WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Senior Rashad Mitchell (Batavia, Ill.) scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds Friday evening as Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) defeated Plymouth State University, 84-59, in the opening game of the Chuck Daly Memorial Classic, hosted by Northwood University.
Senior Josh Bronke (Normal, Ill.) added 14 points and sophomore Brandon Streets (Lombard, Ill.) chipped in with 10 as the Tigers won their fourth in a row to improve to 9-5.
Senior Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) led Plymouth State with 17 points, and classmate Bryan Tracy (Manchester, N.H./Central) and junior Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, N.H.) contributed 10 points apiece as PSU slipped to 6-4.
The score was close most of the first half, with neither team leading by more than a bucket for the first 13 minutes. Plymouth State had its largest lead of the half, 25-21, with seven minutes remaining, but ONU outscored the Panthers 19-5 to end the frame with a 10-point margin, 40-30. PSU managed only a three-pointer by junior Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H.) and a pair of late free throws by Tracy in the final seven minutes of the half.
The Panthers got to within six points (42-36) early in the second half, but the Tigers went on an 18-4 burst over the next six minutes to take a 60-40 advantage with 10 minutes remaining. ONU maintained the 20-point advantage the rest of the way.
Olivet Nazarene shot over 50 percent from the field in both halves, finishing with a 54 percent clip, while PSU converted just 33 percent for the game. The Tigers also had a 41-27 margin over the Panthers in the rebounding department.
ONU is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school from Bourbonnais, Ill., that has won 10 conference championships in the last 20 years and has made four NAIA Elite Eight appearances in the past decade.
Both teams will play again Saturday in the Chuck Daly Memorial Classic, ONU meeting Malone University (Ohio) at 5:00 p.m. and PSU facing host Northwood at 7:00 p.m. Northwood, ranked #4 in the NAIA, improved to 10-1 with Friday's 84-73 tournament victory over Malone. The Seahawks are coached by former Villanova coaching legend Rollie Massimino, now in his fourth season at Northwood.
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