Panthers fall to defending champs
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Senior Mike Akinrola posted a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds Saturday afternoon as the Rhode Island College men's basketball team topped the Plymouth State Panthers, 61-43, in Little East Conference action at The Murray Center.
Rhode Island College (14-2, 5-2 LEC) opened the game on a 17-0 run, capped off by a three-pointer from sophomore Michael Palumbo, who made his first start of the season. After senior Brian Chergey snapped the skid with a mid-range jumper, Palumbo drained another trey on the ensuing possession to put RIC up, 20-2, with 11:36 left to play in the half. With 10:16 on the clock, Akinrola followed that with a three of his own, extending RIC's lead to 21, its largest of the game.
Plymouth State (5-10, 1-6 LEC) slowly bounced back down the stretch in the first half, cutting the lead to nine on a three-pointer by senior Ben Higgins with 5:13 left to play in the frame. Chergey then trimmed the deficit to seven with a jumper to make it, 27-20.
However, the Anchormen responded with a three from Palumbo and a pair of baskets from Akinrola and freshman Chris Burton to take a 34-23 lead into the intermission. Although they stayed within striking distance throughout the entirety of the second half, the Panthers were unable to overcome the double-digit deficit and eventually fell to the Anchormen by 18.
RIC held PSU to just 36 percent shooting from the floor, while connecting on 49 percent of its shots offensively. The Anchormen also benefited on the offensive end from great ball movement, as they dished out 17 assists on 23 field goals.
Senior Mason Choice scored 11 points to go along with four assists to help guide the hosts, while Palumbo chipped in with a career-high 10 points. Burton added seven points, six rebounds and three assists.
Chergey led PSU with 12 points, four rebounds and three steals, while Higgins tallied nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the three-point arc. Sophomore center Mark MacGregor notched eight points and three boards in the loss.
Both teams continue Little East Conference play Tuesday, RIC traveling to Western Connecticut and PSU returning home to host the University of Southern Maine.
(Courtesy of Rhode Island College Sports Information)
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