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Strong second half lifts PSU Men’s Hoop past Eastern Conn.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Plymouth State University shot 62.1 percent from the floor in the second half -- scoring 17 straight points in a four-minutes span -- in defeating Eastern Connecticut State University for the seventh straight time, 68-52, Saturday afternoon in a Little East Conference men's basketball game at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium.

Plymouth State, which won its third straight to improve to 10-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play, doubled its first-half scoring output in shaking free from a three-point halftime lead (22-19). Eastern has lost its last five to fall to 4-7 overall and 1-2 in the LEC. Each team was held 20 points below its respective scoring average.

Trailing by two (31-29) three minutes into the second half, PSU scored 17 in a row to move out to a 15-point lead (46-31) with 13 minutes left. The Warriors never got closer than 13 the rest of the way. In that 17-0, the Panthers sank seven of eight field goals -- 3-for-3 from three-point range -- while the Warriors missed five shots and turned the ball over once on six possessions.

After missing seven of eight three-point field goals in the first half, Plymouth converted six of 11 in the second half - shooting 62.1 percent from the floor in all -- to outscore Eastern 46-33 over the final 20 minutes. The Warriors commited a season-high 23 turnovers.

Sophomore center Kevin Boutilier (North Andover, Mass.) came off the bench to play 25 minutes for PSU and score a game-high 14 points (7-for-9 from the floor) and grab a game-high eight rebounds. Junior guard Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) added 12 points to the balanced attack, but was held to eight points below his conference-leading scoring average. Senior forward J.J. Truman (Enfield, N.H.) and junior forward Anthony Oglesby (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each had 11 points and combined for nine rebounds.

Senior guard Gordon Shepard (Waterbury, Conn.) and sophomore guard Martin Kokoszka (Meriden, Conn.) led Eastern with 14 points each and combined to connect on 13 of 23 field goals.

After three straight road games to start 2004, PSU returns home to host UMass Boston Tuesday night at Foley Gymnasium (7:30 p.m.) in a Little East Conference game.

(Courtesy of ECSU Sports Information)

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