozan was held to 1-of-8 shooting in the second half.

“Dalante Thomas challenged himself to guard Kozan and he did a great job against a great player,” Leonard said.

After going 15-of-22 from the field in the first half, the Celtics were just 6-of-26 in the second half, including 1-of-10 in the third quarter.

“When your shots don’t go down, it gets frustrating,” Kozan said. “They made a run at us and we couldn’t hit back.”

Brandon Cole had 11 points and five rebounds for the Rockets.

Jay Ramadurai (eight points) and Nate Vejvoda (seven points, seven rebounds) contributed for Providence.

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