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Pope leads PSU Men’s Basketball past Bridgewater State

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y.) tossed in a career-high 35 points Thursday evening, leading the Plymouth State University men's basketball team to a 69-67 non-conference victory over Bridgewater State College at Foley Gymnasium.

Pope connected on 16-of-22 shots from the field, while also pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds, his third double-double of the season, and handing out a game-high five assists. He helped the Panthers remain undefeated on the season (7-0) while Bridgewater State dropped to 3-4.

Sophomore Tom Cuddihy (Scituate, Mass.) led the Bears with 20 points, while senior David Rukstalis (Norwood, Mass.) added 14 points and team-high eight boards and classmate Cliff Ruftado (Dartmouth, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points.

It was another close game the entire way. There were eight lead changes in the first half, with neither team leading by more than five points, and the visitors holding on to a 35-33 advantage at the intermission. BSC maintained a narrow margin the first seven minutes of the second half, only to see the Panthers come back and hold onto a small lead the next 10 minutes.

It was a six-point Panther lead (68-62) with three minutes left, and Bridgewater scored the next five points to make it 68-67 with 2:02 remaining. Both teams had possessions down the stretch, but the only point scored in the final two minutes was a free throw by Pope with less than three seconds remaining.

The Panthers visit Little East Conference preseason favorite Rhode Island College this Saturday (3:00 p.m.) for the last game before the semester break. The Bears are done competing until after Christmas, when they will participate in the Steve Adubato One-on-One Classis at Montclair State.

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