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Ruocco leads PSU Men’s Basketball past Castleton State

CASTLETON, Vt. - Senior forward Devin Ruocco (Dover, N.H.) tossed in a career-high 29 points and classmate Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 23 seconds remaining Tuesday evening to lift Plymouth State University to an 88-87 victory over Castleton State College in non-conference men's basketball action.

Castleton's Rich Reilly gave the Spartans an 87-85 lead with 31 seconds remaining, but PSU junior Phil Bourassa (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) sent a long pass over the defense that hit Walcek in stride for a lay-up plus a foul that gave the Panthers the one-point lead.

The Spartans ran the clock down to 3.1 seconds before Reilly missed a pull-up jump shot in the lane, forcing the Spartans to foul. Plymouth would miss the ensuing front end of their 1-and-1, giving Castleton a chance to go the length of the court in the final 1.5 seconds. The inbounds pass was knocked out of the air, however, preserving the one-point win for the visiting Panthers.

Ruocco connected on a career-best 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the three-point stripe, hitting 9-of-14 overall and collecting a team-high seven rebounds. Walcek added 18 points on 50 percent shooting (6-of-12 overall, 3-of-6 from long range). Freshman Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) added 12 points off the Panther bench, sophomore Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton) contributed 11 points and four assists, and Bourassa finished with 10 points and seven assists.

Jeremy Jorgensen led the Spartans with a double-double 26 points and 14 rebounds. Reilly finished with 23 points, while Kevin Cayea chipped in 14 points off the bench.

The Panthers improve to 3-0 and will face Colby-Sawyer College at 7:30 p.m. at NHTI on Tuesday, Nov. 28, in the Jacob's Bridge Through Autism Classic. The Spartans fall to 1-2 and are also back in action on the 28th when they host Middlebury.

(Courtesy of Castleton State Sports Information)

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