CONCORD, N.H. - Senior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) and junior Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, N.H.) combined to score 35 points on 15-of-17 shooting Sunday afternoon as Plymouth State University opened the season with a 65-45 victory over New England College in the first game of the 10th annual Jacob's Bridge Through Autism Classic at New Hampshire Technical Institute.
Chergey made 8-of-9 field goal attempts to finish with a game-high 18 points, while Dowd came off the bench to connect on 7-of-8 shots for 17 points. PSU shot 53 percent as a team, held NEC to a 39 percent shooting clip, and had a 33-17 rebounding advantage.
Junior Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) also reached double figures in scoring for PSU with 11 points, while senior guard Eric Hondal (Miami, Fla./Piper) chipped in with eight points and four assists.
Sophomore Eric Lenahan (Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.) was the top scorer for the Pilgrims with 10 points. Senior Rafael Salado (Boston, Mass.) was next with seven.
Plymouth State maintained a single-digit lead throughout the first half, as NEC was within four points with 11 minutes on the clock and within six with eight minutes to play. Dowd caught fire and scored eight points over the next four minutes as PSU gained a 13-point advantage. Lenahan hit a pair of late free throws to pull NEC to within eight points at the half, 35-27.
The Panthers opened the second half with a 12-1 run over the first five minutes, opening up a 19-point bulge (47-28). Lenahan made a pair of buckets to get the Pilgrims to within 13 with 12 minutes to go, but PSU got the lead up to 20 points with six minutes to play and coasted home the rest of the way.
PSU will compete in the Wheaton College Tip-Off Tournament next weekend (Nov. 20-21) in Norton, Mass., facing Salve Regina University in the first round Friday at 6:00 p.m.
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