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Pelotte leads PSU Men’s Hoop to easy victory

  PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) led Plymouth State University with 26 points and six assists in 25 minutes Thursday evening as the Panthers rolled past Johnson & Wales University, 97-72, in non-conference men's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.

              The Panthers extended their winning streak to four games with their 13th win in the last 15 outings.  PSU, which is ranked sixth in this week's NCAA Division III Northeast Region poll, is now 15-5 overall, while Johnson & Wales dropped back to the .500 mark at 9-9.

              Pelotte made 7-of-11 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the free throw line, leading PSU in scoring for the 15th time this season.  He had 16 points in the first half as the Panthers built up an 18-point margin by the intermission.

              The Panthers also got double-digit scoring efforts from sophomores Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) and junior Kevin Boutilier (North Andover, Mass.).  Pope finished with 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Walcek and Boutilier added 11 points apiece.

              Senior Brian Bannister (Boston, Mass.) led the visitors with 23 points, while junior Brian Fernandes (Fall River, Mass.) added 13 points and freshman Jeff Barbosa (Seekonk, Mass.) chipped in with 10.

              Plymouth State never trailed in the game, although the upset-minded Wildcats stayed in the contest for the first 12 minutes.  With the score tied at 28-28, PSU rattled off 17 of the next 18 points to take a 45-29 lead with three minutes to play in the first half.  The Panthers ended the half leading by 18 points (53-35) and maintained a comfortable advantage throughout the second half.

              PSU, which ranks 10th in the country in scoring offense (87.5 ppg), went over the 90-point mark for the seventh time this season.  The Panthers also rank 12th in the nation in field goal percentage (50.4), improving that mark Thursday by converting at a 54.7 clip against JWU.

              The Panthers return to Little East Conference competition Saturday with a visit to Eastern Connecticut State University (3:00 p.m.).  Johnson & Wales is back in action Saturday at home with a Great Northeast Athletic Conference match-up against Daniel Webster (1:00 p.m.)

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