KEENE, N.H. - Junior Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) scored 25 points and freshman Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 20 off the bench Tuesday night to lead the Plymouth State University men's basketball team to a 98-67 Little East Conference victory over host Keene State College at Spaulding Gymnasium.
PSU, which extended its winning streak to three games and improved to 18-4 overall and 8-3 in league play, posted in first victory in three meetings against the Owls this season. Looking to clinch first place in the LEC with a win, Keene State suffered its first conference loss of the season, falling to 17-5 overall and 10-1 in the LEC.
KSC prevailed over PSU 86-70 at the N.H. Hoops Classic on Dec. 14, and 69-63 in Plymouth on Jan. 20. Tuesday's outcome was the largest victory margin between the two teams since the 1956-57 season when Plymouth defeated Keene, 105-65.
Plymouth State pulled away from KSC late in the first half, capped by a 9-4 run over the final three minutes that gave the visitors a 44-35 halftime lead. The Panthers then scored the first 10 points of the second half, while Keene State didn't net its first basket of the second half until the 15:49 mark. A three-pointer by Pelotte, one of his four in the game, extended PSU's lead to 21 points (58-37) with just under 15 minutes to play, and Keene State never challenged the rest of the way.
The Panthers shot 59 percent from the field in the second half, and 51 percent overall. The PSU defense, which is ranked seventh in the nation in field goal percentage defense, limited the Owls to 25 percent shooting after halftime and 35 percent overall while forcing 29 Keene turnovers.
Pelotte, who scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half, connected on eight of his 15 shot attempts. Pope turned in a monster night in 17 minutes off the Panther bench, hitting 8-of-10 shots while collecting seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Junior Anthony Oglesby (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also contributed 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the Panthers.
The LEC Player of the Week, Matt Wheeler (Shrub Oak, N.Y.) led three Owl players in double figures with 14 points. Alphonse Michalski (Northampton, Mass.) scored 11 points and Chris Timson (Beverly, Mass.) finished with 10 points.
Both teams continue Little East action on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. PSU visits UMass Boston while Keene State, which has lost three out of its last five games, travels to Western Connecticut.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)