Panthers make debut at Bridgewater Tip-Off Tourney
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The 2012-13 Plymouth State University men's basketball season gets underway this weekend when the Panthers travel to Bridgewater State University (Mass.) for the BSU Tip-Off Classic.
The Panthers will face the host Bears in Friday's opener at 5:30 p.m., with Becker College and Springfield College matching up in the 7:30 p.m. contest. The consolation game is slated for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday with the championship to tip off at 3:00 p.m.
|Head Coach Andrew Novick|
PSU will then play four more road games before making its home debut at Foley Gym on Tuesday, Dec. 4, against Tufts University. The Little East Conference opener is at Rhode Island College on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The Panthers' schedule includes 25 regular season contests, including 14 Little East games. The LEC Tournament takes place the last week of February, with a champion being crowned on Feb. 23 and receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
2012-13 PSU Men's Basketball Outlook
The Panthers are looking for a solid season in the Little East Conference under second-year head coach Andrew Novick. The 16 players on the roster have been working hard in the preseason and are excited to get the season underway.
"The guys have been playing with great enthusiasm," said Novick. "They're communicating better on the floor, and they're competing harder in drills. They're bonding as a team and we're headed in the right direction."
Novick has nine veterans on this year's squad, and seven newcomers who should blend in nicely. With both he and the team having a year together under their belts, Novick says they're ahead of where they were last year.
"The guys have a better understanding of my expectations," said Novick, "and the upperclassmen have bought into that. They're reinforcing that message with the newcomers, which has helped us. Each team and each year is different, with a different group of kids, so we're just trying to mesh together to play selfless basketball."
Leading the way for the Panthers should be junior guard Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn./Wethersfield), who topped the team with 12.6 points and 6.0 assists per game last year. He came into his own in his first year as a starter and should take on more of a leadership role this season.
"Petey had an outstanding season last year," said Novick, "but we're looking for even bigger things from him this season."
Skevas will likely be joined in the backcourt by senior Kevin Eisenberg (Moultonborough, N.H./Moultonborough Academy) and junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H./Dover). Eisenberg has stepped up after seeing limited action last season following his transfer from Castleton State College, while Burt returns to the team after sitting out last year. Other veterans who could also contribute in the backcourt include seniors Matt Cloutier (Milton, N.H./Nute) and Stephan Roberts (Kissimmee, Fla./New Dimensions) and junior Sheldon Benson (Pembroke, N.H./Pembroke Academy).
Junior Mark MacGregor (Rochester, N.H./Spaulding) should be one of the keys for PSU in the front court. He gained valuable experience in his first year of college basketball, starting 20 of 25 games last season. Sophomore Adam Goodwin (Lee, N.H./Oyster River) is another veteran who could contribute off the Panther bench.
Novick says that freshman forward Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical) should be the top newcomer and could impact the Panther front court. Junior newcomer Nick Moll (Swampscott, Mass.) and freshman Dante Ramos (Dartmouth, Mass./Dartmouth) will also look for playing time at forward while sophomore transfer Tom Barbeau (Waterville Valley, N.H./Holderness School) and freshman Gabe LaCount (Manchester, N.H./Central) will look for valuable minutes off the bench.
The Panthers face another tough challenge in the Little East Conference, but Novick believes the team can represent the school well.
"The wins and losses will take care of themselves," said Novick. "We just have to continue to get better every day, as a team and as individuals. If we take care of the details, and continue playing together, that will translate to good results."
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