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Panthers streak past Johnson & Wales

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) led a balanced scoring attack with 18 points Thursday evening, guiding Plymouth State College's men's basketball team to a 97-78 non-conference victory over Johnson & Wales University at Foley Gymnasium.

The win was PSC's fifth in a row, improving the team to 15-4 overall. The Panthers, who are ranked fifth in the current NCAA Northeast Region poll, have also won all eight games at home this season, and 15 straight dating back to Jan. 22, 2002. Johnson & Wales evened its record at 9-9 overall.

Pelotte finished with a team-high 18 points, but was held three points below his season average. Sophomore forward Anthony Oglesby (Brooklyn, N.Y.) contributed 14 points and senior Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.) added 12. The Panthers got solid bench play from senior Mike Kalbfell (Somers, N.Y.), who had 10 points, and junior Ryan Chicoine (Gorham, Maine), who finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.

The outcome overshadowed an outstanding performance from JWU junior Rohan Russell (Providence, R.I.). He hit 10-of-20 shots from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range, to finish with a game-high 28 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Freshman Brian Fernandes (Fall River, Mass.) also added 10 points for the Wildcats.

The visitors built a 10-point lead (24-14) just seven minutes into the contest, but watched PSC rattle off 10 straight points to tie it at 24-all. The two teams were tied at 38-38 with four minutes left in the opening frame, the ninth deadlock of the half, but PSC scored 12 straight points to take a 50-38 lead at the break.

The Wildcats were still within 10 points (66-56) with 11:42 to play, but PSC again went on a tear with 13 unanswered points to take a 79-56 advantage with nine minutes remaining and coasted the rest of the way.

PSC shot 54 percent from the field, connecting on better than 50 percent in both halves. JWU finished with a 36.5 shooting percentage, hitting below 40 percent in both halves. The Panthers also had a dominating 55-36 advantage on the boards.

The Panthers are home again Saturday for a key Little East Conference match-up against Western Connecticut (3:00 p.m.). PSC and WCSU share first place in the LEC with 7-2 conference records. Johnson & Wales returns home to host Daniel Webster Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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